FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Dental Clinic Command welcomed a new commander during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum June 29.

Lt. Col. Lewis R. Wayt, assumed command of the dental clinic from Lt. Col. Chun Y. Chan as he accepted the dental unit colors from Col. Grant A. Perrine, U.S. Army Dental Health Activity commander, who also presided over the ceremony to welcome the new commander and say farewell to the former.

"[Chan] has taken this unit to new heights," said Perrine. "He has led the Fort Rucker Dental Clinic Command with skill, taking outstanding results for all dental parameters.

"Colonel Rusty Wayt, you have big shoes to fill, but I hear you have big feet," he said. "He is an experienced leader. He has had multiple OIC positions, to include his last assignment at West Point. He was one of our bright, comprehensive dentists, and like Colonel Chan, has put his knowledge to work in an operational deployment."

Wayt was commissioned as a captain into the U.S. Army Dental Corps after his graduation from the University of Oklahoma, College of Dentistry, with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2002.

He's served in multiple assignments across the U.S. from Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Story, Virginia, to Fort Gordon, Georgia, and West Point, New York. He was also deployed with the 502nd Dental Company for 12 months to Forward Operating Base Endurance, Iraq, from 2005-2006.

"I want to thank my chain of command for their faith in me and giving me the opportunity to lead this organization," said Wayt. "Colonel Chan, thank you for the exceptional handoff in these last two weeks. I've seen the results of your hard work and leadership, and your commitment to readiness and patient safety."

The result of that commitment includes taking dental readiness on Fort Rucker to 99 percent, well above the DENTAC goal of 95 percent, according to Perrine.

"Even more impressive is the 14-percent increase in dental wellness," said the Dental Health Activity commander. "He also decreased access care time from four weeks to a mere two days -- far exceeding the 21-day goal. He and his team have accomplished much in a relatively short period of time."

Chan said the success of DENTAC wasn't from a single person's success, but hard work from the team.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in my unit for helping me achieve great success the last two years," said the outgoing commander. "Together not only did we meet all performance measures mandated by MEDCOM, we actually ran above and beyond, and achieved the second highest dental readiness in the Atlantic region.

"I would like all of you to give [Wayt] the same support you have given me," he said during the ceremony, "and I have no doubt he will bring Fort Rucker Dental Clinic Command to the next high level of success."

Perrine shared Chan's vote of confidence.

"I'm confident that [the Wayts] will be fully engaged in the Fort Rucker community," he said. "My challenge to you, Rusty, is this -- to make this organization even better. Your guidance will inspire others to the tenets of high reliability of the organization, and you will serve those you lead."