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Navy Capt. Jennifer Smith, commanding officer of Field Medical Training Battalion, receives the colors during a change of command ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune at Camp Johnson Friday. Smith took command as the first female commander for the battalion, after Navy Capt. Richard Jehue retired from 31 years of service in the Marine Corps and Navy.

Photo by Cpl. Jared Lingafelt

Smith first female to take charge of FMTB-East

18 Feb 2016 | Cpl. Jared Lingafelt Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Field Medical Training Battalion – East bid farewell to Navy Capt. Richard Jehue, who relinquished command to Navy Capt. Jennifer Smith during a change of command ceremony on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, at Camp Johnson Friday.

Retiring from a long and decorated 31-year career in the Navy and Marine Corps, Jehue addressed the audience with remarks that reflected on service and legacy.

"I often tell people we stand on the shoulders of giants," said Navy Capt. Richard Jehue. "I tell that to each class because as they come through as students, they are standing on the shoulders of giants. The Hospital Corps is the most decorated Corps that there is and when you think about that, it is now about who is passing that on to someone else, moving forward."

Smith, the first female commander of the unit, who was also one of the first female corpsman to serve with Marines at 1st Field Medical Training Battalion, expressed her gratitude and excitement for command.

"I never thought I would be standing here today," said Smith. "I enlisted in the Navy and did 12 years as a corpsman … and continued to work hard. I’ve actually been in the shoes of these sailors so it is quite awesome that I can return the favor and serve them."

Throughout the ceremony the importance of the command’s role in the Navy-Marine Corps family continued to be emphasized.

"We train sailors to save Marines and sailors lives," said Jehue. "I can’t think of a more noble mission than that, and to have the privilege of command of such a place is truly an honor."

With his parting words to the command, Jehue was confident the battalion was in the right hands and would continue to make a lasting impact.

"They are going to continue to stand on the shoulders of giants and save Marines’ lives," said Jehue.

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