Richardson Assumes Command of Naval Medical Logistics Command

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Story by Julius Evans on 09/01/2017
Capt. Tim Richardson assumed command of Naval Medical Logistics Command (NMLC), relieving Capt. Mary Seymour in a ceremony held on Fort Detrick, Maryland on Aug. 25.

The ceremony was well attended by friends and family members from as far away as Italy and Alaska to Tennessee and elsewhere from around the United States. Richardson said he had more than 40 friends and family members in the audience to watch him assume command. The auditorium was at capacity as guests were seated and the official party was piped in by the honor Bos'n.

Seymour leaves in her wake a legacy that dates back to 2009, when she served as NMLC's executive officer. In 2011, she departed to complete a year in the grueling National War College, earning her second master's degree, this one in national security strategy. She then returned to NMLC in 2013 as commanding officer. At the conclusion of her tenure, the command is ripe with pristine successes and measurable accomplishments.

Seymour steered the command through periods of financial austerity with such skill and precision that NMLC's reputation was elevated to that which it enjoys today. She led an unprecedented medical equipment initiative that remains unmatched. With the most unique role in the United States Navy, according to a senior Bureau of Medicine and Surgery flag officer, NMLC ensures that all forces afloat and Military Treatment Facilities around the globe have on-hand the world-class medical equipment necessary to treat the nation's warfighters and their family members. Seymour made sure of that.

The ceremony was solemn, as one might expect, since the command was losing its long-time champion and its biggest cheerleader. The first speaker punctuated that atmosphere when she gave her opening remarks.

Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, Commander, Navy Medicine Education Training, and Logistics Command, San Antonio, Texas, was the ceremony's presiding officer. Prior to her comments, she asked that the audience pause for a moment of silence in honor of the 10 fallen Sailors of USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), the guided-missile destroyer that collided with a merchant vessel in waters near Singapore while approaching the city for a routine port visit.

During McCormick-Boyle's comments, she reflected on the command's many successes under Seymour's leadership.

"NMLC's footprint and responsibilities touch all aspects of the Navy Medicine enterprise at home, abroad, in clinics, in hospitals, on ships, on planes, on submarines and on land. From making eyeglasses to ensuring Sailors can see what lays ahead, to procuring and managing large equipment sets so that Sailors might be ready for what lays ahead. Members of the NMLC Team and the AOR team, are where it matters when it matters," she said. "The scope of your responsibilities and fiduciary stewardship is amazing. And your commitment to service and the agility with which you execute your mission is nothing short of breathtaking."

She continued to praise Seymour and the command, and then she invited the keynote speaker to greet the guests and provide comments.

Rear Adm. Terry Moulton, deputy surgeon general and deputy chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Falls Church, Virginia, welcomed the distinguished guests as well as family members and the NMLC workforce. He then described some of the significant successes for which Seymour was recognized as having achieved.

"Your leadership led to the execution and procurement of more than $2 billion in personal service and non-personal service contracts, providing more than 15,000 full-time equivalent health care workers," he said. "NMLC has been the face of Navy Medicine during the transition of shared services to the Defense Health Agency. This liaison has saved the Defense Department millions of dollars."

Moulton continued to share key milestones in Seymour's time as commanding officer before welcoming Richardson.

"Today, the mantle of command will be given to Capt. Richardson. He is well prepared for this assignment," Moulton said. "He has had a successful career that led him to today. Capt. Richardson, you are inheriting an experienced, knowledgeable and capable crew. I have every confidence that with your outstanding leadership skills, your passion and stellar track record, you will be able to take on the task of command and continue to push Naval Medical Logistics Command to even greater heights."

As the attention returned to Seymour, she took the podium and prepared to say her final goodbye to her crew, her officers and to the civilian workforce, some of whom had supported her throughout the entire time she was at NMLC. Many have served from the time she was the executive officer until the closing moments of the ceremony, when she would depart for the final time. While she stood steady during the majority of her speech, at one point, it was evident that saying goodbye carried an emotional weight that could not be hidden.

She acknowledged the three executive officers who served under her command and quipped, "It's not because I go through them quickly. It's just that I've been here a long time." She acknowledged Capt. Edward Sullivan, Capt. Michael Kemper and Cmdr. Steve Aboona, and said they were among the finest officers with which she had ever served. She recognized her family and the support they have given her over the years. And she praised the staff that has served with her, ensuring Navy Medicine achieved its role of ensuring patients are first.

Seymour routinely touted the importance of knowing the why,' and she asked her staff to answer that question. When you can answer why you do what you do, she would say, it's easier to remain focused on the mission of providing patient-centered logistics solutions for military medicine.

After reminiscing about the journey she had traveled throughout the years, she prepared to turn the reigns over to Capt. Richardson by reading her orders.

With that, Richardson greeted the audience and shared a few brief comments, then each captain faced one another and offered a crisp salute. "I stand ready to be relieved, sir," Seymour said. Richardson replied, "Capt. Seymour, you are relieved."

With those words, Richardson assumed the duties as commanding officer, Naval Medical Logistics Command.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the United States Navy Ceremonial Brass Ensemble softly played the Navy Hymn, Eternal Father while Lt. Cmdr. Matthew DeShazo gave a poignant benediction that resonated with everyone there.

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