MARINE CORPS AIR GOUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif -- A traditional Navy change-of-command ceremony was held at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital Aug. 4 as Capt. Mark Boman relieved Capt. Robert J. Engelhart as the hospital’s commanding officer.
More than 200 people were in attendance, including guests and most of the hospital and Adult Medical Care Clinic staff, except for emergency personnel who remained on duty.
“As a regional commander, this is a super day because I get to pick up a new, extremely capable commanding officer and I get to have a great guy join my staff,” said Rear Adm. Brian G. Brannman, commander, Navy Medicine West. “Captain Engelhart is one of those iconic figures inside of the medical department.
“The Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital here has a big name to live up to,” continued Brannman as he addressed the crowd. “Bob Bush was one of the great heroes of our nation. And this command in every way epitomizes his self-sacrifice and his dedication to his duty.”
During the ceremony, Engelhart was awarded a Legion of Merit medal for his “exceptionally meritorious service” as he led the hospital since taking commanding in November 2003. His award citation made special note of his leadership through numerous inspections and certifications, especially the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, a first for any Department of Defense facility.
Engelhart took the podium to address his crew for the last time in formation and gathered guests before he moved on to the staff of Navy Medicine West in San Diego.
“For nearly three years I have been the luckiest person in the world,” he said. “You represent Navy medicine: world class; anytime; anywhere. The crew is what brings the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital to life. Without them, this would just be another building.
“Today, I turn the conn over to Captain Boman,” continued Engelhart, who enlisted as a Navy Corpsman in 1968. Very soon Captain Boman will be the luckiest man in the world. He will serve as your commanding officer here at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital.”
Engelhart said he knows his crew will continue to fulfill their ongoing commitments to patient care, safety, leadership and enthusiasm in all that they do.
After the reading of official orders and a friendly handshake, Boman stepped up to the podium to address his new crew for the first time as their commanding officer.
“Although I have only been onboard for a week, my brief interactions with patients and staff have convinced me that the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital is the hospital of choice,” said Boman. “To the staff; I look forward to serving with and for you.”
Boman had his son, Robert, and nephew, Sean join him to pin on his command ashore pin, signifying his appointment as the facility’s commander.
Engelhart leaves the Naval hospital here to join Brannman’s staff at Navy Medicine West.