JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. (Army News Service, Dec. 15, 2015) -- "I was there [in Afghanistan] to witness her performance, and it was incredible. There are many, many lives today that would not be living without the efforts of Patty Horoho," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said.

Milley spoke during a special retirement review in honor of Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, the 43rd Army surgeon general, here at Conmy Hall.

While deployed to Afghanistan, Horoho saved lives through improvements to tactical combat casualty care, medevac procedures, getting needed care during the critical "golden hour" following wounds or injuries, tele-behavioral health, resiliency training, encouraging sleep discipline, looking after women's health, health records improvements, and much more, Milley said.

Following her deployment, she was the first woman, and the first non-physician in any service to serve as a surgeon general, "and that's an amazing achievement," Milley said.

Horoho received a direct commission from the University of North Carolina as a nurse.

As surgeon general, and throughout her career, Horoho epitomized the best qualities of Army leaders, the chief said. She has had a reputation for breaking down barriers, increasing collaboration, innovativeness, upholding moral and ethical values and team building. She accomplished every mission given her.

She's also a leader of great character and compassion, Milley added, saying these characteristics are "the embodiment of what I expect in all our senior leaders."

ACCOMPLISHED SURGEON GENERAL

The job of surgeon general is a big one, Milley said. She's tasked with providing health and medical services to some 1.8 million Soldiers from all components, retirees and all their Families.

Besides that, she's "dual-hatted," commanding the U.S. Army Medical Command and its vast network, covering five continents, he added.

As surgeon general, Horoho significantly increased readiness and resilience, with her emphasis on sleep, activity and nutrition, which forms what's termed the Performance Triad, he said.

Besides that, she's delivered proactive Army medicine and health care and her warrior care effort has resulted in about 45 percent of sick, ill or wounded Soldiers on the road to recovery and back in a duty status, he said.

She's also collaborated with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help reduce medical board process time required for transitioning Soldiers, he said.

In sum, "she puts meaning into taking care of troops and their Families more than any person I know," Milley said.

SERVICE, RELATIONSHIPS, TRUST

Horoho said the Army is fortunate to have great leaders who are selfless, committed and serve with honor.

Three words best sum up why the Army is great, she said: "service, relationships and trust."

She said she's been blessed to have a great life, career and Family, along with her "brothers and sisters in arms."

Milley noted that her husband, Ray, is a retired Army colonel and since retiring, he's been a good supporting spouse and has volunteered his time to help Soldiers and their Families.

The Horohos have two children, Maggie, who is pursuing an FBI career, and John, an Army cadet at the College of Charleston, who will be commissioned next year. Milley presented John his mother's second lieutenant bars.

For her 33 years of distinguished service, Milley awarded Horoho the Distinguished Service Medal.

Notable guests included former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki and Ann Campbell, wife of Gen. John Campbell, the commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Milley said it was fitting that the ceremony took place here, as Fort Myer has had a rich medical history, dating back to the Civil War, when battlefield hospitals on post took care of the sick and wounded.

In all, some 85 hospitals were built throughout the Washington, D.C. area during the Civil War, including Walter Reed, which Horoho once commanded, he noted.

In conclusion, Milley said Horoho has been "a transformational leader focused on improving care and reforming the entire Army medical system; from health care delivery to patient care to a proactive system of health."