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JBSA News
NEWS | May 31, 2023

Naval Medical Forces Support Command welcomes new commander

Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

Navy Capt. Walter D. Brafford relieved Rear Adm. Cynthia A. Kuehner as commander, Naval Medical Forces Support Command, in a ceremony at the historic Quadrangle at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston on May 25, 2023.

Rear Adm. Anne Swap, Director, National Capital Region Market, presided over the ceremony, while Army Lt. Gen. John P. Evans Jr., U.S. Army North commanding general, was the guest speaker.

Brafford thanked the staff for their hard work and dedication and outlined his expectations for the path ahead.

“We are tasked with an important mission of developing and delivering education and training across the enterprise,” Brafford said. “I know that you will continue to perform as true professionals, continue to excel, and bring it every day!”

Brafford, a native of southwest Missouri, previously served as the lead for the Commander’s Action Group at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, or BUMED, in Falls Church, Virginia. He previously was the commanding officer of the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Annapolis, Maryland. On April 14, 2023, Brafford became the 40th Dental Corps Chief. He is the first dental officer to serve at NMFSC’s helm since the command was established in San Antonio in July 2012.

As commander, Brafford will oversee and manage all medical training, education and instruction to produce competent medical personnel. He will also oversee four Echelon IV commands and their subordinate units where Navy Medicine Sailors continue to receive exceptional training to meet the operational requirements of the Force. This training occurs even while simultaneously maintaining technical specialties that require continuous modification to adapt to emerging technologies, improved healthcare delivery methods and new operational requirements.

In her remarks, Swap spoke about the seamless transition from Kuehner to Brafford.

“We depend on this command to ensure Navy Medicine has well-trained medical professionals to execute our mission of force development, force generation and force preservation,” said Swap. “I can think of no worthier – and no more capable successor — than Capt. Walter Brafford. Like [Rear Adm. Kuehner], he is a leader with high expectations and a proven track record.”

As senior commander of JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Evans hosted the change of command ceremony at his command headquarters. During his and Kuehner’s time serving together as senior leaders of their respective services, the two had developed a genuine friendship.

“She has absolutely wrapped herself around this community, she, and [her husband] Carl. They have been incredible members of this joint group of people we have here in ‘Military City, USA’ and Joint Base San Antonio,” he said. He highlighted details of her service history and concluded, “It will be our great loss as a military service as the Navy and certainly as a member of our joint community when you hang up your hat.”

Kuehner, a native of Fort Rucker, Alabama, assumed duties as commander in August 2020. She also served as the 26th Director of the Navy Nurse Corps.

She spoke of NMFSC’s mission, highlighting the role of each subordinate command and thanking their leadership. In closing remarks, she stated, “Naval Medical Forces Support Command proper, what a whirlwind these last three years have been for me! I arrived in the COVID cloud, and it persisted way too long for all of us. Your ability to drive through, adapt to the rollercoaster of ever-changing force health protection requirements and achieve results have been an eye-watering feat.”