Some 1,900 Army medical professionals heard from two senior Army leaders May 20 during the Army Medical Symposium in San Antonio, Texas, hosted by U.S. Army Medical Command and the Association of the U.S. Army.
"I came to tell you thank you, because I find myself frustrated when people emphasize the negative instead of the positive," said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. Army Installation Management Command and the Army's assistant chief of staff for installation management. "The things that are going great nobody talks about, but I want you to know that we (senior Army leaders) know about them."
"All of you are bona fide heroes," he added.
Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, echoed those thoughts.
"I have a life-long love affair with Army medicine," Ham said. "Army medicine is strong and I am confident we are in great hands for the future."
Ham spoke of the importance of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, which not only supports the U.S. military population in Europe, but also serves as first stop in the evacuation of casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan to the U.S.
"The ability to house patients between the area of operations and (the continental United States) remains a vital link," he said.
Ham also spoke of his role on two high-profile issues, the investigation of a shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas, last November, and an on-going study of the Don't Ask-Don't Tell policy regarding military service by homosexuals.
He said the main question regarding the Fort Hood incident is "How did this happen?"
Ham said the group studying homosexual service is gathering information from a variety of sources, and noted the question being considered is not whether the policy should change, but how best to implement a change if one is legislated by Congress.
Lynch, who supervises all Army installations through his command employing some 120,000 people, spoke about the need to support resiliency of soldiers and their families, and the need for synchronization of support efforts by various organizations.
"Our soldiers are magnificent," Lynch said, speaking of high reenlistment rates both in Iraq and at Fort Hood, Texas, when he commanded there.
"The army won't break because of our soldiers, but the army may break because of stress on our families," he said. "All of us together can work to alleviate some of that stress."
"Just because you deployed to combat, that doesn't mean you came back as a broken person. Not everyone who has been to combat has (post-traumatic stress disorder)," Lynch said. "The reason for that is resiliency. If a person is resilient, the difficult situation won't devastate them but will allow them to grow."
He advocated bringing support programs together into "resiliency campuses" where soldiers and their families can easily find help dealing with their problems.
Lynch co-chairs the Services and Installations Core Enterprise, an effort to bring the Army's support programs together more effectively and efficiently.
"I'm convinced it's all about integration," he said. "If we can agree on how we're going to do this, we will be exponentially more powerful."
He said the Army has invested $2.1 billion this year into programs supporting the Army Family Covenant, and 30 percent of those programs are redundant. Combining programs and canceling those that are redundant can save $355 million, he said.
"You can read history or you can make history. We are making history, ensuring our children and their children experience the same freedom we do," Lynch concluded.