USNH Okinawa, Japan Gets New CO

USNH Okinawa, Japan Gets New CO

U. S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan held a change of command ceremony aboard Camp Foster July 18.

Hospital staff and distinguished visitors looked on as Capt. Pius A. Aiyelawo turned command of the Navy’s largest overseas hospital over to Capt. Anne M. Swap in a ceremony at the Camp Foster Theater.

The presiding officer and guest speaker for the event was Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, the Surgeon General of the Navy and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

Distinguished visitors included flag officers and military commanders from Okinawa as well as officials representing the U. S. Consulate, Government of Japan, Okinawa Prefecture, and Japan Self Defense Forces.

Swap, a Medical Service Corps officer, is the hospital’s 19th commanding officer since the facility was commissioned in 1977. She will be the first commanding officer to serve a full tour of duty at the hospital’s new facility on Camp Foster.

Swap’s previous assignment was at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, N. C., where she served as Executive Officer.

During his tour Aiyelawo, also a Medical Service Corps officer, presided over the preparation and execution of the hospital’s historic transition from Camp Lester to Camp Foster. The facility on Camp Foster became operational in the spring of 2013, and the first patient was seen at Camp Foster March 16.

During the ceremony, Aiyelawo received a special award from Rear Adm. Shigeaki Yanagida, Surgeon General and Director of Medicine, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF). Yanagada personally went on stage and presented the award to Aiyelawo in praise of his efforts to establish partnerships, such as a fellowship program for JMSDF medical officers.

“This unique fellowship program creates an environment which not only strengthens the medical readiness of JMSDF and it physicians but also builds excellent bridges between the medical forces of the U. S. Navy and the JMSDF, “said Yanagida.

Aiyelawo will proceed to his new assignment as Deputy Commander, Naval Medicine Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick, Md.

Press Release, July 23, 2013; Image: US Navy