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Navy Capt. Jay C. Sourbeer, former commanding officer, Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, reads his orders during his change of command and retirement ceremony at the hospital May 29, 2015. In the Navy, it is customary for both the oncoming and off going commanders to read their orders during a change of command ceremony. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

Combat Center bids farewell to NHTP commanding officer

29 May 2015 | Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Sourbeer has served as the commanding officer for Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms since 2012 and is being relieved by Navy Capt. John A. Lamberton. Throughout Sourbeer’s 34-year career, the Navy captain served in various roles within the naval medical field to include Emergency Department Head for both 3rd Marine Division and Branch Naval Hospital Sigonella, Italy; family practice staff at Naval Hospital Rota, and the White House physician in 2003.

“There is sadness in departing from such a beautiful location because of the wonderful people here,” Sourbeer said. “But I like to [remember] the joy I feel for all the opportunities I’ve had and the people I’ve been blessed to work with.”

During the change of command ceremony, remarks about each Navy captain and the overall state of the hospital were made by Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham, Medical Corps, United States Navy Commander, Navy Medicine West.

“Today would be the day to honor the accomplishments of the departing and retiring ‘skipper’, and an outstanding team who have realized his visions with their hard work and commitment to excellence,” Gillingham said. “Today is also about welcoming a new leader, one with fresh ideas and the energy required to drive this facility and its staff to higher levels of achievement.”

Afterward Lamberton and Sourbeer read their orders. Sourbeer was formally relieved when, while saluting one another, Lamberton said “I relieve you.” Lamberton previously served as the Executive Naval Officer for U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella, Italy.

“There is a legacy of health care delivery that has brought us together,” Lamberton said. “As the men and women of [NHTP] bring together their collective knowledge, care and skills, we must also remember to care for each other and help improve on those facets of health care. I look forward to serving as their commanding officer.”

During the retirement ceremony, gifts were presented to Sourbeer as well as his wife and two sons. It concluded with a flag ceremony, in which the American flag was passed from naval officers of each rank Sourbeer had attained throughout his career. He will be reporting to the Navy Experimental Dive Unit in Panama City, Florida, on retired retain orders.

“Having served here, I will take a greater appreciation of the importance of trying to help the people who work with me in all facets of their lives,” Sourbeer said. “I started with the Marine Corps and I’m getting to finish with the Marine Corps and I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than that.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms