MCB Camp Pendleton Community
1st Dental Battalion Change of Command and Retirement of Captain Martin J. Anerino
Story by Cpl Robert Bliss on 06/19/2019
On the 14th of June 2019, 1st Dental Battalion conducted a change of command ceremony on Camp Pendleton, Calif., where U.S. Navy Captain Martin J. Anerino relinquished command to U.S. Navy Captain Howard K. Van Ness.
Change of command ceremonies are a time-honored tradition among the U.S. Naval service and represent a new chapter within a battalion’s history.
“[Change of command ceremonies] are important because of the continuity of leadership,” said Anerino. “This battalion is in for a lot of changes over the next couple of years and there are going to be a lot of learning curves and a lot of growing pains. Part of a commanding officer’s job is taking off some of that pressure so the [battalion] can be freed up to treat patients because, ultimately, that is what we are here to do.”
Anerino has served as commander of 1st Dental Bn. for the past two years and will now be passing the torch to Van Ness. Van Ness, as the incoming commander, says he is more than up to the challenge of a storied legacy to build upon.
“This is an opportunity to learn as much as I can right now,” said Van Ness. “All of the good work and direction that has gone into the command thus far [will allow] me to step in and continue to take the battalion in the direction it is going to the next level.”
When asked about his confidence in Van Ness assuming command, Anerino said, “There’s going to be a significant challenge in the next couple of years but I know Captain Van Ness has experience at 2nd Dental Bn., 3rd Dental Bn., and now here at 1st Dental Bn.; he has ship-board experience, he has Medical Treatment Facility experience, he is a specialist in endodontics and has taught residency. This is the guy for the job.”
Van Ness is eager to meet the outgoing commander’s expectations and has his own barometer for success, as well.
“The way I measure success for myself is how much I learn and how much I grow,” said Van Ness. “It is the overcoming of challenges that help define us. It is the work ethic that is deeply seated into the service. We are serving a lot of different causes but, most importantly, everything that we do is to benefit the most patients that we could possibly have in our stewardship.”
1st Dental battalion provides support to the Marines and sailors of I Marine Expeditionary Force and 1st Marine Logistics Group by ensuring operational readiness by providing quality dental healthcare to warfighters on a global level.
“A fresh set of eyes certainly brings a fresh opportunity,” said Van Ness, as he prepares for the next step in his career and taking on the mantle of commander of 1st Dental Bn.