By Eric Pilgrim | Fort Knox NewsSeptember 24, 2019
FORT KNOX, Kentucky -- Several health care personnel from U.S. Army Medical Activity Fort Knox, Ireland Army Health Clinic and surrounding communities celebrated the start of autumn in Waybur Theater Sept. 23 with a changing of the guard.
Hosted by Col. Hugh McLean Jr., commander of Fort Knox MEDDAC and IRAHC, hundreds witnessed Command Sgt. Maj. A.J. Santos relinquish the burgundy MEDDAC colors to Command Sgt. Maj. Johnnathan Quave after serving nearly two years in his role as senior enlisted advisor.
"Sergeant Maj. Santos has been a force to be reckoned with during his 23 months at Ireland," said McLean. "There are far too many accomplishments for me to talk about unless you would like to be here all day."
McLean briefly explained how instrumental Santos was during some big transitions at Ireland, including construction of a new facility and shifting thousands of veterans to the civilian network, as well as annual medical support to more than 15,000 cadets and cadre during Cadet Summer Training.
McLean also credited Santos' leadership and tenacity for IRAHC earning the Army Safety and Occupational Health Star and safety streamer in 2018, something achieved to date by roughly 24% of the Army's medical treatment facilities.
Santos and his family travel to Fort Carson, Colorado, for his next assignment. Quave and his wife arrived here from an assignment in Hawaii.
McLean dubbed Quave "John Q" at the ceremony and said he was confident in Quave's ability to take the over the senior enlisted advisor role. Quave's experience includes two tours of duty in Iraqi during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"Although Sgt. Maj. Quave has some big shoes to fill, as you can see he's spent many months in the gym and is more than ready to assume those big shoes," said Mclean.
Santos took the opportunity to praise "foremost the Lord Jesus Christ," "the MEDDAC family" and his wife Patricia for his accomplishments.
"I can't believe how these 23 months have gone by so fast. I guess it's like the saying goes, 'Time flies when you're having fun,'" said Santos. "But in all seriousness, it has truly been an honor to serve as the MEDDAC command sergeant major."
Santos then encouraged the unit members to keep up the work.
Quave thanked Santos for welcoming him and his wife Jennifer to the Fort Knox community. He also encouraged the IRAHC community to maintain the successes earned under Santos' leadership.
"Colonel McLean, I look forward to serving with you. I look forward to all our future engagements as we constantly strive to improve readiness and maintain the focus of delivering outstanding health care for our Soldiers and beneficiaries," said Quave. "Sergeant Maj. Santos was spot on when he said he couldn't ask for a better team."