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Navy, Air Force Show Off New Tri-Service Research Laboratory

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120126-13

By Joe C. Wiggins, Naval Medical Research Unit-San Antonio Public Affairs

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (NNS) -- One of the Air Force's top docs visited the new Tri-Service Research Laboratory Jan. 18.

Navy and Air Force leadership at the research facilities provided a tour and a brief to Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Byron C. Hepburn, commander of the Air Force's 59th Medical Wing, on the current missions and research projects of the new laboratory.

The facility left a positive impression on Hepburn who is tasked with providing clinical research and medical education to more than 6,000 people in his current role as a Medical Wing commander.

"What you are doing here is not only a great service to our military; it is a great service to our nation," said Hepburn while touring the laboratory spaces.

Hosted by the commanding officers of Naval Medical Research Unit-San Antonio, and Detachment 5, Air Force Research Laboratory, the visit gave the general a clearer view of the capabilities of the facility and its staff.

"We wanted Maj. Gen. Hepburn and his team to clearly see we have a much wider range of options to conduct biomedical research to support warriors on the sea and on land than ever before in our history," said Navy Capt. Vincent DeInnocentiis, commanding officer of Naval Medical Research Unit-San Antonio. "This includes the ability to fully challenge and use the staff of NAMRU-SA, as well as draw from other services such as the Army and Air Force to conduct our mission in a joint environment."

As the commander of the Air Force's largest medical wing and one of only 15 pilot-physicians in the Air Force, Hepburn said he is focused on any new capability that helps him execute his mission.

"It was clear to me the great job being performed by all of the staff at the lab, and gives me a better vision of how this facility can assist the medical missions of all the services, as well as the American public," said Hepburn.

Included in the more than 20 labs, work stations and other settings visited by the general were demonstrations of directed energy, combat casualty care, biomedical and research and training capabilities in the facility.

"It is exciting when our senior leaders demonstrate interest in the potential for joint research and development efforts between the Air Force and the Navy in Combat Casualty Care and En Route Care," said Dr. James D. Ross, senior research physiologist and the deputy head of the Combat Casualty Care Research Department. "These types of relationships will strengthen the quality of our research product and extend the impact of our research to service men and women from all branches."

The laboratory's joint service and research capabilities were reinforced by Col. Terry Stotler, commander of Detachment 5, Air Force Research Laboratory. His briefing of capabilities and missions showed the general the overlap and shared capabilities between the Air Force and the Navy staff members at the lab.

"We can do more now and do it better alongside Capt. DeInnocentiis' staff in this facility," said Col. Stotler. "This clearly shows advanced and enhanced research opportunities for both services."

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