Fort Sill DENTAC welcomes new commander
August 16, 2012
The Fort Sill Dental Activity welcomed a new commander during its change of command ceremony Aug. 9 at the Graham Resiliency Training Center here.
Col. Michael Roberts assumed command from Col. Mary Jo Corbett, who had been here three years. Roberts was most recently the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Belgium Dental Clinic commander.
"Over the next three years you're going to hear me emphasize three basic ideas," Roberts said. "Our mission is readiness and deployability of the Soldiers of Fort Sill; secondly, to the DENTAC Soldiers: we are Soldiers first and dental professionals second; ... and I pledge to the entire DENTAC, civilians and military, that I will be a servant-leader to your needs."
During the ceremony, Sgt. 1st Class Nancy Zale, senior DENTAC noncommissioned officer, passed the unit colors to Corbett, who handed them to Col. Lee Covington, Army Southern Regional Dental Command commanding officer at Fort Gordon, Ga., who in turn gave them to Roberts, which symbolically represented the change of leadership. Roberts then returned the colors to Zale for safekeeping.
Covington, the guest speaker for the ceremony, praised Roberts as "a highly regarded" clinic commander.
"Mike, I'm very pleased to see you get the opportunity for higher-level command," Covington said, "and especially to command this superb organization.
"I look forward to great things from you as we all work together toward achieving DENTCOM's (Dental Command) vision of being America's leader in warrior-centered oral health," Covington said.
Covington thanked Corbett and recounted the DENTAC's accomplishments during her command, which began Sept. 14, 2009.
"One of her first priorities was to improve the quality of dental facilities," he said. This included seeing the renovation of three dental clinics, of which two are completed, as well as the construction of the new Weeks Dental Clinic, which added to Fort Sill's dental capabilities.
She also greatly improved the performance of the First-Term Dental Readiness Program, which provides dental care to new Soldiers, addressing their immediate dental needs and providing them with oral hygiene wellness training, he said.
"Colonel Corbett gave it the appropriate command emphasis and support to allow it to thrive," Covington said. "It's now one of the better ones that we have."
Corbett served as the dean of the Comanche Advance Education Program in General Dentistry one-year, a post-graduate dental resident training, he said. She gave the program the funding, the facilities and the freedom which allowed the mentor faculty to provide the residents with world-class training on par with any civilian dental training.
"Colonel Corbett I realize you didn't do all this by yourself. You've got an exceptional staff, but it takes a great leader to ensure everyone is marching in the same direction," Covington said to the outgoing commander. "The common theme from everyone is your level of professionalism, and the amount of personal interest you took in making this DENTAC successful."
In her remarks, Corbett thanked her staff naming many individuals, as well as DENTAC's supporting organizations and agencies. She also mentioned a couple initiatives by her staff that she said she was proud of.
For the last two Christmases, the headquarters section led the effort to replace the office gift exchange with a drive to provide hundreds of items to the Lawton Domestic Violence Shelter, Corbett said.
And, she said she was especially proud of the volunteers hours the DENTAC Soldiers and their families gave to disabled American veterans at the Lawton Veterans Center.
Concluding, Corbett said: "Command is always a privilege. Commanding the Fort Sill Dental Activity has been the highlight of my career ... I will truly miss serving with you."