Happy Holidays from the Navy Surgeon General

By Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

The holiday season is upon us and it is a time to reflect and give thanks. I’d personally like to thank each and every member of the Navy Medicine family and your loved ones for your continued service and sacrifice.  It is because of you that we are able to meet our missions worldwide and continue to provide the very best in patient- and family-centered care on land, in the air, and at sea—from the deck plate to the battlefield.  However during this joyous season, let us not forget our colleagues who are not present here with us today as they are currently serving in harm’s way around the globe.

With several challenging and diverse operations in theater and around the world, from the Pacific to Africa to South America, we need to remember and keep in our thoughts the many colleagues of ours who will be spending the holidays away from their families and friends.  Separations at this time of year are particularly difficult, however the work they are doing, and that each of you do daily, is critical to providing conditions of stability and security in many parts of the world that previously had none.

As this is a time of hope and reflection, it is also important to remember those of our family who have made so many sacrifices in these long years of conflict.  Many people don’t realize the contribution and impact that our personnel make in our ongoing missions and the sacrifices of the brave men and women of Navy Medicine.  More than half of Navy personnel wounded in action and nearly one-third of those killed in action during these conflicts have been Navy Medicine, whether our corpsmen with the Marines or other medical personnel.  These are more than statistics.  They are our comrades, our friends, and our family.  They stood up when called and stepped up when needed. Please, at this holiday time, whether with family, friends, or standing the watch at home or deployed, I ask we never forget them or their families.

I want thank you for your tremendous efforts throughout this past year. Navy Medicine has accomplished much through the year and I’d like to take a moment to remember:

  • We supported direct support combat operations in two ongoing operations.
  • We provided world-class care to our patients and their families around the world.
  • We were key players in the execution of our nation’s Maritime Strategy through our key role in humanitarian assistance missions during Operation Tomodachi and other places around the world which help bolster global partnerships and overall stability

In essence we have provided “World Class Health Care…Anytime, Anywhere”. We should all be proud of what we have accomplished as a team throughout 2011, but many challenges and opportunities abound.  I look forward to tackling each of them with you all in the new year and beyond.

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and I’ll see you next year!