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WASHINGTON (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the flagship command for all of Navy and Marine Corps medicine, started relocating its staff May 30 from Washington, D.C., to Falls Church, Va., as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act of 2005.

Vice Adm. Matt L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, BUMED, officially transferred his flag June 1, with the rest of the BUMED staff completing their move Tuesday.

"BUMED is alive and strong," said Nathan, at a symbolic "Change of Port" ceremony held May 3 at its former location in Washington, D.C. "It is a culmination of the men and women who serve the Navy Medical Department, whom our Sailors, Marines, and their families are counting on to complete the mission. We are simply about to shift colors and go to a new homeport."

BUMED has been located at "the Hilltop" in the Foggy Bottom area here for 70 years, but the campus has served a variety of U.S. Navy and Navy Medicine activities for nearly a century. The compound holds significant Navy historical value and houses the original Naval Observatory.

"It is with mixed emotions that we are leaving here," said Rear Adm. Michael H. Mittelman, U.S. Navy deputy surgeon general. "It is also with excitement that will be moving to our new location. This place will always hold a special place in our hearts. Our ethos will not change, just where we sit."

BUMED will be collocating with its Army, Air Force, and TRICARE Management Activity medical counterparts into a new facility called the Defense Health Headquarters, but all the services will maintain their own missions and leadership structure.

In a May 9 email message to his BUMED staff, Nathan emphasized that the mission goes on, despite the move.

"Defense Health Headquarters is not an entity, it is simply a building," said Nathan. "BUMED has a long and proud tradition and an eight mile stretch of highway does not change that. An address is only a geographic location. It is not what makes our command great-it is each and every one of you, your dedication, your hard work, and your commitment to our Sailors and Marines to provide them the very best in care and support."

The new address for BUMED is 7700 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, Va., 22042-5113.

As the Navy Surgeon General and Chief, BUMED, Nathan leads 63,000 Navy Medicine personnel that provide healthcare support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

Updated information on how to reach BUMED personnel is available at https://admin.med.navy.mil/Pa ges/ContactUs.aspx.

For more news from Navy Medicine, visit www.navy.mil/local/mednews/.