GREAT LAKES, Ill. — Navy Nurse Corps Capt. Jeremy J. Hawker assumed command of Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Great Lakes June 1, in a virtual and in-person ceremony at Naval Station Great Lakes, relieving Capt. Thomas J.Nelson.
NMRTC Great Lakes is the command located at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Ill. Hawker will serve as NMRTC Great Lakes commander until July 15, when incoming commander Capt. Chad McKenzie permanently takes over. Hawker, as well as McKenzie, also take on the role of deputy director of Lovell FHCC, which supports both the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs by providing health care to servicemembers – including Navy recruits – military dependents and veterans in southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois.
When NMRTC Great Lakes was established in 2019, the resources of Lovell FHCC that provide medical care and support for Department of Defense beneficiaries were aligned under the management oversight of the Defense Health Agency. While DHA is responsible for health care delivery and business operations, Navy Medicine retains primary responsibility for operational readiness of the Navy and Marine Corps. To complement the transition, Navy Medicine established the co-located NMRTC Great Lakes at Lovell FHCC.
Nelson, a Navy trauma surgeon, assumed command of the FHCC almost two years ago. His next assignment from him is Navy 7th Fleet Surgeon in Japan.
Presiding Officer Navy Medical Forces Atlantic Commander Rear Admiral Darin Via started his remarks by telling Nelson that Navy Medicine “made the right choice sending you here,” to the nation’s only fully integrated federal health care center.
“Captain Nelson not only took command and control of a unique command but also during what I believe has been the most the most complex and most challenging time not only for Navy Medicine but for our entire nation, in the modern history of the world,” Via said.
When the Navy began to face coronavirus in 2019, Navy Medicine’s focus on readiness was challenged. “Under your guidance and leadership, the men and women of NMRTC Great Lakes responded with unbelievable resolve and determination through significant contributions and supportive operational contingencies for COVID operations,” Via continued.
One of the most distinguishing missions under Nelson’s leadership that Via highlighted was the transition of the Restriction of Movement (ROM) mission, to and from, Fort McCoy, Wis. for Recruit Training Command. NMRTC Great Lakes and Lovell FHCC staff, with help from 81 Navy Reserve component and active duty personnel, provided medical care for recruits who were quarantined before starting Boot Camp at RTC, and led the Navy in its recruit training accession. “And we are the only branch of service that maintains that pipeline,” Via said.
Naval Service Training Command Commander Rear Admiral Jennifer Couture, guest speaker, also praised Nelson for his leadership during the pandemic.
“The Navy and I could not have been luckier to have Tom here in command of NMRTC Great Lakes during my rookie season at NSTC, and during this historic pandemic,” Couture said. “Through his leadership, teamwork, character, professionalism, he made an immediate impact on the ability of the Navy to accomplish the vital initial training mission here at Great Lakes, to deliver ready sailors to the fleet … new sailors our shipmates at sea are counting on to arrive medically ready for their arduous duties in places like the South China Sea, the Arabian gulf, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.”
Nelson said while COVID-19 had the potential to negatively affect his command tour, at the same time, the pandemic set the stage for Lovell FHCC’s and NMRTC Great Lakes’ “unprecedented success” in protecting the pipeline of Navy enlisted sailors going to the fleet .
“To my shipmates, uniformed and civilians alike, your efforts shaped Navy’s mitigation strategies for protecting our nation’s newest sailors and recruits so they could man the fleet,” Nelson said. “At the same time, you rose to the task of caring for our most vulnerable beneficiaries from a health care standpoint – our veterans.”
Hawker, who has served as the FHCC and NMRTC Great Lakes executive officer for two years, pledged to continue to strengthen the relationship between the Navy and VA at Lovell FHCC. “Having served as XO, I’ve witnessed the numerous successes of our integrated team, managing complex scenarios through their professional drive and collaboration. As CO, I’m excited to build on the successful foundation already set.”
Prior to coming to Lovell FHCC, Hawker served as the senior nurse executive for Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, where he was critical to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton’s COVID-19 base-wide response and led the command through a successful Joint Commission survey. He has been an ICU nurse and deployed twice aboard USNS Comfort supporting Rescuer/MEDCEUR 02 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was selected for Duty Under Instruction at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where he graduated with honors in 2008 with a graduate degree as a Perioperative Clinical Nurse Specialist. While assigned as the department head of the Perioperative Nursing Department at Naval Hospital Lemoore, Calif., he deployed to NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he served as the Head Air Evacuation Liaison.
The change of command took place at Ross Theater at Naval Station Great Lakes and was live-streamed on the Lovell FHCC Facebook page, where it is available for viewing: https://www.facebook.com/lovellfhcc.
Lovell FHCC is the nation’s only fully integrated VA and Department of Defense health care facility. Lovell FHCC serves veterans alongside service members and their families, at its main hospital in North Chicago, Ill. Veterans also are cared for at Lovell FHCC outpatient clinics in McHenry and Evanston, Ill., and Kenosha, Wis. The FHCC also operates USS Red Rover, USS Osborne and USS Tranquility Recruit Training Command clinics, and Fisher Clinic at Naval Station Great Lakes. Approximately 3,200 Navy, VA civilian employees and civilian contractors work at Lovell FHCC.
|Date Posted:||06.01.2022 17:14|
|Location:||GREAT LAKES, IL, US|
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