<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>-Colonel Mark N. McDonald assumed command of The United States Army Dental Activity at Fort Stewart during a change of command ceremony at Marne Garden, July 20, but not before the sound of a dentist drill could be heard from the Marne-Tron.

Once the dental drill noise ceased, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, 3rd Infantry Division and Task Force Marne commander, appeared on the screen posing as a dentist complete with surgical mask on and dental tools in hand as he prepared to work on the gauze-filled mouth of Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews, 3rd ID and TF Marne command sergeant major, who sat anxiously in a dentist chair. Major General Cucolo re-assured Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews, who was questioning the commander's dentistry skills, that everything was fine because he had been watching Col. Lemuel L. Covington for the last three years.

After all joking was aside, Maj. Gen. Cucolo expressed his gratitude and that of the 3rd ID, and cited one of Col. Covington's many accomplishments.

"I think your greatest legacy over the last three years is mobilizing probably a division's worth of National Guard and Reserve Soldiers, making them dental ready," said Maj. Gen. Cucolo. "We can't thank you enough for all the combat power you have added to the combat zone with your efforts."

The outgoing commander, Col. Covington leaves Fort Stewart to assume command of USA DENTAC, Fort Benning, Ga. Coming from USA DENTAC, Col. McDonald opened his remarks with remarks of admiration for Col. Covington and his health care provider.

"I first wish to congratulate Col. Covington on the successful completion of his command and gratitude for turning over a hard working and motivated unit of dental health care providers," Col. McDonald said.

Interestingly, both the outgoing and incoming commanders will be in close contact over the coming months, they are assuming command from each other.

"As you may have heard, we are swapping commands between Fort Stewart and Fort Benning," said Col. McDonald. "So there are no skeletons in the closet that we can hide from each other - there really are no skeletons."

Colonel McDonald closed his remarks with a pledge to the Fort Stewart community.

"To you, I pledge honesty, integrity and professionalism of the highest standard," he said. "I look forward to both the hard work we will perform together, and the esprit de corps that will result from that hard work."

Colonel Lemuel expressed his gratitude to all, citing the tens of thousands of Soldiers that the DENTAC staff was able to effectively and efficiently process and treat.

"It's been a very busy and turbulent time during the last three years, but there's nowhere else I would have wanted to be."

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