William Beaumont Army Medical Center held its annual Holiday Ball at the Centennial Conference and Banquet Center, Fort Bliss, Dec. 3.

The annual event featured live entertainment, presentations of the Order of Military Medical Merit (O2M3), and welcomed guest speaker, Dr. Thomas W. Travis, retired Air Force lieutenant general who served as the 21st Surgeon General of the Air Force and currently serves as the senior vice president of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (Southern Region) (USUHS).

"I appreciate being here with the William Beaumont family and at Fort Bliss," said Travis. "I am very aware of the exceptional service and care you provide at (WBAMC)."

Travis recounted moments during his military career which made his career in medicine worthwhile, including stories of service members wounded in combat and their families who appreciated the care their loved ones received.

"A big silent lesson we've learned in the past 15 years of war is we all have a sacred obligation: to be as good as you can and provide the best healthcare," said Travis. "American military medics and military medical professionals provide the best possible care. I would put the military health system up against the best healthcare systems in the country."

As senior vice president of USUHS, Travis oversees students, faculty and staff who are training or serving in the Southern Region of the United States. William Beaumont Army Medical Center currently hosts Graduate Medical Education residencies for general surgery, orthopedics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, internal medicine and transitional internship programs.

"We understand how important exceptional care is for our nation, our military strength, and our nation's operational capability," said Travis. "Don't lose sight in the fact that you're all a part of an incredibly important mission for our nation."

Col. John A. Smyrski III, commander, WBAMC, echoed Travis and reminded Soldiers, staff and families of the difference they make in Army and military readiness.

"You're all part of (the Armed Forces') success," said Travis, addressing audience members.

At the conclusion of the ball, the O2M3 was presented to Col. Carlos Amaya, deputy commander for surgical services, WBAMC, Lt. Col. Nichelle Johnson, chief, Nutrition Care Division, WBAMC, and 1st Sgt. Willie Howard, company first sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division. The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, have displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, served with selflessness and have made sustained contributions to the betterment of Army Medicine.