JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Historic Watkins Field here was the site July 26 as Regional Health Command-Pacific received its new commanding general.
Brig. Gen. Edward H. Bailey accepted the colors of the Army’s most geographically-dispersed medical command from its outgoing leader, Brig. Gen. Jack M. Davis.
Dozens of spectators looked on under a clear blue Pacific Northwest sky as Command Sgt. Maj. Abuoh Neufville, the RHC-P command sergeant major, passed the region’s colors to Davis for the last time.
Davis then passed the guidon to Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, Army Surgeon General and commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command, who passed them to Bailey as a symbol of Dingle’s trust and confidence in Bailey’s ability to command.
Bailey in turn transferred the colors back to Neufville, charging him with maintaining the symbol of the command.
Dingle, who presided over the event, in his remarks spoke of how leadership shows during times of crisis and challenge.
“General Matthew Ridgway once said, ‘never have members of any military command had a greater challenge than we, or a finer opportunity to show ourselves and our people at their best, and thus do honor to the profession of arms and those brave men and women who bred us’,” Dingle said.
“And today, we just witnessed one of the Army’s greatest and most honorable traditions at its best,” he said, “As General Davis relinquished command of the region by passing the colors to General Bailey.”
Dingle expressed confidence in both general officers and thanked them for their leadership during a time of unprecedented challenges for Army Medicine.
“Jack and Ned, I know both of you, and you both indeed have done honor to the profession of arms,” Dingle said.
Davis, who also serves as chief of the Army Nurse Corps, had been with the region since July 2019, when he came on board as its deputy commanding general. Last August, he became RHC-P’s commanding general.
“A little over two years ago, I joined this incredible team as its deputy commanding general,” Davis said. “Last August, I was fortunate enough to become the commanding general, and Jacquie and I made the move from Hawaii to JBLM.
“But, you know, time goes by fast in the Army,” he added. “Little did I know that in just under a year, we’d be here again, this time saying goodbye.”
Davis talked about the accomplishments made by the region over the last 18 months, positive strides made in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and RHC-P’s capacity for getting things done.
“Our ability to provide critical support at home and around the world ensures that our forces remain medically ready and our beneficiaries stay safe and healthy,” Davis said. “Our region’s mission has never been more important than it is today.”
Davis, a former armor and Special Forces officer who’s been part of the Army Medical Department since 1989, is headed to Washington, D.C., where his next assignment will be as director of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and deputy director of the National Capital Region Market of the Defense Health Agency. He’ll also continue to serve as chief of the Army Nurse Corps.
Bailey, a family medicine physician, comes to RHC-P from his most recent assignment as command surgeon of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Bailey also previously commanded the 18th Medical Command in Hawaii, one of RHC-P’s former direct-reporting units.
“Back then, it was widely known that this region routinely set standards and led the way for multiple Army Medicine efforts in support of our operational units,” Bailey said, “while making tremendous impacts in global health throughout the Indo-PACOM region.”
Bailey began his Army career as an enlisted Soldier, serving for three years as a combat medic with the 82nd Airborne Division before attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. After commissioning in 1993, he attended medical school at the Uniformed Services University.
Bailey said he was impressed by the remarkable response efforts RHC-P contributed during the global fight against COVID-19, despite Army Medicine’s health care mission shifting to the DHA later this year.
“Equally impressive has been the exceptional work accomplished during these times of unprecedented transformation across the Army and military medicine in support of the Defense Health Agency transition, and MEDCOM’s pivot to readiness,” he said.
“I’m honored to have this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to meeting and serving alongside each and every one of you,” Bailey added.
Regional Health Command-Pacific, headquartered at JBLM and in Honolulu, is the most geographically-dispersed command in Army Medicine, stretching more than 5,000 miles and five time zones across the Pacific.
The command oversees Army medical treatment facilities and units in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, Japan and South Korea.