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News | March 1, 2023

New Navy Medicine command in Eastern North Carolina focuses on expeditionary medicine

By Riley Eversull

There is a new Navy Medicine command positioned aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Navy Captain Darryl P. Arfsten assumed command as the first commanding officer of Expeditionary Medical Facility Kilo on March 1, 2023.

As is Navy tradition, an “establishment of command ceremony” was held to formally announce Arfsten’s assumption of command of EMF-Kilo. The new unit will focus on being ready to quickly deploy and set up an expeditionary hospital in support of combat and humanitarian operations.

“EMF-Kilo will work in unison with the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Camp Lejeune commander, providing health care to Department of Defense personnel and retirees,” said Arfsten. “Our personnel will provide vital medical services to our military personnel, retirees and the regional community at large, which will allow our personnel to maintain their skills and abilities so that they are always ready to perform their wartime mission if called upon to do so.”

While EMF-Kilo is a new command, the concept of EMFs is not new for Navy Medicine. During World War II, the units were called “fleet hospitals” with the ability to be mobile, traveling to where wounded need care. In 2016, the Navy issued updated instruction for future EMFs.

EMFs serve to provide, “standardize, modular, flexible Theater Hospitalization and [Health Service Support] functionality to an advance base environment throughout the full range of military operations…Although the EMF is designed primarily to support ground-based operations, it can also support concurrent air and maritime operations.”

EMF-Kilo is comprised of more than 400 personnel including medical providers, security managers and food service personnel. The command will essentially function as a Role 3 hospital, able to perform similar health care facility functions wherever EMF-Kilo is set up.

EMF-Kilo’s establishment coincides with a January campaign order issued by Navy Medicine’s Surgeon General. The order directs commands to train and posture medical forces for “sustained medical support in high intensity combat operations.”

“EMF-Kilo needs to be designated as its own command because Navy Medicine is shifting its focus to its readiness mission,” said Master Chief James Abeyta, enlisted personnel leader for the command. “EMF-Kilo will enhance the medical capabilities required in operational settings and enable Navy Medicine to maintain the highest levels of survivability in any conflict.”

Now that Arfsten has assumed command, next actions for his team include implementing policies, procedures, and preparing for an upcoming Operational Readiness Exercise. In June, EMF-Kilo will send personnel to Camp Pendleton in California for demonstration of the command’s ability to deploy and set up a Role 3 medical facility.

In addition to Arfsten and Abeyta, the EMF-Kilo triad is rounded out by Executive Officer Captain Edward Owens.

For Arfsten, the chance to lead a brand-new command is an “exciting opportunity.”

“The Navy is shifting focus to providing enhanced expeditionary medical capabilities to the Department of Defense. It’s exciting to take command of one of these new units and help lead the transformation that the Navy Surgeon General directed in January. Our goals are to be always ready to deploy to fulfill our wartime mission and provide top-notch support to the daily operation of Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Camp Lejeune.”

EMF-Kilo is a subordinate unit of Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Camp Lejeune which carries out its mission to maximize warfighter performance and enhance readiness of the medical force.
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