• Maj. Gen. James Huggins, commanding general, Regional Command South and other high-ranking officials render a salute during the playing of the national anthem on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield. The high- ranking officials attended the NATO Multinational Unit change of command ceremony. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams)

    New commander takes over NATO hospital

    Maj. Gen. James Huggins, commanding general, Regional Command South and other high-ranking officials render a salute during the playing of the national anthem on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield. The high- ranking officials attended the NATO...

  • The NATO Role 3 Multinational Unit color guard marches during a change of command ceremony on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield. The color guard is made up of Soldiers and seamen who carry the Army and Navy flags during traditional military ceremonies.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams)

    New commander takes over NATO hospital

    The NATO Role 3 Multinational Unit color guard marches during a change of command ceremony on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield. The color guard is made up of Soldiers and seamen who carry the Army and Navy flags during traditional military...

  • U.S. Navy Capt. Bruce C. Meneley, outgoing commander, NATO Role 3 Multinational Unit, gives his farewell speech on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield. Meneley said he will miss the extreme professionalism and dedication of the hospital staff during the NATO Role 3 MMU change of command ceremony.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams)

    New commander takes over NATO hospital

    U.S. Navy Capt. Bruce C. Meneley, outgoing commander, NATO Role 3 Multinational Unit, gives his farewell speech on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield. Meneley said he will miss the extreme professionalism and dedication of the hospital staff during the...

  • U.S. Navy Capt. Daniel J. Zinder, commander, NATO Role 3 Multinational Unit does a right face to hand off the NATO Role 3 MMU colors on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield. The passing of the colors is an integral part of a change of command ceremony in keeping with military tradition. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams)

    New commander takes over NATO hospital

    U.S. Navy Capt. Daniel J. Zinder, commander, NATO Role 3 Multinational Unit does a right face to hand off the NATO Role 3 MMU colors on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield. The passing of the colors is an integral part of a change of command ceremony in...

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan. (July 26, 2012) -- U.S. Navy Capt. Daniel J. Zinder took over command of the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit during a change of command ceremony on July 26, 2012 at Kandahar Airfield.

Considered to be one of the best hospitals in Afghanistan by U.S. Navy Capt. Bruce C. Meneley, outgoing commander of the NATO Role 3 MMU, the hospital staff welcomed a new commander who is expected to keep the unit's reputation intact.

"Capt. Zinder has great operational and leader experience, which will help him keep the tradition of providing the best care going," Meneley said. "He's no stranger to responsibility and will do a great job."

Six countries support the NATO Role 3 MMU mission, including the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, the United States and Belgium.

Zinder will command more than 250 NATO service members and has the task of maintaining the unit's 98% survival rate for coalition casualties.

"This is the best hospital in RC-South and working with coalition forces is really cool," Spc. Bryana Standish, a casualty liaison volunteer, NATO Role 3 MMU said. "I just hope the new command continues to strive to do better."

As Zinder takes command, the hospital bids farewell to a commander who said he won't miss the dust, heat, or long hours, but the professionalism and dedication of the NATO Role 3 MMU staff.

"This unit is still in the middle of the fight and they have a command that will continue to carry on the fight in treating our warfighters," Meneley said. "I'm not taking anything away when I leave, so I'm able to leave here satisfied knowing the staff will able to continue the mission."

The mission to provide medical care for NATO service members is an ever evolving challenge that demands communication, teamwork and determination.

"Being in the medical world, you quickly learn that anything can happen at any time so you have to continue to learn," Standish said. "I'm only a volunteer and working with coalition forces allows me to pick up different things from them."

Forgoing the opportunity to serve as the 6th Flight surgeon in Naples, Italy, Zinder could've been sipping on wine overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, but chose to take command of the hospital in a hostile environment.

As the new commander takes the helm of the NATO Role 3 medical mission, Zinder said in his speech that he looks forward to working with the diverse team in meeting one goal in the war zone.

The goal is simple … To fulfill the hospital's motto "To provide the best care anywhere."

Page last updated Mon July 30th, 2012 at 11:06