BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Navy Medicine welcomed a new force master chief and director of the Hospital Corps during a change of charge ceremony held at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda (WRNMMCB), Oct. 5.
Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Laura A. Martinez, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) was relieved by Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Sherman E. Boss, formerly the command master chief at Navy Medicine National Capital Area and WRNMMCB.
"Thank you for being the force behind the force," said Martinez. "Our successes and challenges are too numerous to list, but today with each of you I celebrate the successes and I know as I leave you will continue to work the challenges with the same dedication and passion you've always shown."
U.S. Navy Surgeon General, Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson presided over the ceremony. In his remarks, Robinson discussed the importance of commitment and service.
"This change of charge ceremony today reflects the ethos of honor, courage, and commitment," said Robinson. "The ethos that we have a selfless service that we must provide to every man and woman that we call Shipmate and anyone who we work with is our shipmate, no matter whether they are civilian, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. I absolutely ask you to continue to focus on serving others and on providing patient and family-centered care."
Robinson reflected on Martinez's accomplishments as being a vital part of Navy Medicine's history. In particular, he highlighted Martinez's role in the establishment of the Medical Enlisted Training Campus (METC), San Antonio, Texas, and the legacy she will leave behind.
"Martinez focused on putting the Sailor first," said Robinson. "Through her hard work, sacrifice, and dedication, countless young men and women will be educated and trained at METC in the coming decades who will then go on to provide medical support around the world to our men and women in the air, at sea, on land, and on the battlefield."
As a time honored tradition during the ceremony, Martinez transferred the cutlass to Boss, representing the official change of charge.
During her remarks, Martinez said words of encouragement to Boss as he also takes over as the director of the Navy Hospital Corps.
"The state of the Hospital Corps is strong," said Martinez. "Nearly six out of ten prospective Sailors in recruiting stations ask to be a Hospital Corpsman and wear the caduceus of the Corps. I am certain with your leadership and dedication, you will successfully guide and serve the most decorated Corps in the U.S. Navy."
After receiving the cutlass from Martinez, Boss addressed all hands for the first time in his new role.
"Right now, I stand in awe of greatness," said Boss. "I make a promise to you to focus on the Sailor, and focus on the mission. I look forward to the tasks that lie ahead."
Boss, a Florida native, with more than 28 years in his naval career, has served during multiple tours and comes with many distinguished awards. Most recently, Boss has played a significant role as command master chief during the BRAC integration of Walter Reed Army Medical Center Washington, D.C., and the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., into WRNMMCB.
Martinez's 32-year naval career will culminate with a retirement ceremony held Friday, Oct. 7 at the WRNMMCB Memorial Auditorium where she will receive the Legion of Merit award.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
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