GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Staff, family, friends and distinguished guests watched as Capt. John C. Nicholson relieved Capt. David Jones as commanding officer of U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay and Joint Medical Group Joint Task Force Guantanamo, during a ceremony held at Campos Circle, June 29.
Approximately 100 guests attended the time-honored Navy tradition, presided over by Rear Adm. Anne Swap, commander, Navy Medicine East.
Swap praised Jones' leadership and outstanding performance and reinforced that he was leaving a proud legacy and a strong foundation for the continued success of pride, professionalism and commitment for U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay.
"Capt. Jones, congratulations on your successful command tour and well done," Swap said.
Swap presented Jones with the Legion of Merit on behalf of Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery for outstanding services and achievements as the U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay commanding officer.
Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, echoed the outstanding contributions by Jones.
"You were consistently able to lead both your teams through a complex web of command relationships and requirements, and keep them focused on what was important: to provide the best possible care and treatment," said Cashman.
During Jones' two-year tour, U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay achieved and sustained the highest individual medical readiness of all medical treatment facilities in Navy Medicine East - a region that spans the eastern hemisphere. This ensured that more than 96 percent of active duty staff on the island were healthy, ready, and on the job. Underscoring the delivery of outstanding, safe, quality care, Capt. Jones and his team attained four major accreditations and certifications including the Joint Commission re-accreditation; National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Level III recognition for all Medical Home Port teams - the highest designation possible; the Navy Surgeon General's Blue H award for health promotions; and re-certification with the Armed Forces Blood Program.
"Let me start with my sincerest thanks to the dedicated military, civilian, contractors and foreign nationals from Naval Hospital and Joint Medical Group active and reserve components for making this the best job I've ever had," Jones said. "It has been my honor and privilege to serve with you."
Before releasing his authority to Nicholson, Jones officially recognized Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Conchetta Dixon, Hospitalman Erica Barnes and Hospitalman Suriel Cruz by announcing they were selected for meritorious advancement. As they stood, Jones invited the crowd to join him in congratulating the trio by applause.
Nicholson, a Medical Corps officer, U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay and Joint Medical Group Joint Task Guantanamo's newest commanding officer, most recently served as executive officer of U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.
"To the crews of Naval Hospital and Joint Medical Group, I am honored and humbled to be your new skipper. I look forward to serving you and working alongside with you as we meet head on the many requirements and challenges of our missions," he said.
Swap and Cashman both expressed their utmost confidence in Nicholson's abilities to build on the proud legacy set by Jones.
U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay embraces providing world-class care by maintaining a reputation for sustaining one of the highest patient satisfaction rates of any military treatment facility in the Navy. The patient population of approximately 5,500 includes contractors, detainees, foreign nationals, government civilian employees, migrants, military and special category residents.
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