FORT BLISS, Texas - Soldiers and civilians attended the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program graduation ceremony at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, on June 19. The ceremony was held on the Northeast Lawn of the hospital campus, a change made to accommodate social distancing and COVID-19 measures.The most visible change was the lack of families and friends filling the stands ready to cheer on their graduate as his or her name was called. In addition to the location change, participants wore masks for safety to celebrate this momentous occasion while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. As a result, WBAMC, understanding the importance of this achievement, provided families and friends the opportunity to watch through a virtual live stream and cheer from home.Graduates completed program requirements for American Council for Graduate Medical Education accredited residencies in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, or a Transitional Year Internship. The Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Certified Registered Nursing Anesthesia also meet the exacting standards required to be accredited by their professional organizations."These trainees have endured a taxing one to six years of training working up to 80 hours a week to achieve their current competency to practice as independent credentialed providers. This journey includes, for some, four years of college, four years of medical school, and then six years of specialty training” said Dr. John Schriver, chief, GME, WBAMC.“Thank you God, for allowing my life to be a testimony to your uncommon favor! This four year Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Residency has been rigorous, and has pushed me to become very comfortable, with being uncomfortable,” said Maj. Shakasha Scruggs-Williams, who will continue her medical career at WBAMC.After graduation the residents and interns will serve in various staff assignments, begin fellowship programs, or continue residency programs at WBAMC.Graduating as a distinguished grad filled her heart with joy, said Scruggs-Williams. Despite COVID-19, she felt the love and support of her family and friends as they reached out over social media to congratulate her on her accomplishments. “There is no amount of social distancing that can impede love,” she added.“Some will continue on to further specialty training and many will join the rank and file of Army Physicians, “said Schriver, a native of Anderson, South Carolina, “They have all sacrificed their time, often relying on the support of friends and loved ones, to achieve this goal. We are all tremendously proud of them as they become the future of Army Medicine.”Rep. Dan Crenshaw served as guest speaker. Because of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, he sent the graduates a video message expressing his words of encouragement and gratitude for their dedication and sacrifice.“Today we graduated the future of Army Medicine. Our programs train the essential and critical skills for the current and future battlefield” said Schriver.