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In a significant step that enhances the U.S. Space Force’s capabilities and development, the Department of the Air Force has identified 23 U.S. Air Force organizations whose space-related missions will soon transfer to the Space Force.
Chief of Naval Operations
Adm. Mike Gilday and Mrs. Linda Gilday
It’s a busy time with the Coronavirus and stressful as well, but my wife, Linda, and I want to take this opportunity to recognize the countless women who serve in the U.S. Navy – active and reserve, uniform and civilian – as well as those who serve as military spouses on the front lines at home.
These are challenging times right now for all of us, but there is no doubt that women have, and will continue to make history in exciting ways. As March comes to an end, we want to recognize Women’s History Month as well as the amazing work being done by so many. Each of us is making history in some small way right now.
The Navy is full of trailblazers who paved a way for the more than 67,000 women who serve as part of our active force today. These spouses, mothers, daughters, sisters, and coworkers serve in every rank – from seaman to admiral… and in most every job – from naval aviators to deep-sea divers. Right now there are female doctors, nurses, and corpsmen deployed aboard the USNS Mercy and Comfort as part of the Navy’s broader response to the coronavirus epidemic. There are also many women who are acting at home as nurses to their own families.
Thousands of women also serve our Navy team as military spouses, supportive family members, government civilians and reservists. We know the sacrifices you are making and what you bring to the Navy team. While some receive public recognition, many do not. And we encourage ALL Navy leaders to take note of these accomplishments!
To the women who forged ahead and broke through that glass ceiling – thank you. And to the women who serve selflessly with little fanfare day-in and day-out – we appreciate all that you do.
We all have important roles to play in service to the Navy, and to our Nation. Your work matters – whether it’s at home, in an office or aboard ships at sea… It matters, and we thank you. We also would love to see your amazing stories right now – so join our conversation at: #NavyWomenMakingHistory.
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. MCPON: 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. CNO: 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. MCPON: 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.
This week's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.
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.
Building upon previously enacted movement restrictions governing foreign travel, permanent change of station moves, temporary duty and personal leave, this stop movement order will also impact exercises, deployments, redeployments and other global force management activities. Approximately 90,000 Service Members slated to deploy or redeploy over the next 60 days will likely be impacted by this stop movement order.
On March 18, President Trump announced Navy
hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and Comfort (T-AH-20) were to be activated
and deployed stateside to serve as referral centers for non-COVID-19 patients. The
longest-serving hospital ships in continuous operation in our history, Mercy
and Comfort have long captured the public’s imagination due to their vast medical
capabilities as floating hospitals. But in the storied history of our hospital
ships, stateside deployments during global pandemics remain unchartered waters.
Hospital ships have played pivotal roles in naval
operations since the early days of our Republic. During the Barbary
Wars, Commodore Edward Preble ordered that USS
Intrepid be used as a hospital ship. The reconfiguration of this former bomb-ketch
in 1803 marks the standard for almost all hospital ships used thereafter. To
date, only USS Relief (AH-1) was built from the keel up to serve as a hospital
ship. All other ships—including USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort—were converted from
other uses whether as super tankers, troop transports or passenger liners.
Whether it is the USS Red Rover transporting patients
up the Mississippi to Mound Island in the Civil War or USS Solace (AH-5) taking
wounded Marines from Iwo Jima to Guam hospital, ships have long served in the
capacity of ambulance ships.
During the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918,
Comfort (AH-3) and Mercy (AH-4) were each briefly stationed in New York where
they took care of overflow patients from the Third Naval District before
returning to the fleet and sailing across the Atlantic. Along with USS Solace
(AH-2), these ships ferried thousands of wounded and sick (including virulent
cases of the flu) back to stateside facilities.
Throughout 19th and early 20th centuries, a
host of Navy ships was sent around the country to serve as “station hospitals”
for burgeoning naval bases.
From the 1850s until the early 1860s, supply
ships USS Warren and later USS Independence operated in this capacity at Mare
Island, California, until shore facilities were constructed. Decades later, the
Navy employed the former gunboat USS Nipsic at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, where
it served as a predecessor to Naval Hospital Bremerton (Puget Sound). And from
1953 until 1957, the hospital ship USS Haven (AH-12) served as a station
hospital at Long Beach, California, supporting medical activities in the
Eleventh Naval District.
Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations have long been the clarion call for hospital ships. In March 1933, following the devastating earthquake that hit Long Beach, USS Relief (AH-1) sent teams of physicians and Hospital Corpsmen ashore to assist in treatment of casualties. Some 66 years later, following the Loma Prieta Earthquake of October 1989, USNS Mercy—then moored in Oakland—provided food and shelter for hundreds of victims of the disaster.
Since 2001, USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy have
taken part in some 19 HADR missions, from Continuing Promise to Unified
Assistance, and treated over 550,000 patients. But of these missions, only two
were stateside deployments.
Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Comfort deployed
to the Gulf Coast where she treated 1,258 patients at Pascagoula, Mississippi,
and New Orleans. Years earlier, she was sent to New York City following the attacks
on Sept. 11.
Originally envisioned as a floating trauma
hospital for the victims of the Twin Towers’ collapse, the ship’s mission
changed when it became clear there were not the large numbers of injured
expected. Vice Adm. Michael Cowan, Navy surgeon general in 2001, recalled that
New York’s Emergency Management Office stated the city was being overwhelmed
with the requirements of humanity. “The island didn’t have facilities to support the firemen and
rescuers and police digging
through the rubble and
sleeping on the hood of their engines,” Cowan said. “They were becoming dirty, going without water as they worked in
harsh environments. NYC requested the Comfort to provide humanitarian services; as the
‘Comfort Inn,’ which could be docked close to the site.”
From Sept. 14
to Oct. 1, Comfort provided hot meals, showers, a berth, a change of clean
clothes to about a 1,000 relief workers a day from its temporary home at Pier
92 in Manhattan.
When commissioned on Dec. 28, 1920, Relief (AH-1)
could boast the same amenities as the most modern hospitals at the time—large
corridors and elevators for transporting patients, and fully equipped surgical
operating rooms, wards, galleys, pantries, wash rooms, laboratories,
dispensaries, as well as a sterilizing/disinfecting room—all with “sanitary”
USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are no different
in this regard and are comparable to some of the largest trauma hospitals in
the United States. Each ship contains 12 fully equipped operating rooms, a bed
capacity of 1,000 and can boast of digital radiological services, medical
laboratories, full-serve pharmacies, blood banks, medical equipment repair
shops, prosthetics and physical therapy.
Emblazoned with nine red crosses and
stretching 894 feet in length (the size of three football fields) Mercy and
Comfort remain powerful symbols of medical care and hope during the
Reports of the Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy for the Fiscal Year 1919. Washington,
DC: Government Printing Office, 1919.
Michael, Oral History conducted with (Session conducted by A.B. Sobocinski and
D.V. Ginn on September 12, 2013). BUMED Oral History Archives.
Lucius. “The Story of Our Hospital Ships.” The Red Cross Courier. July 1937.
Emory A. Hospital Ships of World War II. An Illustrated Reference. Jefferson,
NC: McFarland & CO., Inc, Publishers, 1999.
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