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Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, hte surgeon general of the Navy, speaks with Navy medical personnel during an admiral's call at the air station theater May 28.

Photo by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki

Surgeon General visits Cherry Point

31 May 2013 | Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki

The surgeon general of the Navy, Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, and the medical officer of the Marine Corps, Rear Adm. Michael H. Anderson, paid a visit to the Cherry Point Naval Health Clinic May 23.

The admirals visited with the senior leadership of the air station, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and the clinic itself. In the morning, they toured the clinic, visiting the physical therapy center, the warrior wellness and readiness center, and the mental health center.

A running theme through the visit was making the health clinic, as opposed to nearby civilian options, the primary and preferred source of care for active duty military personnel. Anderson said that under the battalion aid station system, military personnel would check in only to ask if they should choose between an emergency room or an urgent care center outside the military installation. Navy medicine wants to change that.

“My objective here was primarily to look at the care the operational forces are receiving through the Warrior Wellness clinic they recently established in the last couple of months,” said Anderson. “Some objectives of that clinic were to increase the access, increase the quality of care, as well as the value to the individual Marine in being able to receive their care here.”

After a tour of the clinic, they held an Admiral’s Call in the station theater where all of the medical personnel on the air station had the opportunity to listen and ask questions about the state of Navy medicine today.

During the talk, Nathan touched on a number of subjects, including the effects of the sequestration on Navy medicine, how to make the best of career experience and the role Navy medicine plays in the operations of the Navy-Marine Corps team. Nathan said that role is to keep the warfighters ready to fight, take care of the warfighters’ families and to deploy anywhere in the world to get reliable medical care to the front lines of any battlefield or disaster aid situation.

“It’s a magnificent organization we work for, and you sometimes don’t give yourself enough credit for your readiness and the role you play in national defense, civilian and military alike,” said Nathan. “We have to be compassionate, we have to watch the budget, we have to be able to provide state-of-the-art care and by the way, we have to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice to go to war or go to catastrophe.”

For the average corpsman, the talk was enlightening and improved confidence in the command climate.

“I got a little more insight into what’s going on in the military right now,” said Seaman Kaleem A. Lylesdawson, a hospital corpsman with the clinic. “It put things more into perspective of how things are run. It makes us feel better to see someone actually care enough about us to visit and see how we’re doing.”
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point