By: Jeffrey Soares, USAMRMC Public Affairs
After serving nearly three decades in the U.S. Navy, Capt. J. Christopher Daniel, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, retired from service during a ceremony held at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Md. June 19.
A native of Elkins Park, Penn., Daniel graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 1980. He was commissioned as an Ensign while attending Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Penn., where he obtained his medical degree.
In attendance at the ceremony were 11 flag officers and Senior Executive Service personnel, including Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Eric B. Schoomaker, former U.S. Army Surgeon General, Dr. Ward Casscells, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Rear Adm. Michael H. Mittelman, U.S. Navy Deputy Surgeon General, and Maj. Gen. James K. Gilman, commanding general of the USAMRMC.
In August 2009, Daniel became the first Naval officer to serve as deputy commander of the USAMRMC, a global organization of over 6500 military and civilian personnel tasked with managing and executing medical research, development, medical logistics and acquisition for the U.S. Army to protect warfighters and citizens around the world.
Reflecting upon his three years of service with Daniel within the USAMRMC, Gilman said, "Speaking personally, my regard for Chris transcends respect to a level of confidence that can best be described as ultimate trust. This level of trust and confidence is reserved for very few people, but Capt. Chris Daniel will always have a place of honor in that small group."
"We found common ground in those things which are most important in life," said Gilman. "Things like values, faith, and family."
While his assignment as USAMRMC deputy commander may be a "crowning jewel" in Daniel's storied military career, his list of national and international duty tours is rather long.
Included among the captain's early assignments are stints at the Naval Hospital San Diego, Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, and the Naval Hospital Subic Bay (Philippines), where he served as senior flight surgeon for NAS Cubi Point and director of Branch Medical Clinic Cubi Point. At the Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton, Daniel served as family practice resident, and at the Naval Hospital Sigonella (Sicily), he founded and managed a Travel Medicine Clinic while also serving as head of its Family Practice department.
As an Adolescent Medicine fellow at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego, he achieved national recognition as an educator in preventive medicine services for adolescents, and as a researcher in the assessment of concussions sustained by adolescent athletes. During this particular tour, Daniel also served as chairman of the Society for Adolescent Medicine's international section of adolescent health professionals in training.
Although Daniel concluded his military service as part of an interagency collaboration, serving within the Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command, his history is indeed as a naval officer, and this was no more evident than in the words expressed by Mittelman.
"As Chris progressed through his career," said the admiral, "he ultimately assumed command of the Naval Medical Research Center . where he led and positively influenced Navy medicine's global enterprise with laboratories in Egypt, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, and Cambodia. He enhanced the safety, readiness, and the performance of Navy and Marine Corps personnel."
"Through his interaction, both in direct healthcare and medical research," continued Mittelman, "Chris Daniel has had a positive impact on individual lives he's touched in clinical practice, in the safety of both aviation and undersea warriors, how we deliver combat casualty and family centric care, and potentially the health of millions in our Military and around the world through his research initiatives."
At the Naval Medical Clinic in Annapolis, Daniel was responsible for the delivery of primary health care services to the Brigade of Midshipmen and other active duty forces. As chief of the Medical Staff and Optimization Champion, he also spearheaded a major transformation of health care delivery to all clinic beneficiaries.
Daniel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. He received a graduate certificate in the Business of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University in 2002, and an MBA from Yale University in 2007 as a charter member of their Leadership in Healthcare Program.
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), Army Achievement Medal, Order of Military Medical Merit, and various unit awards and service medals.
During his farewell speech, Daniel was very grateful to family, friends, and "shipmates" who came together for the ceremony. Above all, however, he highlighted the dedication shown by his wife throughout his military service.
"I would like to offer a special acknowledgement to the beautiful young lady in the front row, who 19 years ago today, became my wife," said Daniel. "I am so pleased that you agreed to say 'I do' on that day, and I'm also extremely thankful that you agreed to have this ceremony on our anniversary, since I couldn't think of a better way to demonstrate that it is our whole family that has served, and it's our whole family that is completing our service."
Preparing to conclude his "watch" of over 28 years, Daniel offered a final passage for the audience.
"It is so wonderful to share this day with all of you, because I count all of you as very special friends," he said. "You remind me of how blessed I have been with every single one of my tours." "I offer each of you a salute, and a huge debt of gratitude," proclaimed the captain.
Upon his retirement, Daniel is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and two children, and will continue to practice golf with his daughter, who plays for her high school team.