Skip to Content

You are viewing this page as a VA beneficiary.

Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Great Lakes changes command July 2

Incoming NMRTC Great Lakes Commander Chad Roe, center, and outgoing Commander Chad McKenzie
Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Commander Rear Admiral Matthew Case, left, poses with incoming NMRTC Great Lakes Commander Chad Roe, center, and outgoing Commander Chad McKenzie, with a piece of memorabilia McKenzie presented to Roe - the commander's key to the former Great Lakes Naval Hospital. After the integration of Navy and VA medical services to create the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Ill. in 2010, the 16-story Navy medical building 200H, overlooking Lake Michigan at Naval Station Great Lakes, was torn down.

Navy Medical Corps Capt. Chad Roe assumed command of Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Great Lakes July 2, in a ceremony at Naval Station Great Lakes, relieving Navy Medical Corps Capt. Chad McKenzie.

NMRTC Great Lakes is the command located at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Ill. Like McKenzie before him, Roe also takes on the role of deputy director of Lovell FHCC, which supports both the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs by providing health care to veterans, Navy recruits and other service members, and their dependents, in southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois.

During his time as commanding officer of Lovell FHCC, McKenzie ensured approximately 62,000 Navy recruits were medically fit for their first fleet assignments after graduating from the Navy’s only “boot camp” at Recruit Training Command, Naval Station Great Lakes.

Presiding Officer Navy Medical Forces Atlantic Commander Rear Admiral Matthew Case thanked McKenzie for his dedicated leadership as both the deputy director of Lovell FHCC and commanding officer of NMRTC Great Lakes. 

Case presented McKenzie with a Legion of Merit (gold star in lieu of the second award) for his inspirational leadership and said McKenzie’s “brilliant foresight drove significant improvements in deployment readiness for 6,800 active duty personnel across the command and the 12-state area of medical cognizance.” 

Also under McKenzie’s leadership, the Navy’s first Expeditionary Resuscitative Surgical System team trained, certified, and deployed as a unit in support of global Naval operations, and “the Armed Services Blood Program improved Great Lakes Donor Center collections by 40 percent, ensuring a robust global blood supply chain service wide.” 

Additionally, the award citation credits McKenzie for leading “a revolution in technology that brought together the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Microsoft to deploy advanced cloud technology services for secure, seamless interagency business collaboration and communication.”

McKenzie thanked Team Lovell for meeting his two main goals when he took command in 2022. The first was to ensure the uniformed medical personnel in the command were “ready to deploy and save lives,” and the second was to “support Lovell FHCC Director Dr. Robert Buckley in strengthening the partnership between VA and Department of Defense in the continual integration of two related, but different, health care systems.”

“First, we’re having a change of command, the Navy Band is here, and there’s cake, so something must have gone right,” McKenzie joked. 

McKenzie continued: “To all of Team Lovell – the civilians and Sailors supporting health care delivery at the FHCC – thank you for supporting these two objectives even if you didn’t know or didn’t think that you were. Naval Station Great Lakes is where Recruits interface with Navy Medicine for the first time, and you provided the example of high-quality care each of them should expect across the fleet during their time in service, whether four years or 40 years.”

Roe is originally from Anderson, Ind. and most recently served as Commanding Officer, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Beaufort, South Carolina and as the Director, Naval Hospital Beaufort. He has held many other top leadership jobs, including at Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan; Naval Branch Health Clinic Kings Bay, Ga; Submarine Base New London at Naval Branch Health Clinic Groton, Conn.; NMRTC Charleston, and NMRTC Jacksonville, where, in March 2020, he deployed supporting the Coronavirus Disease 2019 response. 

“I’m deeply honored to be a part of NMRTC Great Lakes/Lovell FHCC,” Roe said. “The very name suggests the importance of our mission. The readiness challenges facing our nation are complex, unremitting, and compelling, and addressing them requires our complete focus, effective partnership, and synchronized efforts. For every challenge there are opportunities, and together we will adjust to the major medical challenges facing the command.”

McKenzie and Roe both acknowledged and thanked the facility’s distinguished namesake, retired Navy Capt. and former Astronaut James A. Lovell, in the audience. 

“Capt. Lovell – you are an inspiration,” McKenzie said during his remarks. “While Tom Hanks did a pretty decent job of portraying you in ‘Apollo 13,’ reading your account of that mission in the book ‘Lost Moon’ helped me understand how you led, accomplishing the impossible, and it is only fitting your name is on the front of the FHCC. We will continue to push the limits and show the rest of federal health care what right looks like.”