JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — The Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Medical Group, Detachment 1, welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony March 13, 2021, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.
VaANG members, family and friends tuned into the ceremony via a live streamed broadcast on social media as Lt. Col. Lynn K. Samms assumed command of the specialized medical unit from Lt. Col. Gregory Chew. Col. Jason R. Price, 192nd MDG commander, presided over the ceremony.
“In the history of Virginia’s battle with COVID-19 is going to be the fact that [Chew] led out our frontline warriors against this disease,” Price said.
“Lynn, I’m really looking forward to your leadership, looking forward to the fact that you’ll take what Greg has done and move it to the next level. I’m excited to see where we go next.”
Samms is a prior-enlisted security forces defender who commissioned in 2006 after receiving a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She has been a member of the VaANG for close to 15 years and previously served as the 192nd MDG’s chief nurse. Samms is now charged with commanding the detachment that is part of the National Guard’s regional CERFP, or Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package.
While the unit’s typical primary responsibilities encompass CBRNE, they’ve recently conducted their first federal mobilization in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since COVID response operations began in April 2020, Airmen assigned to Det. 1 have been working on strike teams alongside Virginia National Guard Soldiers to collect more than 172,000 samples for testing and conducted thousands of N95 respirator mask fit testing in support of localities.
“I’m about to command a team that has consistently outperformed; I’m sure we will stay on track together,” Samms said as she addressed Det. 1 members. “I am tremendously honored to have this opportunity...”
Under Samms’ leadership, the detachment will take on a CBRNE exercise evaluation in August and is transitioning to include mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams while remaining deployed under the direction of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Health.
The change of command ceremony is a military tradition rooted in history in which uniquely developed flags for each organization are publicly exchanged from the hands of the former commander to the hands of the new commander. This ceremony symbolically marks the change of leadership in military organizations.