SAN FRANCISCO (NNS) -- The Navy's Surgeon General highlighted the critical role Navy Medicine plays in humanitarian assistance and disaster response during the San Francisco Fleet Week Senior Leaders Seminar, Oct. 4.
Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery delivered keynote remarks during the SLS where he emphasized the role Navy Medicine plays in preparing for and responding to HA/DR efforts and the capabilities the naval services bring to the fight.
Nathan described his responsibility to enable the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to execute their missions by maintaining the highest state of medical readiness for our naval forces.
"I am in the readiness business," said Nathan. "My job is to be ready when America calls upon our maritime forces."
Mr. Lewis Loeven, executive director of the San Francisco Fleet Week Association kicked off the seminar by welcoming the men and women of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard to San Francisco. In addition to events designed to show appreciation for our Sailors and Marines, he said Fleet Week offers an opportunity to learn about the humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities of the naval services.
"We know that this area will experience a catastrophic event in the future. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," said Loeven. "This seminar presents a valuable opportunity for us to build key partnerships with one another, so in the event of a disaster, we are better prepared to respond."
Nathan applauded the work being done to better understand the capabilities of one another and determine how we can best marry them up.
"There will be no greater tragedy than having capabilities that we don't bring to bear in the time of disaster because we don't know how to communicate with one another or because we don't understand one another's capabilities," said Nathan. "I thank you in advance for the work you are doing here to be better prepared when the next worst-case nightmare scenario strikes."
This year's Fleet Week also included a peer-to-peer medical exchange Oct. 3. The medical exchange brought together the San Francisco Bay area's civilian medical community with the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, California Air National Guard and California Army National Guard to simulate patient movement following a large-scale disaster.
Lann Wilder, emergency management coordinator at San Francisco General Hospital, participated in the event and described the value of the hands-on opportunity to collaborate during the disaster response medical patient movement training exercise.
"This exercise was a game-changer," said Wilder. "We learned so much about the shock trauma care capabilities of the military during this exercise."
The 2012 San Francisco Fleet Week Senior Leaders Seminar was hosted by USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and San Francisco Fleet Week Association and was conducted with support from state, local and federal emergency response agencies and community leaders. This seminar provided a platform for senior leaders from the military, emergency response agencies and community leaders to continue to build working relationships and encourage cooperative emergency planning.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of more than 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
For more news from Navy Medicine, visit www.navy.mil/local/mednews/.