By Douglas H Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs –
Capt. Matthew A. McQueen turned over leadership of Operational Health Support Unit (OHSU) Bremerton to Capt. Frank Brajevic during a change of command ceremony on Nov. 18, 2016.
For McQueen, a New Orleans, Louisiana native, the ceremony marks the end of his two-year tenure as commanding officer as he transfers to Navy Reserve 4th Marine Logistic Group, Naval Operational Support Center, New Orleans.
“This job tasked and taught me as a commanding officer. I will be forever thankful for that. Everyone taught me. We also promoted ten (new) Navy chief petty officers, had four command staff selected for headquarter positions. Both are just unprecedented (milestones),” said McQueen, Navy Medical Corps, thanking his command leadership and Sailors for handling their duty and responsibility and performing above expectations.
McQueen, with over 27 years supporting Navy Medicine, stressed that his time leading OHSU Bremerton was never about him, but centered on the dedicated staff members attached to the command.
“It’s not about me. It’s you. When (former commanding officer) Julie Zappone departed she said she left me a jewel of a command. She said, ‘don’t worry, they’ll take care of you.’ They have,” McQueen shared, also acknowledging his staff, their families and also civilian employers for their understanding and sacrifices in support of the Navy Reserve mission.
“I especially thank Naval Hospital Bremerton. They gave us a home. I’m not aware of any other arrangement like this. We feel like this is our home and it’s a unique opportunity for us and helps us with our mission,” McQueen said.
McQueen was awarded the meritorious service medal as commanding officer by ‘displaying exceptional leadership and meticulous management of a geographically diverse command composed of 427 health care personnel across 15 detachments throughout nine states and two reserve component commands.’
Under McQueen’s direction, OHSU Bremerton tallied 11,300 contributory support days for Navy Medicine that included 10 humanitarian mission and five operational exercises. His oversight of services to approximately 4,000 reservists yielded 8,900 periodic health assessments, 7,000 dental exams, 3,200 phlebotomies and 3,200 immunizations.
The award was presented by the keynote speaker for the event, Rear Adm. Mark E. Bipes, Navy Medicine West Deputy Commander and Medical Service Corps Deputy Director who shared to those in attendance that becoming a commanding officer is the ultimate vote of confidence.
“Great responsibility, great authority and great accountability are keys to all successful commanding officers. Command isn’t a merit badge. You get it through excellence as a person, as an officer and as a leader. Such has been the case with Capt. McQueen,” stated Bipes.
McQueen’s varied Navy Reserve and civilian medicine background includes his M.D. degree from University of Tennessee in 1988, along with two years of general surgical residency, flight surgeon training and an operational Navy tour before completing the Ochsner Family Practice Residency in New Orleans in 1996, followed by the Hughston Clinic Sports Medicine Fellowship in 1997. He is a board certified family physician, holds a certificate of additional qualifications in sports medicine and is a designated naval flight surgeon.
After McQueen was commissioned in March, 1989, in the Navy Reserve as a Navy Medical Corps officer, he was recalled to active duty in August 1990. He served as aviation medicine division officer at Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan from 1991 to 1994 before transferring back to the Reserve. He was mobilized in 2005-2006 as department head, Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy at Naval Branch Health Clinic, Mayport, Fla. From 2007 to 2010 he served as assistant officer in charge and officer in charge of the Naval Reserve Naval Hospital Pensacola, Detachment C. He was senior medical executive for OHSU Pensacola until Nov. 2012 and then was executive officer until 2014 before becoming commanding officer of OHSU Bremerton in Dec. 2014.
In his civilian capacity, Dr. McQueen has been a senior staff physician at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans since 1997 and currently practices in the Center for Primary Care and Wellness. He skill set has also benefited professional athletes, as he was the team physician for the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornet/Pelicans from 2004 to 2015 and the Arena Football League’s former New Orleans VooDoo team. Additionally, he was a volunteer physician at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.
Brajevic, a San Pedro, Caif. native, has served in the Naval Reserves since Jan. 2001, and is a maxillofacial prosthodontist specialist working at UCLA and with the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center.
“I am humbled and honored to have been given the opportunity to fleet-up and lead this command. Having served as its executive officer, I’ve witnessed firsthand the dedication and commitment of its members. I could not have asked for a better team and look forward to providing them with the leadership they deserve,” said Brajevic, noting that the leadership of McQueen as commanding officer was directly responsible for the command’s success in supporting Navy Medicine.
“I’ve had the great privilege of observing his leadership and vision pave the way for both personal and professional growth throughout the command. He took a direct interest in each member and was tireless in ensuring that each had what they needed to be successful,” Brajevic added.
OHSU Bremerton’s mission is to ensure all Sailors can rapidly respond to the needs of Naval Hospital Bremerton, Navy Medicine and the nation by keeping themselves and those assigned in a constant state of readiness; professionally, physically and mentally. OHSU Bremerton ensures force health protection of all Sailors by assisting Navy Operational Support Centers throughout three regions – Northwest, Midwest and Southwest – by completion of physical health assessment’s and dental exams. OHSU detachments can be found in Anchorage, Alaska; Whidbey, Kitsap, Spokane and Everett, Wash.; Portland and Springfield, Ore.; Boise, Idaho; Helena and Billings, Mont.; Cheyenne, Wyo., Fargo, N.D. and Sioux Falls, S.D.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Denver and Fort Carson, Colo.