By Mr. John Brooks (Army Medicine)December 17, 2019
Command Sgt. Maj. Joy Bascos assumed responsibility Dec. 13, 2019, as the new General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Command Sergeant Major, replacing retiring GLWACH Command Sgt. Maj. Peter P. Perkins.
Hospital Commander, Col. Kimberlie A. Biever, welcomed Bascos and assured her this was going to be a great tour for her and her daughter.
"You're joining a team of highly skilled medical professionals," Biever said. "We look forward to working with you as you take charge of our Soldiers."
Bascos and her daughter, Trinity, came to Fort Leonard Wood from Dental Health Command-Atlantic, based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where Bascos was assigned as the Sergeant Major for the Regional Dental Command, responsible for Soldiers located in more than 12 different U.S. states and territories.
"This is both a sad and happy occasion as we say goodbye and farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Peter Perkins, and welcome Command Sgt. Maj. Joy Bascos as our new Command Sergeant Major," Biever said.
Perkins will retire from active duty June 30, 2020, "almost thirty years to the day," Perkins said. He and his wife Gisela, and children Jeffrey, Elena, Timothy, and granddaughter Chloe, will be staying in the area as he begins an internship with Phelps Health in Rolla, Missouri, to be the Assistant Director of Facilities Safety there.
"It's always hard for me to host a retirement ceremony because it always means I have to say farewell to one of my Army friends, and today that's hard to do," Biever said.
Biever thanked Perkins for his counsel, friendship, mentor-ship, and calm demeanor.
"He comes to life when he is in front of Soldiers, and it's always such a pleasure to see that," Biever said. "Thank you for being fair to each and every one of our Soldiers, and thank you for keeping track of me for the last 18 months--I know that's a full-time job," Biever joked.
Perkins spoke about his life's journey and expressed his gratitude to GLWACH leaders.
"It is with great humility and honor that I stand here today," Perkins said. "I'm just a small-town boy from Vermont who has lived his dream of traveling the world as an Army Soldier."
Perkins thanked his family and friends for their support and for travelling a great distance to attend the event.
"A person's core values are ingrained during their childhood. We try to teach them in the Army, but your true values--what's in your core--you learn from your parents, and I really want to thank my Father for teaching me what right looks like, and to always do the hard right instead of the easy wrong," Perkins said. "Thanks Dad. I love you."
Perkins recognized the sacrifices of his children.
"They deserve special recognition. They didn't sign-up to be in the Army, they were born into it, but they sacrificed for their country just as their parents did. They had to…pick-up, move and make new friends every few years. They learned how it feels when their parents missed a school play, sports event, recital, birthday, or holiday because of work, field exercises, or deploying to a distant place in the world. They understand how hard it is to be an Army family member, especially when the Army is at war," Perkins said as he described his family's bond to each other. "Their support to the family is the very reason their parents served. Kids, I Love you, and am forever thankful for your support.
"Gisela, we started this journey together as a couple of newly married Specialists back in 1993, and you've sacrificed so much to stay with me during all these years. No one is quicker to offer a helping hand when they see someone struggling, and your ability of creating normalcy no matter where the Army moves us is uncanny. I could not have done this without you, and I am forever inspired by your courage and determination," Perkins said. "I love you and can't wait to see what lies in our next chapter in life."
Perkins thanked the officer, non-commissioned officer, and civilian GLWACH leaders for taking care of Soldiers and families, and expressed his appreciation for their daily engaged leadership and mission focus.
Perkins thanked Col. Christian Meko, GLWACH's commander prior to Biever, as well as Biever, for trusting him to taking care of GLWACH's Soldiers and families.
"COL Biever and I go back a few years, and deployments, but I could not think of a better battle buddy to end my career with," Perkins said. "Your leadership, dedication, and personal sacrifice to keep our hospital operating and relevant within the Military Health System are unparalleled. You and Luigi are a phenomenal command team and GLWACH is in better shape for having you as our commander," Perkins said.
Perkins said his recruiter recommended he memorize his three general orders prior to leaving home for basic training.
"Three decades later, those orders haven't changed. They are still just as relevant today to my position and my responsibilities," Perkins said. "The most important one has always been general order number one, to me, as I performed my duties.
General order number one reads, "I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved."
"As I end this Army chapter, I have one last request," Perkins said, raising his hand to salute the hospital commander. "Ma'am, Command Sgt. Maj. Perkins requests permission to be relieved from his post."
"Permission granted," Biever said, standing and returning his salute.
Bascos congratulated Perkins and his family, thanked them for their dedicated service, and wished them blessings in their future endeavors as they begin their next chapter in life.
"I am truly honored to commence another journey as a member of this organization. I am committed to shaping the future through readiness and healthcare for the Army's leading training post and our beneficiaries," Bascos said. "To my new battle buddy, Col. Biever, your priorities are my priorities. I look forward to working beside you."
Bascos thanked her father, her fiancé and her daughter for their love and support and for making the journey to attend the ceremony.
"GLWACH--let's rock," Bascos said.