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Health Workers in Uniform: Lessons Learned

By Cmdr. Michael Kaplan, MD
Director of Medical Services

Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida

While USS Kidd (DDG 100) was deployed to the U.S. Fourth Fleet Area of Responsibility, a Sailor began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms April 20, a month after the ship’s last port call.

SOUTH CHINA SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham/Released)

In the weeks preceding this first positive case onboard, the crew of USS Kidd was already applying the Navy’s COVID-19 lessons learned. In early April, Sailors began to make and wear cloth face masks. They conducted a quarantine and isolation drill to determine how to segregate sick and healthy crew members on a ship with limited space.

In addition, the surface Navy and operational commanders sent COVID-19 mitigation guidance to the fleet and built contingencies in the event another deployed ship experienced an outbreak.

200406-N-HI500-2014 PACIFIC OCEAN (April 6, 2020) Gunner’s Mate Seaman Recruit Beverly Jordan, from Los Angeles, and Ship’s Serviceman 2nd Class Naomi Dunkley, from Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica, cut paracord to create straps for cloth masks aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandie Nuzzi/Released)
200325-N-HI500-1001 PACIFIC OCEAN (March 25, 2020) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Rhiley Bauer, from Ketchikan, Alaska examines Logistic Specialist 2nd Class Didier Dorsainville, from Orange, N.J., during a medical training drill aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100), March 25, 2020. Kidd is conducting routine operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandie Nuzzi/Released)

This is the story of the seven-member medical team from Naval Hospital Jacksonville who jumped into action to provide medical care to the crew of USS Kidd.

Be Prepared to Respond Quickly to a Possible Outbreak

On the morning of April 23, my boss, Capt. Matthew Case, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Jacksonville, came over to my office. He asked if we could send a team to a ship in distress, to do testing, isolating, and quarantining of Sailors who may be sick with COVID-19, as well as provide medical support until they can get back to a safe place.

I said, “Sure, when would they need to go?”

He said three hours.

We balanced who would be most qualified and available on such short notice without leaving the hospital in a bad place, since every department had been stretched because of COVID-19.
We built a team of seven medical providers: Along with me, an allergy/immunology and internal medicine physician by trade, were Lt. Cmdr. Clifton Wilcox, MD, a preventative medicine physician; the lab technician, Hospitalman Joseph Kim; two preventative medicine technicians, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Derrick Hudson and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jason Turgeon; and finally, the two hospital corpsmen, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Brian Krawsczyn and Hospitalman Jason Moyer.
Within hours of the call, we were packed up with all the equipment and tests. We didn’t have much time to think about what we were getting into, which is probably a good thing. Not too many people would want to run into a burning building. When we left we knew very little about how many Sailors were currently sick. 
We took a P-8 Poseidon from Jacksonville, a couple of miles down the street from our hospital. It flew us to El Salvador, and from there we took an SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter offshore.

190711-N-BD308-0024 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 11, 2019) Lt. j.g. Alex Orlando, from Gainesville, Fla., a pilot assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 30, prepares to board a P8-A Poseidon aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Levingston Lewis/Released)

Test Everyone, Even if They Don’t Show Symptoms

200529-N-SB299-1085 SAN DIEGO (May 29, 2020) A Sailor assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) has his temperature checked as he returns to the ship as part of the Navy’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In order to be cleared to return to the ship, Sailors must have received two separate negative test results. Kidd arrived in San Diego April 28 to receive medical care for its Sailors and clean and disinfect the ship following a COVID-19 outbreak while underway. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Millar/Released)

That evening, we began testing the crew. Within 24 hours of arriving, we already had 25 percent of Kidd Sailors tested. Once we identified someone who was positive yet asymptomatic, we took the initiative to isolate them, so they couldn’t spread the infection. Our goal was to reduce further spread among potentially vulnerable Sailors who were not already infected.

Of all the Sailors who tested positive while still onboard, about 50 percent were asymptomatic.

Testing everyone took a lot time. One challenge was that our COVID-19 testing machine could only run one sample at a time. We could average about four to five tests per hour at best. Before the ship arrived in San Diego, we tested 100 percent of the crew, but this required that we run the tests 24 hours a day.

We still had days until we would arrive in San Diego and disembark the crew. Until then, we wanted to do everything we could to minimize the spread on the ship, to ensure Sailors could remain healthy and do their job.

I have to give kudos to Kidd’s independent duty corpsman, Chief Hospital Corpsman Clinton Barton, and his medical department. They did a great job identifying which Sailors were likely infected. Barton took it upon himself to isolate those not feeling well before we even got there.

Despite the limited space on a cramped destroyer, he did the right thing: isolating people he had concerns about. That allowed us to rapidly test those people first, make sure our equipment was working properly and try to mitigate the spread. As we continued to test other Sailors who did not have symptoms, we just increased the isolation ward he had created.

200511-N-VN584-1076 SAN DIEGO (May 11, 2020) Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class Jonathan Young, assigned to the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), left, and Navy Career Counselor 1st Class Daryl Bragg, assigned to the future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121), deliver food and drinks to Sailors assigned the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100). Kidd arrived in San Diego April 28 as part of the Navy’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the ship at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona/Released)

Minimize Exposure to Avoid Being Infected

We implemented a number of steps to try to mitigate the spread, such as administering N-95 masks to the entire crew, increasing the cleaning frequency for common areas and making sure Sailors wash their hands or use sanitizer before going into common areas such as the galley.

200428-N-VN584-1071 SAN DIEGO (April 28, 2020) Chief Hospital Corpsman Michael Wade, assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Medical Readiness Division, organizes medical supplies while preparing for Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) as part of the Navy’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak on board the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona/ Released)

The location of the ship from where we started was outside the typical range of a helicopter. USS Makin Island (LHD 8) provided an additional resource, should we run into trouble and need to move Sailors off USS Kidd. Makin Island is capable of taking on types of aircraft that Kidd can’t, allowing for longer medevacs.

200420-N-LR905-1564 PACIFIC OCEAN (April 20, 2020) The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) conducts routine operations in the eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob D. Bergh/Released)

With an embarked fleet surgical team, Makin Island can also provide Role 2 level of care. Role 2 care includes basic resuscitation and stabilization and may include surgical capability, basic laboratory, limited x-ray, pharmacy, and temporary holding facilities.

While underway, 15 Sailors from Kidd were transported to Makin Island, where they received radiographic imaging and laboratory diagnostic services, as well as general medical services.

Test Everyone Again

Although we’d tested 100 percent of the crew already, we retested everyone in San Diego on arrival. Knowing who is positive is imperative, and the only way to know is through testing.

200518-N-VN584-1060 SAN DIEGO (May 18, 2020) Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Marisol Swenney, assigned to the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), center, and Senior Chief Fire Controlman Michael Miller of the future USS Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), confirm muster sheets during crew swap, the next phase of recovery for the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100). The Navy re-tested the crew for COVID-19 and transferred nearly 90 confirmed healthy Sailors from quarantine to the ship to replace the caretaker crew that went aboard after the ship arrived in San Diego April 28. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona/Released)

Learn From the Experiences of Others

We took advantage of some of the lessons from the outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). I think the combination of hard work, some good planningeven though we had extraordinarily little timeand just making sure we did everything we possibly could allowed it to work out.

200603-N-VY375-1101 NAVAL BASE GUAM (June 3, 2020) The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) flies a replica of Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry’s “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag as it arrives at Apra Harbor, June 3, 2020. Following an extended visit to Guam in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Theodore Roosevelt completed carrier qualifications June 2 and is in Guam for resupply during a deployment to the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi/Released)

Having multiple courses of action is always a good idea, because you never know if something is not going to work the way you expect. Fortunately, we had enough redundancy built into the system.

Also, bring the right equipment, and think outside the box. Then you just put it together.

Clearly, this mission demonstrates having a robust and well-rounded medical force ready is integral to ensuring our Navy is capable of meeting whatever challenges arise.

200428-N-SB299-1397 SAN DIEGO (April 28, 2020) The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) arrives in San Diego April 28 as part of the Navy’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 outbreak on board the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Millar/ Released)

NOTE: On returning to Jacksonville, Kaplan and his team retested negative, were quarantined for 14 days, and retested negative a third time before returning to work. U.S. Navy

COVID-19 Navy Update: CNO and MCPON Message to the Fleet

CNO: Shipmates, it’s the 30th of March, 2020. MCPON Smith and I wanted to provide you and your families an update on COVID-19. During this extraordinary time, what remains constant are our top three priorities: taking care of you and your families, being mission ready, and supporting the whole-of-government effort.

This past week, we’ve seen a rise in numbers who have tested positive for the coronavirus throughout the Fleet. We continue to take this threat very seriously and are working aggressively to keep Sailors healthy, as well as to prevent further spread of the virus.

CNO: We have to think, act, and operate differently right now to both protect Sailors and to remain mission ready. This is not business as usual. That is why many commanders have implemented a 14-day fast cruise for units preparing to get underway, which will conduct important training evolutions, exercises, or deployments.
MCPON: Additionally, we have implemented a 14-day restricted-movement policy for new recruits at RTC. And the entire RTC staff will also remain on base for up to 90 days, to minimize potential spread of the virus.
CNO: We are also supporting the whole-of-government approach in many ways. USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles last Friday, and USNS Comfort arrived in New York City this morning. We also deployed two expeditionary medical teams: one to Dallas, Texas, and the other to New Orleans.
MCPON: 2,200 Navy medical professionals are on board these ships, which will serve as referral hospitals for non-COVID-19 patients. Another 1,000 medical personnel are awaiting orders to be deployed.
CNO: In this fight, our Navy medical team is on the front line – fighting to care and treat the American people. Other Sailors from our Reserve and Engineering communities may join the coronavirus fight soon. You all have our thanks and our gratitude.
MCPON: People are the lifeblood of the Navy – and we are counting on every Sailor to take this outbreak seriously.

While we recognize some new COVID-19 policies place a burden on you and your families, these actions must be taken to ensure your safety and also to maintain mission readiness.

To families and loved ones at home, thank you for your support and understanding. This is a hard time, and we could not do this without you.
CNO: I’ll end with this: As military professionals, we prepare daily to deal with adversity, uncertainty and conflict. Our Sailors and their families are resilient. We know you will set an example for your friends, for your neighbors and in your local communities on how to make personal sacrifices in service of the collective good. So stay safe, Shipmates. Americans depend on us for security. And we will not let them down. U.S. Navy

USNS Mercy, USNS Comfort: 2020 COVID-19 Deployment

This is the U.S. Navy blog site for the 2020 deployment of Navy hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) to provide medical support to Americans in regions significantly affected by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Navy medical professionals on both ships will assist local health care providers by offering care to persons who do not have the virus, freeing local hospitals and clinics to treat COVID-19 patients.

Visit here frequently to see the latest video content, imagery, news articles and other information about these ships and their Navy crew members as they serve Americans during this deployment.


The operation is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Navy. The Navy is committed to providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities by increasing medical capacity and collaboration for medical assistance in two areas of the country that have seen tremendous impact from the coronabvirus pandemic.


News Releases

March 24, 2020: Navy Reserve Arrives to Support USNS Mercy

March 18, 2020 – Hospital Ships, Other DOD Assets Prepare for Coronavirus Response

Supporting Content

DVIDS Resources (Video, Imagery, Additional Reporting)

USNS Mercy Photo Gallery

USNS Comfort Photo Gallery

Historical Perspective

Answering the Call: Stateside Deployments of U.S. Navy Hospital Ships

More Resources

U.S. Navy COVID-19 Response

Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)

U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM)

Military Sealift Command

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) U.S. Navy

CNO’s Message to the Fleet on Coronavirus

By Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday

Shipmates, it’s the 19th of March, 2020. A lot has changed in the past week, and the impacts of the coronavirus are changing daily life for all of us.

Our focus right now is threefold: We must protect our people, and we must maintain mission readiness. And finally, we have to support the whole-of-government effort.

That is why we’ve enacted additional policies designed to combat the spread of coronavirus.  

We’ve done a number of things, including moving to shift work, reducing our manning, and increasing our telework. We have closed DoD schools and many MWR facilities, as well as curtailed some child and youth programs. We have postponed our E-4 advancement exam, we’ve suspended the spring physical readiness test, and we’ve postponed drill weekends for reserves until May 11. We’ve also suspended recruit graduation ceremonies until further notice. Additionally, we will pause administrative and statutory promotion boards for the time being.

But many things remain open too, including our commissaries, our exchanges, our military treatment facilities, as well as our Military Health System Nurse Advice Line and our My Navy Career Center—all available 24/7 to answer your questions. 

We are also preparing our two 1,000-bed hospital ships, the Mercy and Comfort, to get underway to relieve pressure on civilian health providers, who are focused on treating folks with the coronavirus.

Operationally, to keep our ships, our aircraft and our submarines ready, commanders are empowered to take the necessary precautions, so they can effectively carry out their missions and meet the critical needs of our Sailors.

While 30 percent of our fleet is underway today—including four carrier strike groups and four amphibious ready groups—we must, to the greatest extent possible, practice social distancing, as well as good hygiene and cleanliness aboard our ships, in our offices, and in our homes.

America continues to depend on us to provide security and stability to this nation, and we will do just that.

Expect additional guidance over the days and weeks ahead as this situation continues to change. To stay up-to-date on these changes, check out our coronavirus page on 

Finally, we must be mindful that while many of our shipmates are very adept at maintaining their support networks, for some, social distancing can lead to a loss of connectedness and feelings of isolation. You need to know that you’re not alone. 

If you or if one of your shipmates need help, reach out to the resources that we have available, whether it’s the Military Crisis Line, Military OneSource, our Navy chaplain care, or the Psychological Health Resource Center. We also have our Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center and our Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Above all, take care of yourselves, your families, and each other. Your safety remains our primary concern as we continue to carry out the Navy’s mission in defense of our nation. U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy COVID-19 Updates

This blog is the official site for information and updates on Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19). Visit frequently to learn about the latest policies, leadership messages and guidance on how to protect yourself, your family and your Shipmates.

Below you’ll find, in chronological order, video messages and statements from Navy leaders, Navy news articles, links to NAVADMINs and ALNAVs, and other resources.

March 15, 2020: article: Navy Sets Coronavirus Transfer and Travel Rules: What You Need to Know (March 15, 2020)

March 14, 2020: NAVADMIN 65/20: Navy Mitigation Measures in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak: Update 1

March, 14, 2020: Video Message From Chief of Naval Operations ADM Mike Gilday and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith:

March 14, 2020: Stop the Spread of Germs Video

March 14, 2020: ALNAV 26/20: Official and Personal Domestic Travel Force Health Protection Guidance for Department of the Navy (CONUS Travel Guidance)

March 13, 2020: Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly’s Vector 15 message on the March 12 All Navy Message (ALNAV 25/20) on COVID-19.

March 13, 2020: Department of Defense Statement on Enhanced Protection Measures

March 12, 2020: ALNAV 25/20: Force Protection Guidance for the Department of the Navy


Feb. 26, 2020: Navy Surgeon General Video Message:

Additional Resources

Department of Defense Coronavirus Update Site
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Website U.S. Navy

Navy Medicine’s transformation: How hospital corpsmen fit in

By Force Master Chief Hosea Smith Jr.
Director, U.S. Navy Hospital Corps

Several weeks ago, the U.S. Navy surgeon general outlined the significant changes that will reshape our Navy Medicine mission toward greater readiness.

We are refining our organizational structure so we can ensure a medically ready force – Sailors and Marines ready to fight tonight if called upon. Navy Medicine’s reorganization will also ensure a ready medical force – medical personnel with the right skills and training to deploy and support our warfighters.

As Navy Medicine’s force master chief and director of the Hospital Corps, the largest enlisted rating in the Navy, I am responsible for all hospital corpsmen, the dedicated men and women who play a significant role in the care of our Sailors and Marines across the globe.

In the future that Vice Adm. Faison described, our corpsmen will become even more critical to saving lives. Their skills are already sharp, but we can always do better. We’ve launched several efforts that will improve corpsmen’s readiness to serve in combat environments.

INDIAN OCEAN (March 13, 2019) Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Casey Phillips, center, from Peoria, Arizona, coordinates triage of critical patients during a mass casualty drill in the hangar bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Indian Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jarrod A. Schad/Released)


Training Provides Real Life Experience

First and foremost, I am extremely proud of the progress we’ve made instituting Hospital Corpsman Trauma Training. This program started as a proof-of-concept in Fall 2017 with 30 brand new corpsmen who completed 12 weeks of training at the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois.

Part of the training involved classroom instruction, but the real core involved a hands-on experience at Cook County hospital focused on trauma resuscitation, trauma intensive care unit, burn unit, and the emergency department. Seasoned nurses and senior independent duty corpsmen provided guidance and supervision, as well as first-class instruction grounded in their real world experiences.

Since then, we have sent two additional cohorts of corpsmen to trauma training at FHCC, with three additional groups currently planned for this year. This includes a new partnership with the University of Florida Health Shands, where corpsmen in Jacksonville, Florida, recently started their hands-on trauma experience.

There is no doubt in my mind that the corpsmen who go through trauma training gain the confidence and technical abilities to expertly treat Sailors and Marines in operational settings. Not only does this opportunity enhance our warfighting capabilities, it expands our partnerships with our civilian counterparts, providing a larger network of training environments.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2019) Medical personnel assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Jacksonville’s Expeditionary Medical Facility (EMF) Mike perform trauma care on a mock patient during a two-week training at Naval Expeditionary Medical Training Institute in Camp Pendleton, California. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Joseph Castro/Released)


Corpsmen Receive Continuing Education

Navy Medicine continues exploring all avenues for the talented men and women of the Hospital Corps to gain real-life experiences that better prepare them to save lives throughout the continuum of care. Several years ago, Navy Medicine assessed Hospital Corps “A” school, the 14 weeks of initial training that instill medical fundamentals in new corpsmen. This analysis resulted in changes to the curriculum, emphasizing the knowledge and analytical abilities necessary for corpsmen to successfully treat wounded Sailors and Marines as their first point of contact on the battlefield.

Because basic education isn’t enough, these skills and abilities must be consistently practiced. In late 2017, we announced updated criteria for Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS), which is in essence continuing education for corpsmen. These requirements encourage corpsmen to deepen their understanding of the human body and medical treatment techniques.

Have these new standards been effective? This month, we are gathering the available data to validate our “A” school curriculum and follow-on PQS requirements, or identify if new training standards might be needed.

Hospital corpsmen are called to serve on a moment’s notice in a broad variety of medical capacities and operational environments. Our rating is incredibly diverse and in some cases very specialized, but we are all focused on readiness – keeping our skills sharp, and our nation’s warfighters healthy and on the job.

Previous blog: “Building Navy Medicine’s Future: Taking A Bearing” by By Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, U.S. Navy Surgeon General and Chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. poyrazdogany

Navy Surgeon General’s New Strategic Priorities

By Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison, III
Surgeon General
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery


Navy Medicine is dedicated to the best readiness and health in the world and it is our mission to keep Sailors, Marines and their family ready, healthy and on the job. As your 38th Navy surgeon general, I understand the significance of quality care and the increasing role patients play in their healthcare, along with those things that influence their health care decisions. In order to continue to meet your health care needs and those we are privileged to serve, I believe we must take strides toward change in a rapidly evolving world.

NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (Apr. 18, 2016) – Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, surgeon general and chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, speaks with Sailors assigned to the USS Ross (DDG 71) medical department as part of a tour of the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel James Lewis/Released)
NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (Apr. 18, 2016) – Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, surgeon general and chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, speaks with Sailors assigned to the USS Ross (DDG 71) medical department as part of a tour of the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel James Lewis/Released)


ARABIAN GULF (March 18, 2016) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Lucas Roberts simulates maintaining a distressed casualty during a mass casualty drill in the hangar bay of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Lindsay A. Preston/Released)
ARABIAN GULF (March 18, 2016) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Lucas Roberts simulates maintaining a distressed casualty during a mass casualty drill in the hangar bay of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Lindsay A. Preston/Released)

As Navy Medicine adapts to change, my priority is to meet the unique needs of our Sailors, Marines and their families around the globe who have entrusted Navy Medicine with their health and well-being, ensuring they are ready to go whenever and wherever needed to do our nation’s work.

Readiness: We save lives wherever our forces operate – at and from the sea.

Our care is second to none.

Navy Medicine has the highest combat survival rate in recorded history. I am proud to say that we are dedicated and committed to selflessly serve and save the lives of our Sailors, Marines and their families. Through research, development and the rapid delivery of new capabilities, we are uniquely positioned to counter new and emerging health threats on the sea, above the sea, below the sea and on the battlefield.

Health: We will provide the best care our nation can offer to Sailors, Marines and their families to keep them healthy, ready and on the job.

The majority of our uniformed Sailors and Marines were born after 1986, and they have a different view of the world than the generations before them. Their view is driving change in the way we deliver health care today. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of Sailors, Marines and their families and my priority is to continue ensuring that your health needs are met in ways that are convenient and acceptable to you, ensuring they are full partners in their health and readiness.

Partnerships: We will expand and strengthen our partnerships to maximize readiness and health.

Through our partnerships we are a stronger Navy Medicine health system. We aim to preserve peace and security and grow our capabilities to save lives by joining in the development efforts of our sister services, allies and the private sector. I pledge to continue investing in those uniquely inherent capabilities, making Navy Medicine America’s most reliable health care provider for Sailors, Marines and their families.

Families sleep well knowing that Navy Medicine has the watch and their loved ones will receive the best care our nation can offer, today and tomorrow. I thank each of you for your service, sacrifice, and commitment to our Navy, Marine Corps and nation. I am proud of each of you and honored to serve as your 38th Navy surgeon general.

Navy Surgeon General Commander’s Guidance

Today’s Navy and Marine Corps team is the most highly trained, educated and specialized force in history. Their needs and expectations continue to change in today’s evolving landscape. Therefore, to keep our Navy and Marine Corps team healthy, on station, and ready to do our nation’s work, Navy Medicine must adapt and provide so Sailors, Marines and their families the best care our nation can deliver.


The Navy and Marine Corps family has the best readiness and health in the world


Keep the Navy and Marine Corps family ready, healthy and on the job

Guiding Principles

  • Honor the trust to provide the best care to those who defend our freedom
  • Honor the uniform we wear
  • Honor the privilege of leadership

Commander’s Priorities

  • Readiness: We save lives wherever our forces operate – at and from the sea.
  • Health: We will provide the best care our nation can offer to Sailors, Marines and their families to keep them healthy, ready and on the job.
  • Partnerships: We will expand and strengthen our partnerships to maximize readiness and health.

We are a maritime nation and have been since our founding. Our peace and prosperity are linked to the security of the seas and littorals. To protect that peace and security, America has the greatest and most capable Navy and Marine Corps the world has ever known. The role of Navy Medicine in preserving the health and fighting readiness of that force has never been greater or more critical.

Editor’s note: This blog was originally published Nov. 15, 2016, on Navy Medicine Live. Jason Kelly