By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJuly 14, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory welcomed a new commander during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum July 7.
Col. Jonathan C. Taylor assumed command from Col. Richard G. Malish as the organizational colors changed hands from the outgoing commander to Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb, U.S. Army Medical Research Material Command commanding general, to Taylor.
Holcomb presided over the ceremony, thanked Malish for his dedication to the USAARL team and gave Taylor her full vote of confidence.
"Thank you for your hard work, your leadership and your dedication," she said to Malish during the ceremony. "I know you'll continue to do great things … and as we celebrate the accomplishments of Colonel Malish, we have the privilege of welcoming another great leader to USAARL.
"He's an accomplished family physician," said the general. "Craig, as I'm sure you can already tell, you're inheriting an exceptional group of men and women, and I'm confident that you will lead them with great thought and temperament on the way forward."
Taylor comes to Fort Rucker with a wealth of knowledge from numerous assignments, including division surgeon for the 10th Mountain Division, officer in charge for the Womack Army Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Clinic, assistant program director for the Womack Army Medical Center, executive officer to the deputy surgeon general and special assistant to the surgeon general.
He's also served in multiple deployments, including as the forward detachment commander in support of Multinational Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan; clinic commander for Buedingen Health Clinic, Germany; and has deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
With numerous assignments under his belt, Taylor said he's ready to take on the job to continue the efforts and legacy of his predecessor.
"It is my absolute honor and privilege to join this outstanding organization with a long and noteworthy history of providing innovative and groundbreaking research that benefits the Aviator and the warfighter," he said. "Colonel Malish, you've set a high bar, my friend. It's easy to see and recognize the transformative leadership that you have brought to USAARL.
"During our handover, I could not have been more impressed with your forward thinking and strategic vision for the lab, so thank you very much for all you have done. I will strive to shepherd that vision during my tenure."
During his time as commander, Malish improved the productivity of the laboratory by streamlining internal processes, increasing output by a factor of three, said Holcomb, and he led the laboratory in groundbreaking research on the aeromedical, psychological, behavioral and neurocognitive effects on health, performance, safety and effectiveness in the Aviation operational environment. He also oversaw the testing and evaluation of aeromedical evacuation and injury protection equipment.
Malish said those accomplishments would not have been possible without the efforts of the entire USAARL team, and said that he confidently believes Taylor will be able to continue to lead the team to greater heights.
"Craig is a phenomenal clinician, phenomenal teacher, a great officer and outstanding leader," said the outgoing commander. "His attention to detail in this transition has been awesome -- he is the perfect choice for USAARL.
"USAARL has the capability, the process, the administration and, with Col. Craig Taylor, the leadership to produce great products in a timely manner," he continued. "USAARL must continue to do this for the warfighter. I was honored to be on this team for the past two years, and I cannot wait to see what this remarkable team will do next."