Naval Hospital Oak Harbor Welcomes New Commander

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Story Number: NNS140815-15Release Date: 8/15/2014 3:12:00 PM

By Sharon McIntyre, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor Public Affairs

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (NHOH) held a change of command ceremony Aug. 15 at Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island.

Capt. Frederick J. McDonald relieved Capt. Edward D. Simmer.

Simmer assumed command of NHOH Aug. 31, 2012. During his tenure, his primary focus was on the development and execution of the Navy Hospital Oak Harbor transitioning plan and positioning NHOH in front of Military Health System Modernization mandates. These mandates included manpower reductions, resource sharing agreements with network hospitals for surgical procedures and closing an underutilized Urgent Care Center.

In April 2013, Capt. Simmer implemented the first Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner program in Navy Medicine West. He also sustained a cohesive team with line counterparts to maintain one day completion of annual physical examination requirements resulting in all nineteen squadrons receiving the Naval Air Force Blue "M" for medical readiness for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year.

His accomplishments were in line with the Hospital's mission of "Caring for People." Naval Hospital Oak Harbor achieved Medical Home Port certification ahead of most other teams and led all Military Health System medical facilities in Access to Care and Primary Care Manager continuity. His next assignment will be in Falls Church, Virginia, where he will serve as the deputy director of Defense Health Agency.

Reflecting on his tour on Whidbey Island, Simmer said, "it has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the commanding officer of Naval Hospital Oak Harbor for the past two years. During a time of great change for our facility, our team has consistently provided outstanding care to all of those who rely on us, and I have enjoyed working with all of the great people of NHOH. They treated every challenge as an opportunity and have made NHOH one of the best hospitals in the Navy. The Oak Harbor community always made my wife, Peggy, and I feel very welcome and we appreciate all of their support as well. We leave here with many new friends and will miss Oak Harbor greatly."

McDonald is a native of Lawrenceville, New Jersey and began his Navy journey as an Optometrist, Medical Service Corps. After five years of naval service and a desire to be more involved in healthcare, he applied for medical school and the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program. He was accepted for both and graduated in 1998 from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Pomona, California, and was commissioned as a lieutenant commander, Medical Corps, United States Navy.

McDonald shared his thoughts after assuming command stating, "I am extremely privileged and honored to have been selected to serve as commanding officer, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor. Our mission of "Caring for people" fits with my philosophy of "Patients first, Shipmates Always". To achieve that end we will continue our focus on readiness, quality care and customer satisfaction. Both my wife Tracy and I look forward to our time at the command and the opportunity to be part of the Whidbey Team."

McDonald's most recent tour was in Patuxent River, Maryland, where he served as the executive officer for the Naval Health Clinic. He is accompanied by his wife Tracy, daughter Alexis and sons Freddy and Michael. The family will reside in Anacortes, Washington.

For more news from Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, visit

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