JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS-- Regional Health Command -- Central held a change of command and relinquishment of responsibility ceremony at the Fort Sam Houston Theatre, Thursday, May 31. Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Tempel Jr. passed the reins of command to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey J. Johnson, and Command Sgt. Maj. Tabitha A. Gavia relinquished the responsibility of her office during the early morning ceremony.

During his 30-month tenure as the RHC-C commanding general, Maj. Gen. Tempel created the first ever strategic direct-support relationship with U.S. Army III Corps on Fort Hood, Texas, in an effort to enhance and improve their medical readiness. Establishing a forum to discuss such issues, he led the effort to create the Director of Health Services Coordination Council where the highest levels of leadership across III Corps met to discuss medical readiness issues with the leadership of the medical region in an effort to understand the challenges of medical readiness and develop ways to improve it. This relationship led to the best ever medical readiness in III Corps -- which represents 55 percent of the U.S. Army Forces Command's combat capability. It also serves as the model to current and future MEDCOM leaders on how to integrate with those they support in order to promote Readiness.

Maj. Gen. Tempel also served as the 27th chief of the U.S. Army Dental Corps, following in the footsteps of his father, Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Tempel, Sr., the 21st Dental Corps Chief.

"There is no greater honor for an officer than to lead our military and civilian personnel serving our Nation," Maj. Gen. Tempel said during his speech, "and it has been incredible to be part of so many ceremonies and command teams in the last 15 years."

Command Sgt. Maj. Tabitha A. Gavia, focused on both the professional development of her NCOs as well as the needs of the Army, and developed a process to personally ensure that all Regional Combat Medics were recertified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Her diligence has ensured that RHC-C has maintained a 100 percent recertification rate every year. She will continue to mentor and train Soldiers in her new assignment as the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.

Maj. Gen. Tempel also thanked Command Sgt. Maj. Gavia during his speech, praising her love of the Soldiers and civilians in the RHC-C units, and her honest council and support over the past two years.

Incoming Commanding General Brig. Gen. Johnson is the former deputy commanding general of RHC-C and commanding general of Brooke Army Medical Center. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate from Evangel College in Springfield, Mo., and he graduated from medical school at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Co. He completed his residency training in family medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center, and he is a Board Certified Fellow in Family Medicine.

At the end of his remarks, Brig. Gen. Johnson thanked Lt. Gen. West for her confidence in him as Military Medicine continues to support the multi-dimensional battlescape.

"It is truly a privilege to be able to lead this organization through change," Brig. Gen. Johnson said. "I am blessed to have such a remarkable team of talented and dedicated health care professionals working to solve some of the military's toughest medical challenges."

RHC-C is the Army's largest geographical medical region, with 12 military treatment facilities and 44 dental clinics across 20 states, as well as 29 public health and veterinarian facilities on each military installation within their geographic footprint. The 21,643 medical professionals and staff, both military and civilian, of RHC-C care for 583,901 beneficiaries.