By Vice Adm. Bill French, commander, Navy Installations Command
I join with you in grieving for our Navy Yard colleagues and Navy family who were senselessly gunned down on Monday. But as we grieve, we also stand strong, knowing that our inner strength and the ideals for which we work and train and fight are infinitely stronger than gun-wielding individuals.
I saw your strength as you responded to this crisis with calm, coordinated dedication, putting others before self and making the right decisions about what to do all day. Whether at the battle watch, coordinating response in the headquarters building, or opening our office “home” to members of the Naval Sea Systems Command team, you were at your finest, and I’m proud to call each of you colleagues and say, when asked, that I work with the men and women of CNIC.
Thank you for your support as we’ve progressed from incident to response to recovery and the associated shelter-in-place, base exit, and vehicle issues. Your patience has made a difficult time easier.
Here’s the latest on the situation at the Navy Yard and some practical information:
The Navy Warfighter and Family Support Center at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling is ready to help anyone affected by this tragedy. Clinical counselors are available; the toll-free number is 1-855-677-1755. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery has sent a Special Psychiatric Intervention Team and additional mental health professionals from Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences to supplement the counselors at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. Counseling services are also available here at the Navy Yard in our headquarters on the 5th deck. I encourage you to take advantage of the available counseling services; horrific events like these affect all of us, far beyond the range of the shooter’s bullets.
As the days march on, please lend your support to our NAVSEA and Naval Facilities Engineering Command friends and neighbors. Grieve with them and through that grief grow stronger through the unique bond we share as colleagues, family and friends. We have only just begun our road to the new “normal.” Again, I’m proud to stand beside you as we work through this. You are the Navy’s finest.