JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Medical command teams from across the Pacific region gathered Sept. 12 to 13 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Regional Health Command-Pacific Commanders' Symposium.

Brig. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, commanding general, RHC-P, and the symposium's host, said he wanted the commanders and command sergeants major -- many of whom recently took command or responsibility over the summer -- together early in their tenure. Command teams traveled to Washington from Alaska, Hawaii, Japan and Korea to participate in the collaborative event.

"This is our chance to come together and huddle," he said. "We have a lot going on in our region … it's huge what we do."

RHC-P is geographically the Army's largest regional health command, with an operational space that spans across 36 countries that make up 17 percent of the world's land mass and contains 60 percent of the world's population.

LeMaster began the symposium by addressing the diverse and complex mission set across the RHC-P footprint that includes health care delivery but also includes enabling medical readiness for events as wide ranging as potential conflicts in RHC-P's area of responsibility to relief efforts and humanitarian assistance for possible natural disasters.

"Setting the theater" -- or making sure the region has the right ready medical forces and medically ready forces is a top priority for the command, he said, particularly in its support of Army Medicine, U.S. Army Pacific and Indo-Pacific Command.

"We are one team; we are the Gordian Knot of the medical community, interwoven in some form or fashion in health care delivery and health readiness for MEDCOM and USARPAC," LeMaster said.

During the two-day symposium, about 50 attendees worked together to refine the RHC-P campaign plan, while also participating in sessions on operationalizing readiness, rapid hiring, leader development, performance planning, the new Department of Defense electronic health record MHS GENESIS, and congressional updates on the National Defense Authorization Acts of 2017 and 2019.

RHC-P's Command Sgt. Maj. Clark Charpentier reminded attendees, however, that while working on the strategic level, they must always keep the warrior in mind.

"Always remember, the warrior is the centerpiece of what we do, but also that it is a privilege to lead; it is not something that is given to any one of us lightly," he said.

Leading the medical community to success is exactly what LeMaster hopes the command teams will continue to do after the symposium.

"We need to lead up as a joint medical community to assist INDO-PACOM with a coherent medical plan across the theater," he said. This is a big undertaking, and everybody here has a role in it."