Skip to main content

Military Health System

New Flag and Patch Symbolize Growth at the Defense Health Agency

Image of Service members from the Army, Air Force and Navy display the new Defense Health Agency patch following a reflagging and repatching ceremony at Defense Health Agency Headquarters in Falls Church. Service members from the Army, Air Force and Navy display the new Defense Health Agency patch following a reflagging and repatching ceremony at Defense Health Agency Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, Aug. 20, 2021. The military tradition of unit and service patches dates to the Civil War and serves as an important symbol of affiliation and pride for members of a unit, service, or organization. The new patch symbolizes the growth and maturity of the agency and the unity of the Defense Health Agency team. (MHS photo by Jaime Chirinos)

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency | Military Health System Transformation | Health Readiness & Combat Support

The Defense Health Agency is unveiling a new organizational flag and seal along with a new patch to be worn by service members assigned to its joint medical billets.

The new symbols are emblematic of the agency’s transformation and the operational role it plays in providing health care to military members and their families across the force and the life-saving medical support for troops deployed overseas.

“The reflagging symbolizes the growth and maturity of our organization,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, the DHA’s senior enlisted leader. 

“It represents the purpose of DHA, which is to generate a medically ready force by providing high-quality health care to our population with a medically competent staff.”

All service members who are assigned to the DHA, regardless of their service affiliation, will wear the DHA patch “to signify the oneness of the agency,” said Gragg.

“It doesn’t matter what service you come from – you will still identify with your service on your left chest – but you will also have an organizational patch on your arm to signify that you belong to this family as well and that you have dual citizenship.”

The new flag, seal and patch will be formally revealed during a ceremony at the DHA headquarters in Virginia, Aug. 20. Watch the ceremony

The unveiling comes as the DHA is completing a congressionally mandated transition to begin overseeing military treatment facilities (MTFs) around the world, which were traditionally managed by the individual services.

At the same time, the DHA is standing up regional markets that will streamline care for beneficiaries by providing greater access to doctors, hospitals, and clinics across the military regardless of the patient’s service affiliation. 

Gragg recalled that when he joined DHA in June of 2020, he felt the organization lacked a traditional military culture. He explained how today’s DHA grew into an operational agency from its origins as the TRICARE Management Agency, which administered military health benefits but did not oversee any military health facilities or health care professionals.

The new Defense Health Agency flag and seal was unveiled at a ceremony on Aug. 20
The new Defense Health Agency flag and seal was unveiled at a ceremony on Aug. 20. (MHS photo)

“The DHA is a military organization that did not realize it was a military organization,” he said. “The overarching DNA of the agency was that of a civilian, business-like agency that was in charge of a benefits plan.”

“We needed to reinforce that we are not a civilian organization doing business – we are a military organization that is in the fight,” he said. 

Since DHA was built from elements of the different service departments, the new flag, seal and patch will help unify the agency as it builds a cohesive culture, he said.

“We needed to act like, look like, and have the traditions of a military organization so that our people can see themselves in us and also realize what we’re here to do,” he said.

The organizational change stems from Section 702 of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which directed DHA to assume responsibility for the administration and management of health care delivery at all MTFs, calling for the establishment of high-performance military-civilian integrated health delivery systems. It’s been a phased, market-based transition that began several years ago.

“It gave us the roles and responsibilities of being a combat support agency and managing the MTFs, but also the elements of public health, research and development, and training of all the medical personnel who go into the Department of Defense,” said Gragg.

He explained he wants “the people inside the agency to realize what we are here to do: We are in support of the National Defense Strategy, and we do that by providing world-class health care.”

Gragg added that the DHA is comprised of “medically ready, medically competent personnel, outside the continental United States and within it, ensuring that our fighting men and women are able to receive the best care whenever they need it, wherever they are.”

Historically, flags have been used as symbols to identify their bearers’ affiliation, particularly in wartime environments where communication is a challenge.

“The flag has been the rallying call to get people on the battlefield moving in the same direction, to understand where the battle lines were,” said Gragg. “This flag does all that, but additionally, signifies the maturity of DHA’s mission, vision, and purpose.”

Like flags, the use of military patches dates to the 1800s, when British military officers wore them to distinguish their rank. In the United States, they were first worn informally by soldiers during the Civil War, and became more common as of World War I.

Meaning of the Flag and Patch

The elements of the new DHA flag and seal were selected to symbolize the unity of individual services’ medical expertise under one umbrella. According to the Department of the Army’s Institute of Heraldry, in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, the symbolism of each element is as follows:

  • The globe represents the health services that DHA provides for U.S. military men, women, and their families around the world.
  • The gold rope and grid lines represent Navy Medicine and its requirement to provide “medical power for naval superiority.”
  • The blue on the shield represents Air Force Medicine and pays tribute to their ability to rapidly reach and render “trusted care, anywhere.”
  • The maroon on the shield represents Army Medicine and its commitment “to conserve the fighting strength.”
  • The eight white stars represent the eight entities served by the Defense Health Agency.
  • The staff of Asclepius is a symbol traditionally associated with military medical units.
  • The motto, “PRO CURA MILITIS,” translates to “the care of the warrior.”

You also may be interested in...

How the U.S. Military Acclimates Units to High-Altitude Operations

Article
11/28/2022
Service members on a mountain

The Military Health System takes measures to prevent and mitigate altitude sickness in service members operating at high altitudes. For best results, it’s key to acclimate units gradually and progressively.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness & Combat Support

DHA Civilian Honored as an ‘Angel of the Battlefield’

Article
11/18/2022
Two men shake hands while a third poses alongside them.

Jacobs, lead paramedic with the 96th Medical Group, Eglin Air Force Base, becomes the first Defense Health Agency civilian employee to receive the award. “It’s an honor and unexpected,” said Jacobs. “I was really surprised.”

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency

Medical Maintenance Sustaining the Warfighter

Article Around MHS
11/1/2022
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Monica Hewey works on ventilator

Biomedical Equipment Technician, or BMET, is one of those little-known career fields in the Air Force, yet it has a big impact on readiness and lethality.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Tactical Medical Augmentation Team Increases Combat Medical Capability

Article Around MHS
10/24/2022
Tactical Medical Augmentation Team Increases Combat Medical Capability

To find a solution to an identified gap in medical care provided in combat situations, the U.S. Air Force 920th Rescue Wing’s Aeromedical Staging Squadron developed the Tactical Medical Augmentation Team, an embedded medical team that will bring a new level of patient care directly to the battlefield.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Readiness Capabilities

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center Holds Town Hall in Advance of DHA Transition

Article Around MHS
10/24/2022
Military personnel speaks at NMCPHS town hall event

The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center held a town hall meeting on Oct. 12 at their Portsmouth, Virginia, headquarters, in advance of their transition to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) Public Health directorate.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Military Health System Transformation

MHS Minute | September 2022

Video
10/12/2022
MHS Minute | September 2022

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency | Military Health System Transformation | DHA Health Care Market Structure

U.S. Army's Regional Health Command-Europe Redesignates to Medical Readiness Command

Article Around MHS
10/11/2022
Military personnel at color ceremony

The U.S. Army is modernizing medical care to provide sustained expeditionary, and tailored medical forces to support the Army against any adversary in joint, multi-domain, high-intensity battlefields of the future and through the next pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Training Marines as Combat Life Savers

Article Around MHS
10/7/2022
Military medical personnel practice lifesaving procedures

U.S. Navy Corpsman from Expeditionary Operations Training Group (EOTG), I Marine Expeditionary Force, hosted the second iteration of Marines training on life saving fundamentals and casualty care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

DHA Turns 9: 'Now Fully Responsible for Health Care Delivery' in DOD

Article
10/6/2022
Four DHA personnel, including DHA Director Place, center, cut a birthday cake with a sword to celebrate DHA's ninth birthday. Oct. 1, 2022.

Defense Health Agency celebrates its 9th year; continues to grow military medical mission.

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency | Military Health System Transformation | Public Health

DHA Region Indo-Pacific Standardizes Medical Readiness and Health Care

Article
9/30/2022
A man speaks into a microphone on a podium

DHA establishes DHA Region Indo-Pacific on Sept. 27.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | Defense Health Agency Region Indo-Pacific

MSMR Vol. 29 No. 09 - September 2022

Report
9/1/2022

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Surveillance trends for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens among U.S. Military Health System Beneficiaries, Sept. 27, 2020 – Oct. 2,2021; Establishment of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance within the MHS during March 1 – Dec. 31 2020; Suicide behavior among heterosexual, lesbian/gay, and bisexual active component service members in the U.S. Armed Forces; Brief report: Phase I results using the Virtual Pooled Registry Cancer Linkage system (VPR-CLS) for military cancer surveillance.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

Mental Health Office Helps AUAB Members Maintain Readiness

Article Around MHS
8/30/2022
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Melissa Leonardo smiles for photo

Comprehensive Airman Fitness is comprised of physical, social, spiritual and mental fitness. Being physically fit to fight and maintaining a war fighter spirit are crucial to completing the mission.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Spiritual Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Depression | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Anxiety | Stress | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Mental Health is Health Care

Technology and Medicine: The Digital Age of Health Care

Article
8/26/2022
Photo of an afternoon panel of four people

Technology is transforming health care and incorporating new elements for providers in their practices.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | MHS GENESIS: The Electronic Health Record | Health Care Technology | Defense Health Information Technology Symposium

Bulgarian Armed Forces Demonstrate Combat Medical Advancements

Article
8/22/2022
Two medics tend to a dummy in a simulated emergency.

Bulgarian Armed Forces showed off their combat lifesaving training to a U.S. delegation Aug. 10.

Recommended Content:

Education & Training | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

Corpsman Care during Atlantic Ocean ops on MSC ship

Article Around MHS
8/4/2022
Military medical personnel performing emergency surgery

There’s a reason why U.S. Navy independent duty corpsmen are found assigned on isolated platforms from the wide expanse of the Indo-Pacific Theater to the far reaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Global Health Engagement
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 47
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 20, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery