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Mullen Ties Health to Readiness in Latest Podcast

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2009 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted some indirect factors of military readiness today in his latest podcast, also highlighting appreciation for military families and veterans, as well as preventive measures against the H1N1 influenza.

“Readiness isn’t just about training, it’s about health,” Navy Adm. Mike Muillen said in the podcast recorded at the Pentagon with his wife, Deborah.

The Defense Department received the initial doses of the H1N1 vaccine yesterday, and already has started sending it out to installations around the world. But the Mullens said precautions still are necessary.

“Flu season is here, and this year we also need to be ready for the H1N1 virus,” Deborah Mullen said. “Many of the precautions are the same: covering your mouth when coughing, washing your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.”

The H1N1 strain, also known as swine flu, hit the United States in April, and has swept the nation with nearly 5,000 confirmed cases in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to a report released Oct. 27 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of Americans being hospitalized due to the condition has steadily increased every month, with nearly 300 H1N1-related deaths, the CDC report said.

President Barack Obama proclaimed the virus a national emergency Oct. 24. Raising awareness and taking preventive steps against it, outside of receiving the vaccine, can help to reduce the virus’s threat and its spread, the Mullens said.

“Because it’s not just about staying well,” Deborah Mullen said.

“It’s about staying ready,” the chairman added.

The Mullens also offered messages recognizing Veterans Day on Nov. 11 and Military Family Month, observed throughout November.

“We honor you not out of obligation, but rather with a deep sense of pride and gratitude,” the chairman said of military veterans. “You and your families made a difference.”

“Whether you saw combat or not, made the military a career or not, you stood up for you country and for your fellow citizens,” Deborah Mullen added.

Combat readiness is tied to family readiness, the admiral said, and no military member serves alone. Today’s armed forces have the most supportive and combat-ready families he’s seen in his 41 years in uniform, he added.

“Our families don’t just wait and worry,” Deborah Mullen said. “They serve every bit as much as their loved ones.”

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

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