The reins of enlisted leadership for Regional Health Command --Central were passed on during a change of responsibility ceremony Oct. 7.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jayme Johnson relinquished his responsibilities as the RHC-C senior enlisted leader to Command Sgt. Maj. Tabitha Gavia during the ceremony at the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum amphitheater.

Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Tempel Jr, RHC-C commanding general, praised Johnson for the work he has done during his three years with the region.

Coming to the region when it was still Southern Regional Medical command, Johnson led a force of more than 23,000 military and civilian personnel who provided healthcare across 11 states and one U.S. territory. The region had three medical centers, six community hospitals, two community health centers, 38 outlying health clinics, nine Warrior Transition Units and four community based Warrior Transition units serving 490,000 beneficiaries.

In 2015, the region became Regional Health Command -- Central and grew even larger.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Johnson provided critical leadership during the planning and execution phases of one of the largest reorganizations in the history of MEDCOM," Tempel said.
The beneficiary population of the region grew by 250,000 with the addition of seven dental activities, five dental clinics and 29 Public Health Branches.

"As the region changed dramatically from an east coast-based operation to operating across three time zones, (Command Sgt. Maj.) Johnson was instrumental in ensuring there was no decline in access to care and medical readiness. He helped set the stage for a truly integrated healthcare system that encompasses Public Health, Dental and Military Treatment Facilities, synchronizing healthcare delivery across the new region."

Johnson was also lauded for his attention to the needs of Soldiers.

"One of the most valuable contributions (Command Sgt. Maj.) Johnson has made in this region is his extraordinary mentorship and care he has for Soldiers," Tempel said.

Through his mentorship, NCOs were able to develop support forms using specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely performance objectives which nested senior NCO performance objectives with Army Medicine lines of effort. He also pursued additional training seats for senior NCOs to attend the Basic Healthcare Administration Course and mandated Combat Medic Soldiers recertify their medical skills annually rather than biannually.

"This initiative yielded a ready and deployable combat medic and a 100 percent recertification rate with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. In fact, the Region has maintained a 100 percent recertification rate of all 871 combat medics assigned for the past three years, the only Region to do so," said Tempel.

In addition, Tempel recognized Johnson's service to leadership.

"(Command Sgt. Maj.) Johnson, your contributions to RHC-C have been immense. The selfless, devoted service you have provided this region, and most recently, the trusted counsel you have provided me, has been vital to the continued success and medical readiness of RHC-C," Tempel said.

During his exiting remarks, Johnson returned the support and praise to Tempel.

"Maj. Gen. Tempel, I could not have asked for a better officer to end my time as a command sergeant major with. No one has a bigger heart than you when it comes to Soldiers," said Johnson.

He then turned his attention to the sergeants major and command sergeants major from the military treatment facilities and units under the region who were in formation.

"Any accomplishments attributed to me this morning truly belong to the senior noncommissioned officers you see on the field today along with the Soldiers and civilians they represent. These sergeants major and command sergeants major collectively have over 300 years of experience," said Johnson. "Thank you for taking the hard jobs and leading in what can be a very unforgiving environment and thank you for your support to me."

Gavia comes to RHC-C from Regional Health Command -- Pacific by way of Western Regional Medical Command at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash.

Tempel, who worked previously with Gavia for a short time welcomed her to the command.
"You possess the leadership necessary to ensure RHC-C continues to excel as an organization through professional development and attention to the important challenges facing the Army," he said. "I look forward to working beside you as we build strong relationships in our Region and put strong emphasis on access to care as we improve the quality, safety and satisfaction of healthcare for our beneficiaries."

As she officially stepped into the role of the Region's command sergeant major, Gavia expressed gratitude for the family and friends in the audience, those who have been there for her throughout her career and especially her mentors.

"I am deeply appreciative of your mentorship and guidance," she said. "Thank you for giving a skinny kid with big dreams the opportunity to bring her dreams to fruition. Often times the art of leadership is a gamble; the outcome dependent on the risk seasoned leaders are willing to take to give fledgling leaders the opportunity to succeed, fail and excel. I thank my mentors and leaders for taking a gamble on me and giving me the wings to soar."

She also thanked Tempel for the opportunity to continue to serve the AMEDD family. She went on to address Johnson.

"(Command Sgt. Maj.) Johnson, we have indeed come full circle. As my regional command sergeant major you helped me refine the science of harnessing assertiveness and walking the talk. Thank you for helping me prepare for, what I foresee as, the greatest challenge of my career. I know I have large shoes to fill, but I will give my all to continue your legacy."

After completing her remarks, Gavia took her place at the head of the formation, officially beginning her term as the RHC-C command sergeant major.