By Randy Murray, Fort Stewart Public AffairsJuly 16, 2009
FORT STEWART, GA-- Col. John P. Collins, former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, turned over the reins of Winn Army Community Hospital, Hawk and Tuttle Medical Clinics and the Warrior Transition Battalion to Col. Paul R. Cordts during a formal change of command ceremony held at Marne Garden, July 10.
Prior to the official change of command ceremony, Col. Collins was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal by Brig. Gen. Donald M. Bradshaw, commanding general Southeast Regional Medical Command and Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
Following the official ceremony, Stewart-Hunter senior commander, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo told guests they were in the best place to get sick, given the number of doctors, nurses, physician's assistants and medical technicians attending the ceremony.
He said he had been feeling a little sore and achy following Physical Training, but as soon as he approached Marne Garden, the "force field" of healthiness exuded by all the medical professionals caused him to feel better right away. Maj. Gen. Cucolo then welcomed the Collins and Cordts Family Members, singling out Col. Collins' father, Dr. Jack Collins, who served as a corporal during the Korean War.
Also on-hand for the change of command was Maj. Gen. Cucolo's wife, Ginger; Brig. Gen. Bradshaw; Brig. Gen. Thomas Vandal, deputy commanding general, support; Brig. Gen. Patrick Donahue, deputy commanding general, maneuver; Col. Thomas James, chief of staff; Col. Kevin Milton, garrison commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Irizarry, MEDDAC command sergeant major for Stewart-Hunter; and Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin, garrison command sergeant.
Local mayors and political leaders also attended the ceremony.
Major General Cucolo highlighted some of Col. Collins' achievements during his two years as Stewart-Hunter's MEDDAC commander, including establishing Patient and Family-Centered Care, completing a new MRI facility and adding an additional 1,000 square feet to Winn Army Community Hospital.
Brigadier General Bradshaw commended Col. Collins and congratulated him on his new assignment at Fort Lewis, then he welcomed Col. Cordts and Family to the southeast region.