On behalf of the Navy Medicine family, I would like to thank the men and women of the Hospital Corps and help them commemorate 119 years of excellence. Today we celebrate the strength, valor, fidelity, and compassion of our Corpsmen.
As we celebrate, we should also take this time to reflect on those who have come before us. I recently had the honor to officiate the reinternment ceremony for Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class Howard Brisbane. While assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, PhM3c Brisbane’s unit landed on Tarawa where he was killed during the first day of battle, on Nov. 20, 1943. His remains were recently recovered and transported for burial at Arlington National Cemetery. During the ceremony, I had the privilege to present flags to members of his family in honor of his service and sacrifice to our great nation. PhM3c was one of approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors killed, and more than 2,000 wounded, during the intense fighting at Tarawa.
More than 100 Corpsmen attended PhM3c’s ceremony, including several from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines and 2nd Marine Division. They carry on that tradition of selfless sacrifice and service for which PhM3c Brisbane gave his life and which is the hallmark of the Navy Hospital Corps. Further, their participation is a reflection of the fact that the moment you raise your hand to defend America’s freedom, you become a part of the Navy family. No matter where the Navy sends you and no matter how long it takes for you to return home, your Navy family will be there to welcome you, to thank you for your service, and to pay tribute to your sacrifice.
To the more than 30,000 Hospital Corpsman serving across the globe today, thank you for being a part of the Navy family and for everything you do. I wish you a very happy birthday and continued success in all your endeavors. I am extremely proud and honored to serve with all of you. Happy Birthday Shipmates!
Vice Adm. Forrest Faison III, Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery