OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Okinawa conducted a change of command ceremony on August 10. Capt. Timothy H. Weber turned over leadership to Capt. Cynthia A. Kuehner.
The presiding officer at the ceremony was Rear Adm. Paul D. Pearigen, commander, Navy Medicine West and chief of the Navy Medical Corps.
"It is a distinct honor and a personal privilege for me to be here today and to take part in this event among American and Japanese partners as we gather to mark this transfer of authority, responsibility, and accountability from one accomplished naval officer to another," said Pearigen.
During the ceremony, Pearigen presented Weber with the Legion of Merit.
During Weber's tenure, he oversaw the successful implementation of the Marine Centered Medical Home at six branch medical clinics, expanded community relations projects and championed the development of Navy Medicine's lone Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training program, annual international Disaster Management and Nursing Symposiums and a Department of Defense recognized suicide prevention program.
Rear Adm. Michiya Sato, surgeon general and director of medicine, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) presented Weber with a letter of commendation from Adm. Yutaka Murakawa, chief of staff, JMSDF.
Distinguished visitors included flag officers and military commanders from Okinawa as well as officials representing Ginowan City, and the Japan Self Defense Forces. The guest speaker for the ceremony was Consul General Joel Ehrendreich from the U.S. Consulate General Naha, who presented Weber with the Consul General's award.
"Through your leadership, the Sailors at US Naval Hospital demonstrated the remarkable ability to take care of yourselves, your shipmates, your families and your neighbors in the community," said Ehrendreich. "Clearly, your work here has put the U.S. Naval Hospital in a real position of leadership in the community. You, and each of your Sailors, have honorably represented this command and the U.S. Navy. You should leave here very proud."
Weber assumed command of USNH Okinawa, the Navy's largest overseas hospital, in June 2015.
In his farewell remarks, Weber praised hospital staff and recognized their efforts in supporting the mission in the Pacific region.
"From a very personal perspective, I have witnessed you perform under the most challenging circumstances, day and night, 365 days a year, and you have always had the watch," said Weber. "Each and everyone one of you ensured that the operational forces were ready to fight tonight. You deployed downrange, you responded to emergencies both on and off Okinawa, you improved our business practices, and you increased our capability to operate with the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, the Japan Self Defense Forces, and our healthcare partners on Okinawa."
Weber will report as chief of staff, Navy Medicine West in San Diego, California.
Kuehner comes to USNHO from Naval Medical Center San Diego where she served as executive officer.
"I already know that I am surrounded by a dedicated staff, both military and civilian, here at Naval Hospital Okinawa," said Kuehner. "All who serve here understand our sacred mission and rich traditions of service and selfless sacrifice."
"I look forward to strengthening the many partnerships established between this Command, our incredible host nation, the honorable people of Okinawa, our brothers and sisters in arms, the United States Marine Corps, and our allied and joint services on the Island."
In her 26-year career, Kuehner has held numerous clinical, operational, and leadership positions at Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California; Branch Medical Clinic Sasebo, Japan; Naval Hospital Corpus Christi, Texas; Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington. Kuehner has also served in leadership roles during operational deployments supporting both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Kuehner, a Nurse Corps officer, is USNH Okinawa's 21st commanding officer since the facility was commissioned in 1977.
U. S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan is the largest overseas military treatment facility in the Navy, serving a beneficiary population of 47,000 active duty personnel, family members, civilian employees, contract personnel, and retirees. The facility also provides referral services for more than 189,000 beneficiaries throughout the western Pacific.
For more news and information about U. S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan, visit www.navy.mil/sites/nhoki or the hospital's official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usnho.
For more news from U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, visit www.navy.mil/local/usnho/.