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Naval Medical Forces Atlantic fosters relations with Billings to deepen Navy connection

31 August 2023

From Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Levi Decker, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic

Rear Adm. Matthew Case, commander, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (NMFL) and director of the Medical Service Corps, cultivated a better understanding of the U.S. Navy’s role in protecting American prosperity and freedom during an executive engagement visit to Billings, Montana, Aug. 10-14.
The 4-day visit was part of a Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) program that brings senior U.S. Navy leaders together with their civilian counterparts in local government, corporate, educational, and civic organizations to increase awareness and understanding of the Navy’s mission.

“It is so great to be back here to continue with my partnerships with medical professionals in Billings,” said Case, who had previously visited Montana in 2020 as the Navy’s surgeon general’s executive assistant during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I also want to continue to build on those relationships with the people here so that they have understanding, trust and support for our naval operations, and to help us find the best and brightest people who want adventure and experience along with a fulfilling career.”
 
Case began his visit to the ‘magic city’ of Billings, the moniker earned because of the rapid growth from its founding as a railroad town in March 1882, at city hall where he had the opportunity to speak with Mayor Bill Cole, about the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Billings (LCS 15), the benefits military service provides to America’s youth, and the importance of connectivity with the people the military serves.

Case was joined by NMFL Command Master Chief Zachary Pryor, a native of Glendive, in the visit to his home state.

“It has been very nostalgic returning to Montana,” said Pryor. “I was in 7th grade the last time I was in the state, many yesterday’s ago!”

Case and Pryor also visited with local leaders of medicine, such as the dean of Rocky Vista University, a college that trains medical students – some of which become future military medical officers, and two hospitals – the Billings Clinic and the Intermountain Health-St. Vincent that provides care to 30-plus veterans.
 
“I truly enjoyed being able to talk with our civilian medical partners and see their capabilities in person and compare how both parties conduct operations,” explained Case. “To learn from those differences and similarities is crucial to improvement on both sides.”
 
NMFL leadership met with members of the community to discuss the Navy’s advantages at sea and how we work with the community to achieve that goal. They also participated in a Vietnam Veterans open forum to share stories and experiences with former and current service members.
 
“It is so important for us to continue to build on relationships with our local communities,” stated Case. “Our Navy would not be where it is today without the support of local businesses and civic groups.”
 
The visit came to a climax at the 2023 Yellowstone International Air Show at the Billings-Logan International Airport where Case swore in 30-plus future service members in front of over 15,000 members of the community.
 
“It meant so much to me to share this experience with all these young and intelligent future leaders,” expressed Case. “I wish them the best on their new journey, and I want them to know that they should be proud to serve in the world’s best military.”
 
Overall, the visit provided an opportunity for NMFL leadership to build awareness and understanding among key leaders throughout Billings about why their Navy — America’s Navy — is important to their city, their citizens, their organizations, their economy, and their security as well as deepening, and building connections among its people to further the Navy mission.
 
“It was a great visit with the people of Billings,” concluded Case. “The outpouring of positivity from the community was over-the-top great! It was an honor and privilege to represent the U.S. Navy to the city of Billings and the state of Montana.”

Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (NMFL), headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, delivers operationally focused medical expertise and capabilities to meet Fleet, Marine and Joint Force requirements by providing equipment, sustainment and maintenance of medical forces during combat operations and public health crises. NMFL provides oversight for 21 NMRTCs, logistics, and public health and dental services throughout the U.S. East Coast, U.S. Gulf Coast, Cuba, Europe, and the Middle East.
 
Navy Medicine – represented by more than 44,000 highly-trained military and civilian health care professionals – provides enduring expeditionary medical support to the warfighter on, below, and above the sea, and ashore.
 

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