JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
More than 100 people attended the Naval Medical Research Unit-San Antonio, or NAMRU-SA, change of command ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center's Carolyn D. Putnam Auditorium at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston May 21, where Navy Capt. Gerald DeLong relieved Capt. Andrew Vaughn.
DeLong is NAMRU-SA's sixth commanding officer since the unit was established May 6, 2009.
The ceremony adhered to COVID-19 limitations for social distancing, with dozens more watching live through social media and government-provided streaming services. It featured the hallmarks of Navy customs and tradition, including piping aboard distinguished visitors and the ringing of a bell to render honors for high-ranking officers.
Capt. Adam Armstrong, Naval Medical Research Center commanding officer, presided over the ceremony. NMRC is NAMRU-SA's higher headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. NMRC's higher headquarters is Naval Medical Forces Pacific which is located in San Diego, California.
"With Capt. Vaughn, at the helm, this command has navigated a steady course," said Rear Adm. Tim Weber, Naval Medical Forces Pacific commander, during his remarks as the guest speaker. Vaughn has commanded NAMRU-SA since Aug. 6, 2019.
The medical research and development unit conducts gap-driven combat casualty care, craniofacial, and directed energy research to improve survival, operational readiness, and safety of Department of Defense personnel engaged in routine and expeditionary operations.
NAMRU-SA has more than 100 military and civilian members assigned with offices and workspace at two separate buildings at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. For more than a year, however, NAMRU-SA has operated with much of its staff teleworking to comply with Department of Defense and Joint Base San Antonio guidance.
Weber said NAMRU-SA has met the challenge and excelled.
"Capt. Vaughn delivered high-quality research solutions and well-trained medical experts for the Navy medical mission of providing high-performance teams who project medical power," Weber said.
Among other accomplishments within the last year, NAMRU-SA collaborated with the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and the Air Force's 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, helping to develop an intensive care unit for COVID-19 surge requirements and it assisted operational units with directed energy initiatives.
According to Weber, NAMRU-SA's scientists had secured funding for research initiatives and contributed to medical and dental science knowledge by developing 64 abstracts, 22 journal articles, 20 posters, seven presentations, four technical reports, and four manuscripts that highlighted research findings.
The admiral presented Vaughn with the Legion of Merit, the second such award in a military career that has spanned 30 years, including duty as a Navy line officer and, since 1996, as a medical doctor deployed worldwide.
"There is not enough time for me to mention all of the deserving folks here at NAMRU-San Antonio, each and every one of whom is responsible for this unit's success," said Vaughn moments before reading his orders aloud, thereby relinquishing command to DeLong.
"The bottom line is that it is a team effort," Vaughn said.
Weber then introduced DeLong and said that he is confident that NAMRU-SA will maintain a steady course.
DeLong, a medical service corps officer, previously served as the deputy commander of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia.