Navy Medicine Globally Engaged….Making History at RIMPAC

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


Earlier this month FORCM Boss and I wrapped up a trip to Hawaii to see many of our medical forces on the island of Oahu. What an honor it was to get out and meet with those of you serving in the Fleet and Force at Marine Corps Forces Pacific, Naval Health Clinic Hawaii and onboard our hospital ship, USNS MERCY. Your unwavering commitment, dedication, and professionalism never cease to impress us.

Mercy participated in various events including a simulated MEDEVAC, a mass casualty exercise and subject-matter expert exchanges with other participants.

MERCY is in Hawaii participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise. This is the first time in history that one of our hospital ships is engaged in RIMPAC, the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise.

Having MERCY and our medical forces in this year’s exercise recognizes Navy Medicine as a significant player on the world stage. It is a true testament to our health engagement and medical impact around the globe.

An incredible opportunity for our medical personnel to partner up and work together.

RIMPAC provides our Navy Medicine professionals an international military medical training environment like no other. There are 22 nations participating in RIMPAC. Of those nations, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Singapore, the United Kingdom have medical personnel at the exercise. This is an incredible opportunity for our medical personnel to partner up and work together in a maritime environment to increase security across the Pacific Rim and the entire world.  It’s multilateral cooperation at its best and I’m convinced that this training will pay off when we – collectively – are called upon to respond to the next crisis.

The Peace Ark crew showed a variety of areas and systems around their ship.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy and their medical ship Peace Ark (T-AH 866) is also participating.  We also had the unique opportunity to tour the Peace Ark, while it was in port in Pearl Harbor.

Our interaction with every nation represented at RIMPAC will foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.  This is our naval heritage.What makes you different from any other is that you serve across every dynamic – on the sea, above the sea, below the sea, and on the battlefield. As part of the Navy and Marine Corps team, we are designed to be out and about and around the world, patrolling and preserving peace. It’s our enduring mission. It’s what you do best.

FORCM Boss and I want to say thanks. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I suit up every day because I get to work with you.  You are the most dedicated of all medical professionals, and I am so proud to serve as your surgeon general.

See you around the Fleet.