General William H. Gourley Federal Outpatient Clinic: A Joint Va-Dod Health Care Facilityby Representative Sam Farr
Posted on 2013-11-18
FARR. Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Congresswoman Davis,
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of, obviously, the legislation I have authored, but I really appreciate the statements that have been made here about General Gourley. He was a very special human being--tall- statured, an incredible soldier, and a retiree who kind of brought together the retiree community of the military along the entire Monterey Peninsula.
We still have nine military missions, including the Naval Postgraduate School, the Defense Language Institute, at which all the languages of the world are taught, the Manpower Development Center, Fort Hunter Liggett, Camp Roberts, and so on. So we have a lot of military there.
He recognized that not only did the Active Duty soldiers--men and women in uniform who have a clinic at the Defense Language Institute-- have to live off of TRICARE but, really, so did their spouses and children. A lot of the doctors in the community wouldn't accept TRICARE because the reimbursement rates were so low. So here were underserved populations. There was a widow population of military retirees, who, after the base closed and the hospital closed and where there was space available, they weren't really familiar with how to use TRICARE or how to find TRICARE doctors. There was the Active Duty military, and then there was this incredible veterans community. So, for the first time in the history of this country, we got the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense together, and we decided that they ought to plan a clinic.
General Gourley was so instrumental in getting that sort of one-stop, proud-to-serve opportunity to be in the design of a building and in the operation of a building, and it was no small task because all of these agencies want to be joined. I always remind people that you can't be a veteran without having walked through the Department of Defense first. In the old days, when you left the Department of Defense, then you had to find your way. You had to find your papers and get them all transferred and do all of this heavy lifting, and there was always bureaucracy and a loss of papers and a loss of stuff. So this one-stop system, which we all think is much more cost-effective and a proud way to say ``thank you'' to those who serve, is really going to be implemented in this brand new clinic on which we just broke ground on Veterans Day, a week ago.
From my seat on the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee, I have learned that we really need to find this unity. When we had found it, it had always been advocated by General Gourley. Unfortunately, he passed away a couple of years ago, but just before he passed away, I was able to do an oral interview with him to archive in the Library of Congress because Congress has developed this oral history archive. I would urge all of my colleagues in Congress to take part in doing these interviews with veterans and to archive their experiences.
General Gourley served in many, many places in this country. He was always a leader and was outspoken. He was critical of things that needed to be criticized. When he was head of the War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, he insisted that soldiers couldn't go to class unless they brought their wives, so that those spouses would come to understand that the Army mindset, in the form of a greater bond within the family, is a shared duty and a shared sacrifice. In that sense of unity, he always used to say, ``Leave a better Army.'' Leave it better than you found it.
I think he left this world a lot better than he found it. One way the community would like to pay tribute to him for his using his retirement to continue to bring this collaboration and this ``thinking outside the box'' together is to name this new clinic after him. He [[Page H7167]] would be so proud. I was at his burial at Arlington National Cemetery in 2008. In honor of his lifetime of service to our country, to our troops, to our veterans, I am really proud to have introduced this bill, which is to name the clinic after this American hero. I am proud to have been his friend, and I ask your support in passing the bill.