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A Time for Reflection

by Lt. Gen. James B. Peake, M.D.
Army Surgeon General/Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command

Sept. 11, 2002 . one year from an attack on our homeland, in New York City and into the heart of the Pentagon. One year from moving to a wartime footing on multiple fronts. It has been a year of contribution, selfless service and sacrifice by the members of the Army Medical Department in support of our Army and our nation.

From the heroes and heroines of that first day responding to fellow military and civilians injured in the Pentagon, to the experts from the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command whose skill, organization and credibility served all agencies in the federal response to the anthrax letters. To the forward surgical teams and the 86th Combat Support Hospital who were among the first to deploy in support of the operators in Afghanistan. To the Landstuhl joint team members who have received more than 400 casualties of all services, operated on many, returned many to duty and provided that special continuity for those transferred back to the continental United States.

To the Reserve component individuals who, early, raised their hands to volunteer and augmented the effort. To the U.S. Army Reserve hospitals and forward surgical teams that are in the theater right now. To the land mine injury center of excellence at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

What an incredible story of great men and women, technically and tactically proficient; a story of adaptability to constantly changing conditions.

Sept. 11 is a good time to pause a moment and reflect just how great a nation we, the members of the Army Medical Department, are fortunate to serve.