DVIDS – News – Naval Medical Forces Pacific Commander Visits the Lone Star State

DVIDS – News – Naval Medical Forces Pacific Commander Visits the Lone Star State


JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Rear Adm. Tim Weber, Naval Medical Forces Pacific commander and the director of the Navy’s Medical Service Corps, visited the Lone Star State to preside over a change of leadership, meet with MSC officers, and visit future Navy Medicine leaders at Joint Base San Antonio, May 19-21.

The main purpose of the trip was for the Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio (NAMRU-SA) change of command, during which Capt. Andrew Vaughn turned over the helm of the Texas-based research lab to Capt. Gerald DeLong during a ceremony May 21. Weber has oversight of all eight of Navy Medicine’s research laboratories, including NAMRU-SA.

In the days leading up to the ceremony, Weber and NMFP Command Master Chief Sean Howe met with the NAMRU-SA team to thank them for being leaders in the scientific community and their relentless pursuit of research-based innovations and breakthroughs, even throughout a pandemic, to increase warfighters’ survivability and make their lives better.

Weber and Howe toured the lab and learned more about the command’s gap-driven basic and applied research, which includes combat casualty care, operational medicine, and craniofacial health and restorative medicine.

Some of NAMRU-SA’s latest innovations include electrospun wound dressings that can be loaded with various medications to prevent infection and promote healing, the use of macrophages for developing a novel antivenom, and research to protect warfighters from directed energy injuries.

“This is my first trip to NAMRU San Antonio, and I am blown away seeing firsthand the research I’ve been hearing about,” said Weber. “This is the pointy end of Navy Medicine’s spear and the science being conducted here is vital, not just to the health and readiness of our warfighters—it’s vital for accomplishing the mission.”

As we learned during the past year battling the pandemic, added Weber, the work that goes on in Navy Medicine’s laboratories is critical to keeping the Navy and Marine Corps team fit to fight and defend our nation at home, on the seas, and wherever duty calls.

In addition to spending time with those leading the way in science while in San Antonio, Weber had two opportunities to speak with up-and-coming MSC officers from across the military services about their role as leaders.

On Wednesday, Weber spoke about developing a personal leadership framework with students at Navy Medicine Training Support Center (NMTSC) enrolled in the U.S. Army-Baylor University Master of Health and Business Administration program and the following day with officers participating in a joint medical planning program at the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute (DMRTI).

After sharing his own framework and how he developed it over time, he told the groups, “I hope you take a few moments to think about your own leadership framework and, as you do this, remember that you are all leaders, regardless of position or rank, and it is incumbent upon all of us to strive each day to accomplish our commander’s intent and do goodness. We are all working together to get the mission done and we are better together.”

Weber and Howe visited the Medical Education and Training Campus on Thursday, which offers 48 medical programs to DoD students, including Hospital Corpsman Basic, also known as “A” school, and several specialized training programs, called “C” schools in the Navy.

In addition to seeing how future surgical and respiratory therapy technologists learn specialized, hands-on skills, Weber and Howe had the opportunity to talk with several instructors who are leading and developing the next generation of hospital corpsmen.

The instructors Weber and Howe met with are tasked with oversight of several skills labs where corpsmen learn the basics of combat casualty care, inpatient care and assessment, IV therapy, and more to build the foundation of critical skills they will refine as they head out into the fleet and to military treatment facilities so they can provide top notch medical care to our warfighters.

After visiting METC, Weber held an admiral’s call for all Navy MSC officers in the area to discuss the state of the Corps and answer any questions. During the gathering, Weber also recognized outstanding leaders within the Navy’s MSC community and presented each with a coin. These officers included:

• Lt. Biagio Mezzasalma, assigned to Naval Medical Forces Support Command, for his work coordinating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for Navy personnel across Joint Base San Antonio

• Lt. Cmdr. Lance Beahm, assigned to NMTSC, for his work maintaining operations for the Inter-Service Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) throughout COVID-19 and helping stand up an East Coast IPAP site for the Navy

• Lt. Asa Schaefer, assigned to DMRTI, for his work as the Temporary Limited Duty (LIMDU) coordinator, supporting Sailors around the globe

• Lt. Neal McNeal, assigned to NAMRU-SA, for his work with casualty care research and selection as the command’s junior officer of the year

• Lt. Javier Lopezcoronado, assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Corpus Christi, for his work as the assistant public health emergency officer (APHEO) during the pandemic, which helped 35 organizations continue their missions by mitigating the public health risks of COVID-19

The trip to Texas wrapped up with the reason for the visit, NAMRU-SA’s change of command. While the ceremony followed Navy tradition, there were a few unique aspects, that were fitting given the lab’s location onboard a U.S. Army installation. One of the sideboys was an Army major and the bell ringer was an Army specialist, both assigned to NAMRU-SA.

“With Capt. Vaughn at the helm, the NAMRU San Antonio team has done an incredible job of delivering high-quality research solutions and products from the bench to the battlefield,” said Weber in his remarks during the ceremony. “You and your outstanding staff should be as proud as I am of all that you have accomplished during the past two years.”

Weber offered Vaughn his gratitude for his leadership and the command’s contributions to the Navy Medicine mission, ensuring the health and operational readiness of our nation’s warfighters.

Throughout the visit to the Lone Star State, the overarching theme was leadership. There were scientists, leading through research, conducting ground-breaking studies to protect our warfighters. There were MSC officers, discussing the importance of developing a framework for leading by finding their why. And there were instructors, leading future medical forces by teaching and fostering the knowledge, skills, and abilities they will need to meet the mission.

No matter who he spoke with, Weber emphasized the importance of leading up and down the chain of command and leading through service—a fitting sentiment for the director of a corps whose middle name is “Service.”

Date Taken: 05.21.2021
Date Posted: 05.25.2021 02:04
Story ID: 397290
Location: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US 

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