FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii-- Throughout the history of the United States Army, selection to command a unit is a privilege awarded to carefully chosen officers within the ranks. As a commander, individuals are not only responsible for the missions they are tasked, but also with the health and welfare of each and every Soldier under their charge.

On July 3, Col. Judith A. Bock, the departing commander for the 18th Medical Command, passed the unit's colors to the incoming commander, Col. Bret T. Ackermann, signifying his acceptance to command the unit.

Prior to Bock's departing speech, Brig. Gen. Dennis Doyle, the commanding general for the Pacific Regional Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, spoke accolades to Bock's performance over the past two years.

"You have lived up to the charter placed on all military leaders by the American people, to successfully defend our nation, to keep our soldiers trained and ready to fight, and to take great care of America's sons, daughters and their families," said Doyle.

Although times of transitioning can be bitter sweet, Bock thanked the many individuals that helped her succeed through her tenure as the commander, but she made it a point to thank the Soldier's under her command.

"I am extremely proud and humbled to have been your commander," Bock said tearfully. "It has been a great ride, and I am grateful for having had a front row seat."
As Bock stepped aside, Ackermann took the reign as the commander, where he provided some insight to the way ahead for the Pacific Knights.

"As our nation rebalances here in the pacific, 18th MEDCOM will remain responsive, agile and professional, ready to lead the health service support in this area of responsibility or anywhere needed by our great nation," said Ackermann.

Ackermann, leaving his position as an emergency medicine physician at Tripler Army Medical Center, is now charged with conducting medical Theater Security Cooperation between the United States Army Pacific Command and more than 25 different nations, creating a healthy climate for the members of 18th MEDCOM to work and perform, and answer to ongoing requirements from higher echelons.

The general spoke words of confidence about Ackermann's skill sets and abilities to continue the successful way ahead for the 18th MEDCOM.

"Thank you for all of your dedicated service that resulted in your selection to command again," said Doyle. "That experience and your proven leadership skills will serve you well in the next two years."