FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- U.S. Army Aeromedical Center Soldiers and civilians welcomed their new commander, Col. Patrick N. Denman, during a change of command ceremony June 17 on Howze Field.

Denman, whose last assignment was U.S. Army Health Clinic commander in Schweinfurt, Germany, replaces Col. Yolanda Ruiz-Isales. She served here for two years, and moves on as nursing deputy commander at Winn Army Community Hospital at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr., Southern Regional Medical Command (Provisional) commander, visited last week to welcome Denman and bid Ruiz-Isales farewell.

"In the spirit of selfless service to our nation, we are in the business of developing leaders, and we have a very good commissioned officer ready and prepared to take the baton at full sprint," he said. "Col. Patrick Denman is an extremely talented and highly skilled Army Medical Services Corps officer. He has a wealth of experience in administrative and executive health care."

Denman, who enlisted in the Army in 1981 and commissioned as a lieutenant in 1986, is joined here by his wife, Yolanda.

"I am very humbled to have the privilege of serving our outstanding community and the (U.S. Army) Aviation Center of Excellence," he said. "I am committed to leading our Soldiers, civilians and Family members with distinction, and to continue to build upon Ruiz-Isales' and her teams' success in caring for our nation's best with dignity, respect and compassion."

Caravalho praised the former commander for providing quality health care.

"Within the halls of Lyster, Yolanda has been an inspiring leader," he said. "She took a team of clinical and allied health providers, administrators, support staff and volunteers and made them even better. She recognized the changing environment, the need for greater value for our beneficiaries and critical timing for change."

Ruiz-Isales, who was commissioned in 1985, thanked her fellow Soldiers and staff for contributing to her first command position, which she called "a lifetime experience."

"The Lyster Family is amazing. When you're surrounded by people who want to come to work every day, you can't (help) but do great things," she said. "I am extremely proud of all of you for keeping Aviators at their greatest efficiency."

Caravalho presented Ruiz-Isales the Legion of Merit during a brief award ceremony in the headquarters building prior to the change of command. He called her a "great commander," and thanked her for taking care of Soldiers, Families and veterans.

"You provided everything you could to increase services to these people. You assessed the situation, made hard decisions and you followed through. I couldn't be more proud of what you've done," Caravalho said.

USAAMC provides health care and medical services for Soldiers, military Families and retirees, according to center history. It began in 1942 as the United States Army Hospital, when Fort Rucker was known as Camp Rucker.

The facility evolved into what it's known as today - Lyster Army Health Clinic - on Nov. 4, 2004. MRI and CT Scan facilities were established at the facility just a few weeks ago to expand beneficiaries' services, officials noted.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16