Rear Adm. Alton L. Stocks will assume command of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, at Bethesda, Md., (WRNMMC) with a change of command ceremony scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Stocks will assume command from Rear Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, who has led the command for the last three years.
A pediatrician by trade and designated as a surface warfare medical officer, Stocks has been serving as commander of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth since May 2010. Familiar with Bethesda, he is an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences. Stokes is also a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and member of Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society.
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1972, he went on to complete the Navy's Nuclear Power Training and Submarine School and then served aboard the USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN 619) and USS Long Beach (CGN 9).
After transferring his commission to the Medical Corps, he received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He went on to serve as chief resident at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, in Va., and head of pediatrics at U.S. Naval Hospital Rota, in Spain. While studying pediatric nephrology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, he instituted a prenatal hydronephrosis program and published his research in the Journal of Urology.
Following his residency, he then served at Naval Medical Center San Diego, as the director of medical services, head of pediatric nephrology and the transitional intern program director. After being named Pediatric Department Teacher of the Year in 1997, he went on to serve as the executive officer of the U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella, in Italy, from 2000 to 2003. He then assumed command of Naval Hospital Corpus Christi and its clinics in Fort Worth, Ingleside and Kingsville, Texas.
Stocks also served as the Naval Forces Europe and 6th Fleet surgeon and deployed aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) as the Joint Task Force (JTF) Lebanon surgeon in 2005. He then served as the U.S. Fleet Forces fleet surgeon in 2007. In 2010, he deployed as the JTF Haiti surgeon. Later that year, he assumed command of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and Navy Medicine East.
Throughout his tenure thus far, Stocks has earned the Legion of Merit (4), Defense Meritorious Service medal, Meritorious Service medal, and the Joint Service Commendation medal. Additionally, he has achieved a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon (7).
Nathan, who has served as the commander of WRNMMC since August 2008, has also earned a number of prestigious awards. Most recently, he has been nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral, and has been nominated for appointment as chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and surgeon general, Washington, D.C.
The two-star admiral is also a recipient of the American Hospital Association's Excellence in Leadership award for the federal sector, as well as the Legion of Merit (5), Meritorious Service medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal, and Navy and Marines Corps Achievement medal (2).
In addition to serving as WRNMMC commander, Nathan has also been the commander of Navy Medicine, National Capital Area, as well as the Navy's 9th Chief of the Medical Corps. Having served as the Navy component commander to the largest military medical integration and construction project in history, he has ensured a seamless integration between the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The formal change of command ceremony, scheduled Sept. 28, will be held in the hospital's Memorial Auditorium.