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NAMRU-3 Holds Change of Command Ceremony

05 August 2022

From Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Eggan, NAMRU-3

Capt. Marshall Monteville was relieved by Capt. Virginia Blackman as commanding officer of Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), during a Change of Command ceremony held onboard Naval Air Station Sigonella on July 29, 2022.
Capt. Marshall Monteville was relieved by Capt. Virginia Blackman as commanding officer of Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), during a Change of Command ceremony held onboard Naval Air Station Sigonella on July 29, 2022.

Capt. William Deniston, commander, Naval Medical Research Center, presided over the ceremony and presented Monteville with the Legion of Merit (gold star in lieu of the third award).

“I have had the great pleasure of working with Capt. Monteville several times during my career. For the last year I have been lucky to have him serve as CO for one of the seven subordinate commands of Navy Medical Research Center. Getting to work with a three-time commanding officer has been reassuring and an honor,” said Deniston. To Capt. Blackman, Deniston stated that “I have no doubt with your background, enthusiasm, and intensity along with the incredible staff at NAMRU-3, that NAMRU-3 will be shaped for the future and will be poised to take on any new challenge.”

Monteville, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii received a bachelor of science degree in Biology and a bachelor of arts degree in Chemistry from Whitworth College in 1991. He received a master of science degree in Microbiology from Oregon State University in 1994, the same year he received a direct commission into the United States Navy. Under the Duty Under Instruction (DUINS) Program, he completed his doctor of philosophy degree in Microbiology at Washington State University in 2003. In addition to NAMRU-3, Monteville has served as the commanding officer for the Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 (NAMRU-2), and the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC).

In 2019, NAMRU-3 moved its headquarters to NAS Sigonella after approximately 75 years in Cairo, Egypt. Monteville credited his staff of Sailors and civilians for overcoming the many challenges associated with the transition and their commitment to continue moving the command’s research mission forward, despite those challenges.

“I thank all of you, and our partners, for collectively continuing to execute our mission of mitigating the threat of infectious disease both globally, and for the joint warfighters. During our transition and with the development of COVID-19 we needed to improvise, adapt, and overcome, and that’s exactly what we did. This team found creative ways to execute the mission and I have continually been impressed with your resiliency and ability to keep the ship afloat during turbulent times. I thank you all for what you do each and every day in the public eye, or behind the scene, to make NAMRU-3 a story of success.”

Monteville has served as the commanding officer of NAMRU-3 since July 2019. Monteville’s command tour at NAMRU-3 strengthened strategic partnerships and led to the resurgence of research projects throughout eight Command priority countries in Africa. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his command’s unique skillsets proved to be a center of gravity in supporting U.S. Naval Forces Africa and U.S. Naval Forces Europe’s COVID-19 posture. NAMRU-3 deployed multiple active duty staff to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, to establish and operate the deployed risk reduction program in the Horn of Africa, developing a testing program in support of Operation Octave Quartz force movements. Additionally, they provided integral team members to support evacuees from Afghanistan during Operation Allies Refuge onboard NAS Sigonella.

Blackman is originally from rural upstate New York and was commissioned in 1995 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship program upon graduation from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. She holds a master of science and a doctor of philosophy degree in Critical Care and Trauma Nursing from the University of California-San Francisco. She comes to NAMRU-3 from NAMRU-2, where she served as executive officer since 2020.

Blackman highlighted the storied history of NAMRU-3, thanked friends and family that joined the ceremony, and said she looked forward to being a part of the NAMRU-3 team, and helping to write the next chapter of its contributions.

“We build our greatest successes through partnerships and teamwork, and strong teams are built on strong relationships. As I join the NAMRU-3 team, I look forward to continuing to build on the strong relationships that already exist, and working with you to develop new partnerships,” said Blackman. “I am truly excited to be here and be part of this mission.”

NAMRU-3, a command under the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, is headquartered on NAS Sigonella with research detachments in Accra, Ghana, and Cairo, Egypt, and a forward deployed laboratory on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. NAMRU- 3’s mission is to study, monitor, and detect emerging biological threats of military and public health importance, and develop mitigation strategies, in partnership with host nations, as well as international and U.S. agencies throughout U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) and U.S. European Command (USEUCOM).

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