Our Navy Family Moving Forward: Strong, Resilient, Caring  

By The Honorable Dennis V. McGinn and Vice Adm. William D. French
Washington Navy Yard Recovery Task Force

Shortly after the tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard, Secretary Ray Mabus established the Washington Navy Yard Recovery Task Force. We take the time now to reflect on the past year.

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On Sept. 16th, we will gather together to pause and remember our fallen shipmates, to reflect on a day when our resolve was challenged, our sense of safety robbed. As we reflect over the year that’s passed since the tragic Navy Yard shooting, we recognize the need to remember those we lost and the need to move forward. We still have a mission to return our NAVSEA family to the Washington Navy Yard and we want to ensure they are taken care of every step of the way. As we mark this anniversary, we remain sensitive to the needs and concerns of our work force.

A month after the tragic events of September 16, 2013, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus established this task force to direct and lead a Navy-wide effort to restore all commands and personnel affected by the tragedy to full mission capability.

To accomplish this, the task force created a comprehensive plan for infrastructure restoration while providing for the physical and behavioral health care needs of all individuals affected by the tragedy, overseeing the recovery of personal effects from the crime scene and providing temporary spaces for displaced commands.

Immediately following the tragedy, the Navy established a Joint Recovery Team (JRT) – a unique team of representatives from Federal Occupational Health (FOH), Navy Medicine and chaplains – to assist our Navy civilians, service members and contractors.  The Team was positioned to provide initial counseling in the workplace and to facilitate referrals to an appropriate provider for those desiring additional mental health services. The Navy also worked with both Navy Medicine and FOH to offer those most closely affected an opportunity to receive additional behavioral health assessment.  Since Sept. 16, approximately 10,000 people have been assisted and received the care they needed. A number of support activities are providing continuing and enduring care.

Our top priority remains caring for all affected by the tragedy. We are a resilient force, one that is strong and focused on the mission ahead. Our next steps are to return NAVSEA headquarters to the Washington Navy Yard and to find the right time to transition the Task Force’s activities to more enduring efforts within permanent Navy organizations. We are grateful for the support of our surrounding communities. Although it’s time for us to move forward, we are not yet completely healed. But with time and continued support, we continue to look forward to the future.

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Our Navy Family Moving Forward: Strong, Resilient, Caring