FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii (June 20, 2018) -- Regional Health Command-Pacific (RHC-P) has a new commanding general.

Brig. Gen. Dennis LeMaster assumed command of RHC-P from Brig. Gen. Bertram Providence during a change of command ceremony today at Palm Circle on Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

The Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command, Lt. Gen. Nadja West, presided over the mid-morning ceremony, emphasizing the command's unique position in the Pacific.

"RHC-Pacific oversees Army Medicine in the most geographically dispersed regional health command in our Army as a significant part of our Joint Health Services enterprise, spanning an area that encompasses about half of the earth's surface, stretching from California to Alaska and Korea to Japan," West said.

During her remarks, West acknowledged the team's achievements and projected RHC-P's continued significance to the enterprise.

"By ensuring maximum participation in training opportunities that promote interoperability between the Army, sister services and our allies and partners, RHC-Pacific has fostered vital relationships that will continue to be an integral part of the joint health services enterprise far into the future," she said.

West also highlighted Providence's achievements over the past two years.

"Brig. Gen. Providence was able to not only provide the highest quality medical care, but also ensured ready and responsive medical capabilities were available to the RHC-Pacific supported commands. Most notably, under Brig. Gen. Providence's leadership, RHC-Pacific has been instrumental in providing the support to increase the overall readiness posture for Korea's 'Fight Tonight' mission," West said.

The surgeon general also echoed, Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley's comments that readiness is the number one priority and that there is no other number one.

"Brig. Gen. Providence did not take this lightly, and he understood how to operationalize that for Army Medicine in the Pacific," she said.

Providence, who is set to retire Oct. 31 after 27 years of service, extended his thanks to the team for the enduring support during his time in command.

"This day would not be possible without the help of numerous people. I've been fortunate to have some great teammates so I'm here today because of them," Providence said.

RHC-P's outgoing commander, who is remembered among team members as an avid reader, also reflected upon his time in command with a quote from scripture, saying, "I fought the good fight, I kept the faith, I finished the race," Providence said.

West also provided her endorsement of LeMaster, who previously served as the commanding general of Regional Health Command-Europe, Landstuhl, Germany.

"Dennis brings with him a perspective that will prove to be extremely valuable. The enterprise will rely heavily on his experience in leading in the joint environment and on his expertise in synchronizing warfighter medical readiness and medical force readiness with the delivery of high-quality medical care in a complex environment," she said.

Addressing the audience for the first time as RHC-P commanding general, LeMaster praised the achievements his predecessor and the command as a whole.

"I must share that I have admired from afar the many accomplishments of RHC-P and have been extremely impressed by this high-performing team and its high standard for excellence. We will continue to build upon the magnificent work that has been forged upon the anvil of experience, vision, clarity of thought and unity of effort," LeMaster said.

RHC-P's newest commander also shared his thoughts for the team's next steps together.

"Our focus will be readiness. We will remain intimately nested with Army Medicine's guiding principles of being premier, expeditionary and globally integrated as we support INDOPACOM and U.S. Army Pacific forces, as part of the joint health enterprise," he said.

Col. Laura Trinke, RHC-P chief of staff, reflected upon the unique opportunity that a change of command brings in renewing the team's focus on readiness.

"A new commanding general challenges us to continue assessing how we support readiness to ensure we never become complacent in providing a medically ready force and a ready medical force," Trinkle said.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, LeMaster and Sgt. Maj. Larry Reyes, RHC-P's acting senior enlisted advisor, furled the colors. RHC-P, a split command headquarters, will hold an uncasing ceremony July 6 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to formally move the commanding general and command sergeant major positions from Hawaii to Washington state, where LeMaster will be assigned.

Subsequently, the deputy commanding general positon, currently located at JBLM, will move to RHC-P in Hawaii following the uncasing ceremony.

About RHC-P:

RHC-P orchestrates the delivery of world-class medical care for Service Members, Families, and eligible beneficiaries; provides medical readiness and diplomacy in support of U.S. Army Pacific in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility.