Medical Department Activity -- Alaska welcomed its new command sergeant major during a change of responsibility ceremony Oct. 10 held at the Ft. Wainwright Physical Fitness Center. Command Sgt. Maj. Jesus R. Rios assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Uriah S. Popp who is reporting to Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg.

Col. Christopher G. Jarvis, Commander MEDDAC-AK served as the commanding officer, presiding over the ceremony. Jarvis spoke of the many contributions Popp made during his tenure, highlighting his focus on the commander's top three priorities of readiness, dignity and respect, and process improvement and innovation.

"You [Popp] focused this organization on basic soldier readiness through your active involvement in the development and execution of various readiness programs in this organization," Jarvis said. "You implemented the MEDDAC-AK combatives program, regularly participated in ruck marches with Soldiers, and helped train Soldiers on the range."

Jarvis also credited Popp for taking ownership and giving leadership to the organization in the area of process improvement and innovation.

"As MEDDAC Alaska began to implement the Lean Six Sigma principles last August and had our first lean leader's course, you ensured that NCO's and enlisted Soldiers were heavily represented in the lean leader's course and embraced the concepts of process improvement," said Jarvis.

In addition to these initiatives, Popp led the way in maintaining dignity and respect standards within the formation.

"You also ensured we treated others with dignity and respect by taking care of our Soldiers and civilians," said Jarvis. You were a strong proponent for the fair recognition of Soldiers and staff achievements via all available award programs,"

While Jarvis hailed the accomplishments of Popp, he also reassured the formation that they were still in good hands.

"With all leadership changes in the Army, we may be losing one phenomenal NCO leader, but we are replacing him with another exceptional and proven leader," said Jarvis.

"Sgt. Maj. Rios, I know you will bring new ideas and emphasis on new issues that will continue to allow MEDDAC Alaska to set the standard for MEDCOM," said Jarvis. "I have true trust and confidence in you and look forward to watching you lead this fine organization into the future."

Rios, who previously served as the Chief Medical NCO for 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas addressed the audience and spoke of the reputation MEDDAC-AK has earned within the MEDCOM.
"MEDDAC Alaska has the outstanding reputation of providing high quality healthcare through teamwork to ensure a globally ready force," said Rios. "Therefore I am truly humbled to be serving as the next Command Sgt. Major of this great organization."

"To the Officers, NCO's, Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members of this great organization, I look forward to providing you with my experience, guidance, mentorship and to working together towards mission success, continuing to be a high reliability organization --fully trusted, innovative and integrated within our community."