Veterans Day Spotlight on Rebecca McCormick-Boyle

portrait of Rebecca McCormick Boyle in Navy uniform.

Published November 9, 2018

Rebecca McCormick-Boyle is a recently retired Navy Rear Admiral who earned her undergraduate degree from the University at Buffalo School of Nursing. She also holds an MHA from the US Army (Baylor University) and an MS in human resource management systems from Chapman University. In her 36 years career as a navy nurse, Rebecca McCormick-Boyle has been systematically promoted to highly responsible positions that culminated in her most recent roles as director of the Navy Nurse Corps and commander of Navy Medicine Education, Training, and Logistics Command (NMETLC) at Fort Sam Houston.

Biographical Information

Military Branch

United States Navy

Dates of Service


Ranks/Positions Held

  • Rear Admiral
    • Promoted to rear admiral lower half in July 2012 and rear admiral upper half in April 2014
  • Commander (Chief Executive Officer), Navy Medicine Education, Training, and Logistics Command
  • Director (Chief Nurse Officer), Navy Nurse Corps
  • Deputy chief, BUMED, Education and Training
  • Chief of Staff, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
  • Assistant deputy chief, Medical Operations (M3), U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
  • Commanding officer, Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River, Maryland (2007 to 2009)
  • Executive Officer, Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes, Illinois (2005-2007)
  • Captain; Career Plans Officer, Navy Nurse Corps
  • Special Projects Coordinator (Navy Medicine’s Optimization Initiative), U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
  • Quality and Professional Affairs director, Branch Clinics director, special assistant for operations (Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, 1996 – 1999); senior nurse for the Fleet Hospital
  • Division officer, in-patient and ambulatory care (Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan)
  • Medical programs recruiter (Buffalo)
  • Coronary care nurse (National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland)
  • Surgical and critical care nurse (Naval Hospital, Orlando, Florida)

Recent Duties

  • NMETLC: Lead education and training efforts, providing direction to hospital and clinical education and training departments and overseeing 21 training units and 276 programs
  • Navy Nurse Corps: Improve diversity, promote education, and advance nursing practice; as director focused attention directly on the tremendous capabilities and contributions of nurses to patients, families and communities, and as hand-on clinicians, as team members and as leaders. Also responsible for nursing policy and practice, force planning, and direction of over 4,000 active and reserve nurses and over 1,900 civilian nurses.

Deployments/service locations:

  • Bethesda, Maryland
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Camp Lejeune, NC
  • Great Lakes, Illinois
  • Patuxent River, Maryland
  • Falls Church, VA
  • San Antonio, TX


McCormick-Boyle has received a number of recognitions from the military, including:

  • Senior Healthcare Executive of the Year (2011) 
  • Distinguished Service (2014-2018) 
  • Legion of Merit (2009, 2014)
  • Meritorious Service Medal (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007)
  • Navy Commendation (1994, 1997)

She is also the recipient of the UB Distinguished Alumni Award and the UB School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award.

What inspired you to join the military?


I grew up in a very patriotic and community-minded family. My father served in WWII, and following his active service he joined the Navy Reserves. He was active in the Navy League and helped start the Sea Cadet program in Buffalo, NY, in addition to many other community building activities. I admired greatly the patriotism of my father and his friends. Thus my affinity to the Navy and to joining an organization with a big purpose.

As my college years came to a close and I considered where to begin my career, I decided I wanted the opportunity to see a little bit of the world while still calling “home” home; the Navy provided the perfect means. I submitted my application in my senior year and entered the Navy in the fall following my graduation as a new nurse.

Has your military service influenced your approach to nursing?

Military service has absolutely influenced my approach to nursing. There is the “essence” of nursing, but each organization has its own unique mission and culture which in turn influences the careers and activities of the people who serve within it.

The primary mission of the Navy nursing is to military members and their families. This is a unique mission and it influences one’s approach. Navy nurses must provide exceptional care in a variety of locations, from stateside hospitals to operational settings. It is imperative that Navy nurses be ready to deploy along with those they serve. It is a unique dual mission.

And yet, the “essence” of nursing must be nurtured and monitored. As the director of the Nurse Corps, I led an effort to articulate our Navy Nurse Corps Professional Practice Model. I believe a professional practice model is a vital aspect of any nursing community.

What do you want non-veterans/civilians to know about service members and military veterans?

Service members and military members come from communities all across this great nation. They are truly America’s sons and daughters. They have taken an oath to protect all the freedoms we enjoy. They are, as a colleague of my often says, “Keepers of the cloth.”  They are good people with hopes, dreams and aspirations just like everyone else.

What can America and the American people do to best honor your service and the service of other veterans and service members?

We have certain “set aside” dates in this country. I believe these dates have often become a “holiday.”  I would encourage citizens, and I use that phrase purposefully, to participate in Independence Day, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day events that are designed to celebrate or recognize the day’s meaning. (Memorial Day is not a celebratory day, but rather a day of recognition and remembrance of those who gave all and died in service.)

In this era, many of them have deployed in harm’s way; this cadre deserves special recognition and protection.