New commanding general takes charge of Northern Regional Medical Command
June 21, 2013
The new commanding general of the Army Medicine's northern region pledged to focus on creating a healthcare system that keeps Soldiers, Family members and other beneficiaries healthy.
Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong made the comment during the Northern Regional Medical Command Change of Command ceremony at the Fort Belvoir, Va. Long Parade Field June 20. Wong assumed command of the region from Col. Donald R. West, its commander since January.
"The [Army Medical Department] is at a crossroads," Wong said. "As we look to the future, the AMEDD is establishing the programs and initiatives that will create the DoD's premier health system, a system that maintains health through fitness and injury prevention, restores health through patient centered care, and improves health through informed choices in the Lifespace. And NRMC is intimately engaged in supporting all of these initiatives."
The Northern Regional Medical Command provides healthcare to nearly 500,000 beneficiaries at an Army medical center, hospitals, health centers, occupational health centers and troop medical clinics. The region's subordinate commands are located in 20 states across the northern United States.
Maj. Gen. Richard A. Stone, Deputy Surgeon General and Deputy Commanding General for Support, U.S. Army Medical Command, said during the ceremony that West did a "spectacular job" during his six months in command.
"The complexity of this command, its association with the National Capital Region makes this difficult, complex work, with our most grievously injured service members as they work their way through improvement," Stone said.
Stone spoke of the challenges ahead, as DoD moves toward a national defense health agency and NRMC integrates with the new system. He was optimistic about the future and said the region was ready to deliver care to the wounded warriors.
"We're all prayerful for peace, and we're all prayerful that our number of casualties will go down," Stone said. "But every day we serve these casualties, every day we serve these great families who need us so much, we know that both of you, as outgoing and incoming commander, can be trusted to deliver the absolute best possible care that these service members deserve."
Wong, comes to NRMC from the Southern Regional Medical Command, where he served as commanding general from June 2, 2011 to June 5. 2013. He also serves as the Chief of the Army Dental Corps.
West retired from service during the ceremony. He spent a 30-year career in the Medical Service Corps.
Looking back at his career, West said that patients often come in contact with Army Medicine on the worst day of their lives, but they can thank God that it is not the last day of their lives, thanks to the hard work and effort of the joint medical team.
"To me, that means that the one who is entrusted to our care will have the opportunity of a mother, father, sister, brother or loved one to give one more hug, or say goodbye in a respectful and dignified manner," West said. "That is why we serve."