Happy Holidays from the Navy Surgeon General

By Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy Surgeon General

The Navy surgeon general and his staff wish the Navy Medicine and Marine Corps family a happy holiday season. From left: Chief Eric Edmonds, Maria Etheridge, Tammy Nathan, Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Cmdr. Angela Stanley, Lt. Cmdr. Darryl Green, Capt. Stephen Pachuta, and Capt. Robert Fry. (U.S. Navy photo by Joshua Wick/Released)

As the year comes to a close and we approach the New Year, we have much to be thankful for and many milestones of this past year on which to reflect. First, I would like to personally thank each of you, the Navy and Marine Corps Medicine family and your loved ones, for the great work you do on a daily basis.  It is with your continued service and dedication that we are able to accomplish our mission of providing world-class care, anytime, anywhere – from the deck plate to the battlefield. Let me also acknowledge those of our Navy Medicine family who are currently deployed, serving in harm’s way protecting our freedoms here at home. We are forever grateful for your sacrifice and look forward to your homecoming.

This past year, you have heard me talk about the importance of “Ship, Shipmate, and Self.” During the holiday season, it is important to remember these guiding principles. Thank you for taking care of the ship and getting the mission done this year. It is evident in the hard work you do that the state of Navy Medicine is stronger than ever. I am impressed with the advances Navy Medicine made this year in the realms of medical informatics, technology, telemedicine, prosthetics, and research and development.  It is because of the hard work you do that these achievements have been possible.

Let’s make sure this holiday season that we take care of our shipmates. Many of our Navy Medicine family, their loved ones and friends may not have a place to go this holiday season and let’s not forget that some of our Navy Medicine family is also forward deployed. Take time to reach out to our shipmates and their families to ensure that no shipmate is left behind. We need every member of our Navy Medicine team in order to succeed.

It is also essential to take care of yourselves during this holiday. We all have a tendency to work hard and burn the midnight oil. However, you cannot care for others if you are not properly caring for yourself. Make sure to get plenty of rest and find time to reflect on your own needs and the needs your family. Self-reflection and awareness is also an important part of leadership and success.

The holidays are also a time of reflection. This past year, Navy Medicine has become more streamlined than ever in its approach to provide patient and family centered care, while aiming for our goals of readiness, value, and jointness. In 2012, we have seen the down shift in operations in Afghanistan; a significant reorganization within the Navy Medicine enterprise including the establishment of a Navy Medicine global health engagement office, the Navy Medicine Education and Training Command, and a research and development code (M2) within BUMED; the rollout of our strategic map and charted course; and a fond farewell to standard issue glasses, also known as “Birth Control Glasses” or BCGs, among many others achievements.

As we look to the New Year, I am confident we will keep the state of Navy Medicine strong and agile. Thank you for your continued hard work, dedication and collaboration. As always, I am proud and honored to serve as your Surgeon General.

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season!