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CAMP LESTER, Okinawa — Capt. Richard A. Becker, commander of the U.S. Naval Hospital here, is to end 35 years of active service June 16 during a change-of-command ceremony at the hospital.

Becker, 54, relinquishes command to Capt. Peter F. O’Connor, whose most recent assignment was as commanding officer of Fleet Hospital Pensacola, Fla.

A Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health graduate, O’Connor’s areas of specialization there were in health services administration and public health.

Becker enlisted in the Navy in 1970 at age 17. A hospital corpsman, he rose to the rank of chief petty officer before being commissioned.

During his two years on Okinawa, Becker:

Oversaw a $5 million renovation project that improved conditions on four wings of the hospital.Expanded capacity at the Storks Nest lodging, enabling more expectant mothers and parents of children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to stay near the hospital.Established a Children’s Waiting Room, letting parents see their medical providers while their children are in the hospital’s short-term care facility.Established formal agreements with local Okinawa hospitals that enable American patients from the northern Marine camps to be evaluated and treated at hospitals closer to their homes.Established a one-month rotation “externship” program that exposes medical students from the University of the Ryukyus to American medical care.Following the 9 a.m. change- of-command ceremony, a retirement reception for Becker will be held in the hospital’s galley.


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