FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
For the three military surgeons general to be in the same country at the same time is unusual. For all three to be in the same room at the same time is a rare event.
Instructors and staff of the Medical Education & Training Campus (METC) received an extraordinary opportunity when Lt. Gen. Charles Green, surgeon general of the Air Force; Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, surgeon general of the Navy and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; and Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, surgeon general and commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command conducted two All Hands calls (open forum) on the same stage at the same time during a visit to METC on May 30.
The three surgeons general and their senior enlisted leaders addressed the METC audience and answered questions in the Big Area Tent on Fort Sam Houston. The purpose of the visit was to ensure that METC continues on the path to joint success, and to ask what they can do to help maintain efforts to integrate training among the services.
"The six of us are here for a couple of reasons. The first is to say 'thank you'," Nathan told the METC audience during the All Hands Call. "We want to support integrated training, iron out wrinkles and smooth out seams. You represent the future and set the culture for integration."
Nathan said they are here to ask "why not interoperability", not "why."
"We want to remove the barriers," he added. "You're doing a great job of training our people. Joint is where it's at."
Horoho agreed. "Where we can be interoperable, where we can be joint we need to do that," she said.
To stimulate the discussion Horoho later turned the floor to the audience, asking "if you were to be surgeon general for the day, what would you do?"
In addition to the All Hands calls, the surgeons held discussions with senior leaders from METC and the Army, Navy and Air Force component commands that support METC. They also toured METC's Basic Medical Technician Corpsman Program and Department of Combat Medic Training where they observed students engaged in the classroom, laboratory simulation, and a live training exercise.
The six surgeons and senior enlisted leaders expressed their unification in support of what METC has accomplished and its future as the leader in joint military medical training.
As the pendulum swings from individual service medical training to consolidated training, METC is moving toward fully integrated training.
"You are giving us a wonderful product," Green told the METC audience. "We couldn't be more pleased."