FORT HOOD, Texas--Command Sgt. Maj. Kyle Brunell relinquished responsibility as senior enlisted advisor of Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center during a virtual ceremony June 9 at the MEDCEN here.
Brunell has been selected as the next command sergeant major of Regional Health Command, Europe in Sembach, Germany. Brunell was chosen by Brig. Gen. Mark Thompson, former CRDAMC commander (2015-17) and now RHC-E commander.
Brunell’s Relinquishment of Responsibility ceremony was not held in the traditional setting with formations of troops and large crowds of visitors, but rather the ceremony was shortened with minimal attendance and streamed live to comply with social distancing protocols currently in place.
In his speech, CRDAMC Commander, Col. Richard Malish, acknowledged how the events of the last few months have presented all of us with great challenges and forever changed how we will operate going forward.
“We’re facing difficult times, a time of challenges and changes as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic and also navigate major military health system reform,” Malish said. “It’s times like these where strong leadership skills are needed to lead the team to success. I believe Brunell has all the attributes of the most influential and powerful leaders and because of these traits, I as a commander and we as a community have relied on him heavily.”
When COVID-19 spread to the Fort Hood community, Malish said the hospital had to immediately mobilize to respond to the pandemic.
“Crisis really reveals an organization’s true ‘go-to’ teammates to get things done and Kyle (Brunell) was mine,” Malish said. “I just made a ‘we need’ declaration and he would make it happen. I said we need screeners at the entrance, and the next day there they were. I said we need drive-through testing capability, and then it ‘magically’ appeared. The organizational power of this sergeant major cannot be overstated. Thank you, Kyle, for your leadership and commitment to this team. We look forward to seeing the heights to which you will climb.”
Brunell also spoke about the Covid-19 Pandemic and how its related challenges dominated the hospital’s mission and dictated its operations. He also shared how the turn of events changed his original speech that he began formulating when he was selected for his new position in February.
"There are so many successes and achievements that would have filled that speech—such as hosting the regional command’s Best Warrior competition, having both the MEDCOM Soldier of the Year and the EO NCO of the year and having the regional command’s Career Counselor of the Year,” Brunell said. “I also thought this speech would be focused on the DHA transition and how we’re going to change Army medicine as we further divest healthcare delivery to the network and focus on operational medicine.”
But then the pandemic hit and the medical facility’s focus suddenly shifted. Now he said he would be amiss if he didn’t speak to how the Soldiers and civilians of CRDAMC responded to this crisis.
“I couldn’t be prouder of how we all came together as a team. We didn't miss a beat. From the hasty stand up of the respiratory infection clinic to the purposely planned drive through, our team continues to shine. Watching the ICU in action, both outpatient and inpatient coming together to battle the virus was amazing,” Brunell said. “I'm a little saddened that I won't be here to help guide this organization through the times ahead, but I know you will persevere and come out as an even stronger team.”