“Speak Openly and Speak Out!” – A Conversation with The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy

On the show today, The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, the 78th Secretary of the Navy. Dr. Ron Hirschberg and Home Base COO Michael Allard visit the Pentagon and have the opportunity to sit with SECNAV and staff and discuss how great leaders need to know what their troops are going through, they need to be empathic and above all - know that mental health IS health. The SECNAV takes pride in the people - the sailors, marines, reservists and civilians and their families who all make it possible for our Navy and Marine Corps to succeed. Recorded in May, 2023 during "Mental Health Awareness" it was 100% clear that all other 11 months of the year are just as important, and as he reflects on his visit to Home Base, it was an honor to be partners in service to the active duty, veterans and families who need the help. Our own Marine Veteran Jake McCaffrey (Peer Recovery Specialist at Home Base) is interviewed on his strong work in healing others through their recovery, while telling his own story.


Thank you, Secretary Carlos Del Toro, for your service, leadership and for truly caring for the more than 900,000 sailors, marines and civilians who are all part of the US Navy and Marine Corps. It was an honor to have you and your wife visit Home Base and returning the favor at the Pentagon was something we at Home Base will never forget - as you obviously place health and wellbeing at the highest priority. 

Thank you, Marine Veteran and Home Base Peer Recovery Specialist Jake McCaffrey, for your service, and for your candid conversation on life’s challenges and successes. The Home Base team is lucky to have you as someone who can help many others heal in similar struggles…

Special thanks to LT Gabrielle Dimaapi and Chief Shannon Renfroe from Office of the Sec of the Navy for your stewardship and hospitality, and for your ongoing service.


  • The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is free and available 24/7. Calls are confidential, available to any person in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, and supports people calling for themselves or with concern for loved ones.  The Veterans Crisis Line connects Service members and Veterans in crisis, as well as family members or friends, with qualified VA responders through a confidential call, online chat, or text. Veterans can Dial 988 and Press 1 to talk, or text 838255 to connect with a VA responder. And remember, You can make a difference by learning warning signs and knowing the risk factors of suicide Learn more with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, at www.afsp.org

This episode was recorded and edited by Chuck Clough, of Above The Basement Productions.

If you are your loved one is experiencing any emotional, mental health struggles, you are not alone and please contact Home Base at (617) 724-5202, or visit www.homebase.org.

To Donate to Home Base where every dollar goes to the care of veterans and military families that is cost to them, go to: www.homebase.org/donate.

  • Theme music for Home Base Nation: "Rolling the Tree" by The Butler Frogs
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  • The Home Base Nation Team is Steve Monaco, Army Veteran Kelly Field, Justin Scheinert, Chuck Clough, with COO Michael Allard, Brigadier General Jack Hammond, and Peter Smyth.
  • Producer and Host: Dr. Ron Hirschberg
    Assistant Producer, Editor: Chuck Clough
    Chairman, Home Base Media Lab: Peter Smyth

Home Base Nation is the official podcast of Home Base Program for Veterans and Military Families, a partnership of the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox Foundation. To learn more and connect with us at Home Base Nation: www.homebase.org/podcast

The views expressed by guests to the Home Base Nation podcast are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by guests are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Home Base, the Red Sox Foundation or any of its officials.