FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Pledging that the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity -- Fort Carson's priority will be the enduring commitment to the delivery of safe, quality health care to all it serves, Col. Dennis P. LeMaster assumed command of MEDDAC in a ceremony at the Special Events Center Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. John M. Cho, commander of the Western Regional Medical Command, who presided over the ceremony, praised the MEDDAC staff's 2013 accomplishments, which include the highly-coveted Military Health System's Healthcare Innovations Award, The Surgeon General's Excalibur Award for Clinical Operations and the U.S. Army Medical Command's Wolf Pack Team Collaboration Award.

"And this was done while doing a Joint Commission Survey, a very successful one, having seven Patient-Centered Medical Homes receive national recognition, and forward supporting five embedded behavioral health units -- that's just unbelievable," said Cho. "It is no surprise that Evans (Army Community Hospital) is known as a place where we can say 'this is what right looks like.'"

Before hailing the new commander, Cho thanked interim MEDDAC Commander Col. Thomas Rogers for his leadership as both commander and deputy commander for clinical services.

Cho then affirmed his support and trust in LeMaster.

"I am confident that Dennis (LeMaster) will lead with skill, dignity and respect. He knows how to take care of Soldiers, civilians and Family members, and if his success at Bassett (Army Community Hospital) is any indication of how he's going to do here, we know that this organization will be taken to new heights," said Cho.

LeMaster comes to Fort Carson after serving as commander of Fort Wainwright's Bassett Army Community Hospital and USAMEDDAC-Alaska. The Washington State University graduate is no stranger to Fort Carson, having served here early in his career as a medical platoon leader for the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

"Fort Carson was my first assignment in September of 1987 … I am amazed at the growth and new look of this fine installation and comforted by seeing that some things remain unchanged," said LeMaster. "We look forward to being a part of this great Colorado team, with its joint partnerships, experiences, the incredible expansive outdoor opportunities and the privilege of providing health care to our Soldiers, Airmen, their Family members and our veterans."

Besides the delivery of safe, quality health care, LeMaster outlined his other initial priorities.

"We will … never compromise wounded warrior care and will ensure our wounded, ill and injured warriors receive the best care and services as they travel on their journey to either veteran status or remain on active duty with their comrades," he said.

"We will continue to foster strong relationships with 4th Inf. Div. and all formations here on Fort Carson, to partner and ensure they can take to the field with a fully medically-ready force."

LeMaster emphasized continuing MEDDAC's enduring collaborative relationships with its health care alliance partners across the Pikes Peak Region and within Colorado Springs, Fountain, Pueblo and Security.

"I'm humbled to be a part of such a fantastic group of professionals who are experts at their craft. We look forward to being part of this great community," he said.

LeMaster's assignments include commander, Forward Support Medical Company, 203rd Forward Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, Erlangen, Germany; executive officer, 67th Combat Support Hospital, Würzburg, Germany; chief, Leader Development Branch, AMEDD Officer Basic Course, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; installation commander, Camp Bullis, Texas; executive officer to the commanding general, Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam Houston; and chief of staff, Western Regional Medical Command, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He has deployed in support of military operations to Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Iraq.