Joint Base San Antonio, Texas (Nov. 3, 2017) -- Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, the U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command presided over a change of responsibility ceremony for outgoing MEDCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald C. Ecker and incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg, on Nov. 3, at MacArthur Parade Field, Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald C. Ecker has served as the MEDCOM Command Sgt. Maj. since 2014 and previously served as the U.S. Army Public Health Command and U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School Command Sgt. Major.

Reflecting on his time in the U.S. Army, Ecker stated, "Our mission and profession as Soldiers, I can think of none nobler--as I ask all of you on the field to give our Army 100 percent, and then some, for our mission and people, I encourage you to think about why you do it, why you serve. I have always maintained the belief that when the mission is demanding and going gets tough, we fall back on our training and experience, and each other."

"As Soldiers we are often asked to rise to the occasion, our creeds, beliefs, and training enables us to do so. I believe in our mission, our profession, and I believe in you the American Soldier."

Facing retirement, Ecker said, "Today is much like how I felt, in August of 1990, as a young sergeant and senior medic of an airborne infantry rifle company destined for Iraq--maybe a bit restless to rendezvous with destiny, but never doubting my task and purpose, or the will to achieve it. My god and my family give me this will and I could ask for no more, other than the wisdom and strength to continue to serve my family and country, now as a soldier for life, and in a manner that would honor all those who have gone before me and continue to serve."

The incoming, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg will serve as the senior enlisted advisor to Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, the U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command.

"To Lt. Gen. West, your leadership and guidance has postured Army Medicine for the foreseeable future--to date, your inspirational words and calming presence have allowed the AMEDD to endure some of the toughest challenges in a generation. I look forward to forging a relationship and spreading the [Army Medicine] message," said Gragg.

The ceremony at MacArthur Parade Field included the ceremonial passing of the MEDCOM colors to illustrate the passing of responsibility and leadership to the incoming Command Sergeant Major.

Regarding those who praised Gragg on his appointment, "As I embark on this journey, I want to ensure all those people [who offered me praise] that I didn't achieve this by myself, I am nothing but a collage of all the leaders who have invested in me--leaders that have left an indelible mark on me--I truly appreciate all the patience, wisdom, and guidance you have shared with me over the last 28 years."

Prior to his appointment, Gragg held numerous leadership positions including Medical Evacuation NCO, Flight Medic, Department of OBGYN NCOIC, Drill Sergeant, Intelligence NCO, Platoon Sergeant, Operations Sergeant, Forward Support Medical Company First Sergeant, Medical Operations Sergeant, Chief Operations NCO, Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe Command Sergeant Major, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Command Sergeant Major, 32d Medical Brigade Command Sergeant Major, Interim AMEDD Center and School Command Sergeant Major, Sergeant Major U.S. Army Physical Disability Agency, and Command Sergeant Major Center for Initial Military Training, Fort Eustis, Virginia.