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New leader takes charge of Naval Branch Health Clinic

By Marti Gatlin | | February 10, 2011

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Lt. Cmdr. Charles H. Goodson took over the helm of the Naval Branch Health Clinic Friday during a Change of Charge Ceremony at the clinic, here.

Goodson, a member of the Navy’s Nurse Corps, relieved Cmdr. Chidi U. Ekenna-Kalu, a member of the Navy’s Medical Service Corps.

The ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally restates, to the officers and enlisted personnel of the command, the continuity of the authority of command, according to information provided by the Navy about the ritual.

Conducted before the assembled company of the command, the change of charge passed when Goodson rendered a salute to Ekenna-Kalu and said “Commander Ekenna-Kalu I relieve you.” Ekenna-Kalu returned the salute and said “Lieutenant Commander Goodson I stand relieved.”

She repeated she stood relieved to Capt. Lynn E. Welling, commanding officer, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla., who presided over the ceremony. The health clinic falls under his command.

After Welling replied, “very well,” Goodson saluted and told Welling he was ready to assume the responsibilities of officer-in-charge of the Naval Branch Health Clinic, Albany.

Welling returned the salute and said “very well,” thus completing the symbolic change of charge.

Welling spoke about the Navy’s roots, purpose and passion during the ceremony. He noted the health clinic represents the Navy/Marine Corps warfighting team and the clinic’s mantle was passed between two great warriors.

“Today, in the Change of Charge ceremony, we are providing one of the most important ceremonial pieces of our heritage,” he said. “We are transferring power. We are transferring authority and responsibility in an orderly fashion. (This) lets all of the staff know, all of our families know who is in charge, who is responsible, who bears the burdens for taking care of our heroes.”

The commanding officer said he was convinced Goodson “is ready to put all of his skills, his efforts and all of his passion into taking the clinic to the next step to provide the highest, safest, quality health care we owe our warriors and our families. Welcome to the leadership team.”

Welling praised Ekenna-Kalu’s leadership as well as the health clinic’s staff for its daily efforts.

“Just the simple fact that we have a slew of green uniforms in the crowd today we know the leadership here has been effective,” he said. “She has taken the fight outside the walls of this clinic and provided that readiness Marines and their families need. Commander Ekenna-Kalu, you have made a difference. Thank you.”

Goodson, formerly a clinic manager and administrative department head at the health clinic, said he is proud to serve with its team, and as he assumed “the watch and its many responsibilities; I am mindful of one particular aspect of what this ceremony represents and that is change.

“Now more than ever, our mission of readiness is vital,” said Goodson, who is from Versailles, Mo. “Not only is the maintenance of our personal readiness important, but our delivery of the health care we are entrusted to provide to enable the readiness of our brothers and sisters in arms, is also of paramount importance.”

He added the only way the successful delivery of outstanding health care can be accomplished is through teamwork and the right attitude.

“My challenge to you today is to look at this change of charge transition with the mindset of possibilities of what we can achieve together,” Goodson said. “I look forward to serving you and serving with you.”

Awaiting orders for her next assignment, Ekenna-Kalu thanked her leaders for giving her the opportunity to lead as well as their and her staff’s support during her tenure.

“I feel the clinic here speaks for itself,” said the native of Nigeria, West Africa. “We have aligned our clinic with the command mission and worked tirelessly to take consistent and excellent care of our heroes as well as our staff and our environment.”

Ekenna-Kalu also saluted the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and the Marine Corps Logistics Command teams for making the Navy’s health clinic a part of the Marine Corps family.

She offered best wishes to her successor in his new position and hoped he and the staff would continue to move the clinic forward to greater heights.


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