MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – Friends tend to follow one another. They trust each other and take each other’s advice. But, they don’t often have the occasion to follow one another in job posts even once, let alone twice. When Madigan Army Medical Center Acting Commander Col. Scott Roofe took the hospital’s Troop Battalion colors from outgoing commander Col. Amy Bird and passed them to incoming commander Lt. Col. Princess Palacios in the battalion’s change of command ceremony in the Medical Mall on June 14, it was the second time these leaders had trod this path.
A handful of years back, Palacios followed Bird as Madigan’s executive officer. Palacios now returns to Madigan from the executive officer post at Regional Health Command-Pacific, which Bird held when it was Western Regional Medical Command.
Madigan’s Troop Battalion is responsible for day-to-day hospital operations serving more than 100,000 active duty service members, retirees and their families. It provides oversight, training and support for more than 1,200 Soldiers including hundreds each year who are at Madigan to complete phase two of their Advanced Individual Training in a variety of medical fields.
As Brig. Gen. Jack Davis and Command Sgt. Maj. Abuoh Neufville, Regional Health Command-Pacific’s commanding general and senior enlisted advisor looked on, Troop Battalion Soldier of the Year Spc. Carin Hemshorn presented the Bird family with thank you gifts and Army Career Counselor of the Year Sgt. 1st Class Jackie Lord gave the Palacios family welcome gifts.
Roofe made special mention that this June 14 is the Army’s 246th birthday, as well as the fact that this ceremony was planned as an outdoor event. But, weather in the Pacific Northwest made an indoor event a wiser choice. Like the weather, life has been less than predictable, of late.
“In every command, we are called upon to meet the unexpected; but, who could have foreseen a historic global pandemic,” noted Roofe.
He also mentioned that 2019, when Bird took command, seems like a lifetime ago with many unanticipated trials since then.
“She's done an incredible job expertly navigating the many challenges of the last year. This Madigan team has benefited greatly from her superb leadership and her ability to successfully confront those challenges head on, all while prioritizing people,” said Roofe.
Roofe pointed out that Bird turned these challenges into opportunities for growth.
“Bird looked at those challenges, as an innovative leader and capitalized on them to successfully increase readiness, build teams and to build relationships,” Roofe said.
Bird not only committed to her own leadership, she mentored others around her as well.
“Amy is committed to the development of leaders and building teams. She shaped and developed a team of leaders in Troop Command and instilled in them the expectation of visible leadership, building the authentic presence of the entire Troop [Battalion] command team throughout this organization. I'm truly grateful for that,” said Roofe.
Roofe offered a special thank you to Bird’s family, picking out her mother who has been at every promotion and change of command ceremony over Bird’s career. Roofe also mentioned that Bird will stay on at Madigan as the interim deputy commanding officer.
“These last 23 months have truly been an honor for me to serve and work alongside some of the hardest working, competent, most resilient individuals I have ever met. I'm so proud to be part of this organization, with so many great leaders,” said Bird. “Any success I have had is directly because of the hard work of our Soldiers standing in front of you and around the room.”
Roofe and Bird both welcomed Palacios back to Madigan in their remarks, with Roofe stating that she has been selected for this command because of her outstanding record of accomplishments.
“Lt. Col. Palacios is not only a competent leader, an accomplished Army Medicine leader, but she's my friend, and I'm so happy to be able to hand this battalion over to her. There's no one that I'd rather pass the pass the guidon to,” added Bird.
Palacios was born on the island of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. She received her bachelor of arts degree in nutrition and her commission as a distinguished military graduate into the Medical Service Corps from the University of Guam. She is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit who has deployed to Iraq.
She came to the ceremony with a sizeable contingent of family and friends supporting her as she stepped into her latest post, saying that she was focused on two sentiments.
“First, I'm truly honored to take command of Troop Battalion on the Army's birthday and Flag Day. Second, I'm blessed to return back to Madigan, to serve its people, and take care of Soldiers in line with the Army's birthday theme of honoring the courage of the American Soldier,” said Palacios. “I'm entrusted with the care and leadership of the Soldiers; I commit to giving them only my best. I'm invigorated and motivated to serve this great team.”