CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (NNS) -- Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi Command Master Chief (Surface Warfare/Fleet Marine Force) Rikki Lynn Brown bid farewell Dec. 1.
Command Master Chief (Surface Warfare/Fleet Marine Force) Rikki Lynn Brown, front and center for the very last time at Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi, conveyed a bittersweet farewell to her military and civilian family amidst laughter, some tears and several hearty rounds of applause in the Crew's Lounge Dec. 1.
Brown, from Conroe, Texas, had served as CMC since June 12, 2014, and was responsible for popularizing the word, 'ohana' at NHCCC.
Part of Hawaiian culture, ʻohana' means family. The concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another.
During Brown's initial message to the staff after becoming CMC at NHCCC, she reinforced family unification and underscored patient service.
"We are a family," said Brown. "We rely on each other, and we help each other just like we would any of our own immediate family. I want you to enjoy what you do, and I want you to reflect our pride in the service to our country and to our patients when you meet and care for those who serve and those who have served."
NHCCC Commanding Officer, Capt. Miguel A. Cubano, recalled meeting Brown for the first time.
"When I met CMC during the Surgeon General's conference, I was seated next to her, all of the files in front of me were in order, and she said, 'Skipper, you're safe right here and I'm going to take care of you.' I knew at that moment that no matter what, things were going to be okay," said Cubano.
As the CMC, Brown served as the primary liaison between over 487 staff members providing the highest quality healthcare to more than 13,000 beneficiaries throughout the Texas area of responsibility. She also served as the commanding officer's senior enlisted advisor, often called upon to gauge morale and battle readiness.
Cubano said he admired Brown's concern for the staff.
"She often told me, 'they are my Sailors, they are my people,'" said Cubano.
"And I believe for those of you planning on becoming something in this life, not only in the Navy, but throughout your life, then you should take a look at her life because the key thing is caring for others - not caring for yourself - but caring for others first," said Cubano. "So for that I am really grateful, and I've learned a lot from Master Chief Brown."
Brown reported to NHCCC in December 2013, after serving for three years aboard USS New Orleans (LPD 18), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock where she mentored 284 enlisted Sailors and junior officers. There she earned her Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist insignia and qualified as Combat Information Center Watch Officer.
Prior to being selected as the CMC, Brown served as the senior enlisted leader of NHCCC's Director for Health Services (DHS), a directorate that encompasses Medical Home Port, Operational Medicine, General Dentistry, Optometry and Audiology, and Behavioral Health.
Brown's other naval assignments have included Naval Hospital Corpus Christi, Texas; 1st Marine Logistics Group; Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton; Field Medical Training Battalion, West; Naval Hospital Balboa, San Diego, California; and Recruit Training Command, Orlando, Florida.
In 2002, Brown deployed for a year to Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where she served with Charlie Surgical Company.
During her farewell remarks, Brown said that 'goodbyes' are the most difficult aspect of Navy life.
"Every one of you has touched my life in one way or another - every single one of you," said Brown. "And when we talk about the Navy, and we talk about the [challenges] that go along with it, and you're like, 'Oh yeah, I'm ready to go!' Well, I'm ready to go, but I'm not ready to leave my people. Because it's the people that make the place. It's the people that you meet that become your family. Thank you for becoming part of our 'ohana' and believing in what we do."
"It's been an absolute privilege to lead, and I don't take it lightly," said Brown. "I'm a better person for having you in my life. So thank you all very much. This family I will see again without a doubt!"
Brown's follow-on assignment is at Navy Medicine Training Support Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (Surface Warfare/Air Warfare) Raymond P. Manahan will serve as senior enlisted leader until Brown's replacement reports in February 2018.
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