BUMED’s “Change of Port”

By Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, U.S. Navy Surgeon General

The old U.S. Naval Observatory, on the Hilltop in Foggy Bottom, Washington D.C., the current headquarter of BUMED. (Image from BUMED Office of Medical History)

Shipmates and Colleagues,

There is something I want to convey to all of you that I believe is of the upmost importance, particularly after taking part in the wonderful “Change of Port” ceremony here on the BUMED compound last week.

Thank you again for all those who helped plan the event and for those of you who came out and showed your long-standing pride in this command.

Reflecting on the event though, I think it is important to recognize that it was aptly named as a “Change of Port,” and is a symbolic ceremony representing a physical change of location and nothing more.

BUMED has a long and proud tradition and an eight mile stretch of highway does not change that.  An address is only a geographic location.  It is not what makes BUMED or Navy Medicine great-it is each and every one of you, your dedication, your hard work, and your commitment to our Sailors and Marines to provide them the very best in care and support.

To my BUMED staff, many of you have dedicated years working for this command and I want you to know, you will still work for BUMED even after June 1 whether at the new building in Falls Church or at our BUMED detachment at skyline.  Some things will change with our move, but that will not.

The Defense Health Headquarters is not an entity, it is simply a building.

A building that I believe you all will be quite impressed with once we are able to get through the tough parts of the physical move and work out the inevitable kinks involved with this type of event, but we will together make it through the challenges and embrace our new home, just as we have nurtured our hilltop in Foggy Bottom.

Thank you for your continued service.  As always, it is my honor to serve as your surgeon general in any latitude, sea state, or port.