A Message from the Navy Surgeon General: Happy Thanksgiving

by Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

VADM Faison - photo - as of 31 DEC 2015Shipmates,

I wish to take this opportunity to personally thank you for all of your hard work in support of Navy Medicine and the Nation. Thanksgiving is a longstanding American tradition, which dates back to 1621 where colonists in New England held a feast to express their gratitude for a bountiful harvest. President Abraham

Lincoln proclaimed the third Thursday in November as a national Thanksgiving holiday in 1863. For many of us, this holiday is also a great opportunity to gather with family and friends, eat lots of delicious food, and give thanks. Gathering with family often means traveling using your personally owned vehicles, which is particularly dangerous during the Thanksgiving holiday due to high traffic volume. Prior to departing ensure you are well rested, allow plenty of time to get to your destination, drive defensively, and do not be a distracted driver.

Do not text and drive, you do not want to be the cause of an accident. Make sure that your vehicles are in safe operating condition and that everyone wears seat belts. Motorcycle riders ensure you have completed all Navy required motorcycle training and wear appropriate safety equipment to include an approved motorcycle helmet. Please do not drink and drive and use a designated driver or alternative forms of transportation if needed.

Leaders encourage the use of the Travel Risk Planning System (TRIPS) that is available at https://www.nko.navy.mil and http://www.public.navy.mil/comnavsafecen. This system helps to identify hazards, assess risk factors, and establish controls to mitigate risk and plan for a safe trip.

Cooking activities can be quite hazardous. Cooking fires are also more frequent on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t leave the kitchen while frying or grilling. Do kitchen checks while simmering, baking or roasting. If deep frying a turkey, keep the fryer outside, away from walls, fences and other structures. Do not deep fry a frozen turkey.  Make sure that pot holders and food wrappers are at least three feet away from stoves and hot surfaces. Avoid wearing loose clothing with long sleeves while cooking near gas flames. Keep the handles of pots and pans facing inward to avoid spilling hot liquids. Ensure your smoke alarms have fresh batteries and are in proper working order.

The holiday can also be a stressful time for family and shipmates. Keep an eye out for signs of stress, and know that the Navy has a number of resources that you can turn to for assistance such as your chain of command, fleet and family service centers, private physician, or your command chaplain.

Enjoy this great holiday and take care of yourselves, your family and your fellow Sailors, stay safe and return to work rested and refreshed.

Thank you so much for all you do to help protect and care for those entrusted to us. As I give thanks this season, at the top of my list is the privilege and honor of serving with you.

Happy Thanksgiving Shipmates!