FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Command Sgt. Maj. Peter Perkins assumed responsibility as command sergeant major of General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital as retiring Command Sgt. Maj. David Williams relinquished his position and responsibilities during a change-of-responsibility ceremony held May 25 at the hospital.

Col. Christian Meko, GLWACH commander, thanked Williams for his leadership over the past two years.

"When you review GLWACH's accomplishments over the last couple of years, Command Sergeant Major Williams' impact on both the hospital and the Fort Leonard Wood Community is clear," said Meko. "Under his leadership, GLWACH has been recognized for its dedication to readiness, innovative clinical practices, radical improvements in patient satisfaction, and instilling a safe culture."

Taking the podium, Williams thanked the leadership and the community for their continued support in helping ensure GLWACH remains a leading organization in the Army's medical-ready force. He also thanked his fellow Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and contractors for trusting him to provide leadership, and to serve and represent them and thanked his family for their continuing and endless support.

"It has been a true, heartfelt pleasure," Williams said.

Before welcoming his successor to the podium, Williams offered words of advice to the hospital staff.

"Stay optimistic, enthusiastic in providing the best care possible and treat every day as a chance to better someone's life. And visualize GLWACH as being the best hospital in the Department of Defense," he said. "Remember, it is not the structure or the building but the people who make the organization great. Take action to improve and encourage others to excel. We all took an oath to serve others before self."

Perkins thanked leaders and Family members for, "the great opportunity to help lead the GLWACH team into the future."

"What an honor and privilege to be standing here assuming responsibilities of command sergeant major," the native of Belmont, Vermont, said.

Perkins promised to diligently support the command and Fort Leonard Wood teams in the support of readiness, healthcare delivery, leader development, communication, and fostering a climate of dignity and respect.

Perkins enlisted in the Army in 1990 as a combat medical specialist. He has served as an operations non-commissioned officer in charge at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland; chief wardmaster and first sergeant with the Heidelberg Army Hospital, Miesau, Germany, and the chief medical NCO with 62nd Medical Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Perkins awards include a Bronze Star Medal and Combat Action Badge. He is a member of the Order of the Military Medical Merit.

(Editor's note: John Brooks is the marketing specialist at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital)