May 26, 2022
[00:00:06] Gary Bisbee, Ph.D.: On this Memorial Day, May 30th, 2022, we remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. It’s appropriate that our guests today are for current or retired military generals. We appreciate their service and are pleased that they’re with us today. We welcome Generals Scott Dingle, Ronald Place, Joseph Caravalho and Elder Granger. Leading off is Lieutenant General Scott Dingle, Surgeon General of the US Army and commanding general of the US Army Medical Command.
[00:00:40] Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle: What does Memorial Day mean to me? To me, Memorial Day is a very significant event in my life and in the life of every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine. Why is that? Because, me as a soldier, I sit and I stand on the shoulders of those who have given their life for their country. I’m able to lead today and serve today because of those who have given their lives in battle. General Douglas MacArthur said this quote. He said that no one desires peace more than the soldier because it’s he, or she, I paraphrase, who must pay the greatest price when called upon. Memorial Day honors those service members who paid that ultimate price in battle. That means they have given their lives. They have died in combat. Memorial Day is not to be mixed with Veterans Day. Veterans Day honors those who have served previously. And then Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday, weekend in May, that honors those who are currently serving on active duty. But Memorial Day, very special. When we see the tombs, the gravestones, the red poppies that are handed out, it reminds us of those who died in combat. They paid the ultimate price. And so we have our freedoms today, I have my freedoms today, because of the soldiers, the sailors, the airmen and the Marines who died in combat. So I remembered them today. It’s a very special day and we pay homage to that ultimate sacrifice. And that’s what Memorial Day means to me.
[00:02:30] Dr. Gary Bisbee: Next up is Lieutenant General Ronald Place, a physician who is Director of the Defense Health Agency.
[00:02:37] Lt. Gen. Place: We’re aboard the USS Mesa Verde, LPD 19, an amphibious vessel used to support and transport Marines anywhere across the world that we as Americans, we as the Department of Defense, we need Marines. Memorial Day, an important day, an important concept. I think that I’ve really transitioned to how I thought about it over my lifetime. As a kid, start of summer. Or as a young adult, it was, do I have school today or do I even work today? But the way I thought about it, the way I continue to think about it, really changed the first time that I deployed to Afghanistan. I went in the fall of 2001 through the spring of 2002. Before that I saw myself as a physician. I saw myself as a surgeon who happened to be in the Army, but I identified as a surgeon. But with that deployment, with these incredible, these incredible soldiers and sailors that I happened to be stationed with and their ability to focus on each other and really live for each other and the comradery that came with it changed me such that I no longer thought about myself that way. I thought about myself as a soldier who happened to be a physician. Later in Afghanistan, I had another experience that I think is going to be germane to Memorial Day. The day was like many other days, trauma activations, casualties coming in. But in this particular case, it was a young soldier, young Lieutenant, whose vehicle that she’d been riding in was destroyed with an improvised explosive device, an IED. And shortly before arriving in our Ford resuscitative surgical team, she started to code. In fact, her heart stopped beating. And so getting her into the resuscitation bay and evaluating her for her traumatic blood loss, her above knee amputation on one side, and her below-the-knee amputation on the other side, and fragment injuries to other parts of her body. And what could we do and stop the bleeding and coding her in chest compressions. And that’s not working. Opening your chest, doing intrathoracic cardiac massage, trying to save her life. Everything that we could possibly do. Blood transfusions. Everything. And sadly, we’re unsuccessful. And at that point we don’t know who she is. And so my responsibility then was to go through her clothing, to find her wallet, to find her ID, to find her name. And it’s at that point, she stopped being the bilateral leg amputee coming in coding. She became this young woman who volunteered to go anywhere, to do anything, to keep America free. That’s who we think about on Memorial Day. Now, my job as the Director of the Defense Health Agency is to make sure our healthcare team is trained, equipped. They’re ready for anything, no matter what any soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or guardian have happened to them or disease process, that we’re there to take care of them, to optimize their healthcare, to make sure that really, really long list of those people we honor on Memorial Day stops adding new names to it. Memorial Day is the gift of one American to another, so that we can be free. I hope that everyone listening to your show has a peaceful and reflective Memorial Day as we think about those service members who are deployed in harm’s way across the world to maintain that safety and security for the rest of us. So, God bless everyone listening to your show, God bless our service members deployed in harm’s way, and God bless America.
[00:06:42] Dr. Gary Bisbee: Next is Major General Joseph Caravalho, retired, a physician who is currently President and CEO of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine.
[00:06:54] MG Joseph Caravalho, Jr., M.D. (Ret.): Well, it’s a federal holiday. Unlike other holidays, there’s not happiness with it. There’s solace associated with it. But before I talk about this special cohort of American patriots, Memorial Day allows me to kind of just think about, there really are a lot of patriots in this country. It’s not just those in uniform. And if we think about a patriot doing something selflessly for the people or the population, we have our teachers and educators who train the people. We had government workers who support the people. We have a firemen, policemen, first responders who protect the people. Nurses and doctors care for and treat the people. Appointed and elected officials represent the people. But it is a special cohort of individuals who volunteered to put on the uniform of this country to defend the people. And so I think of this group as signing the proverbial blank check payable to the United States of America for up to and including their very life. And it doesn’t matter what they do. Everyone is prepared and trained to engage the enemy and defeat the enemy on behalf of this country. Not for an individual, not for an administration, but for the ideals of freedom and democracy. And so on Memorial Day, we think about this 1% of the population, those individuals who then made the ultimate sacrifice. No greater love than to put one’s life down for a fellow human being. These individuals in combat died so that we could enjoy the freedoms and liberties that we have today. So when I think about Memorial Day, I try to take a moment just to think in honor and in awe and in respect for those individuals who sacrificed for me and my family and for generations of Americans going forward. And I also think about the gold star mothers and fathers, the husbands, the wives, the sons, the daughters, those who shared their treasure with this country who no longer have them in this life. I honoe them as well. So that’s what Memorial Day means for me.
[00:09:17] Dr. Gary Bisbee: We will close with Lieutenant General Elder Granger, retired, a physician who is President and CEO of the 5 P’s.
[00:09:27] MG Elder Granger, M.D. (Ret.): Well, first of all, let me go through what I call some of the history. Memoria Day got started by Brigadier General John A. Logan in 1868. And that was at the height or after the Civil War between the north and the south. However, the first celebration, we call decoration, Memorial Day took place in 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina, when free African-American soldiers exhumed the bodies of Union soldiers and honored them with decoration. So what does it mean to me? It means that freedom is not free. We must honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice going back to the American Revolution, the Civil War, the various wars participated, War of 1812, the Spanish American War, World War One, World War Two, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, the Iraq, Afghani War, to including up in modern day time, what is happening in the country of Ukraine, when we have laws, individuals who believe in freedom of the press to include journalism, their technical support staff, and others. So it’s important that the last Monday in May, that we take the opportunity to have a moment of silence or visit a cemetery to acknowledge those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, men and women in our uniform services, as well as civilians, who sometimes we don’t mention, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of this nation, both home and abroad. So I say again, Memorial Day means to me, let’s pause and honor in a moment of silence or visit a cemetery, honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. And again, freedom is not free. So thank you.