FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – Under a stunningly blue Pacific sky, dozens of spectators looked on as Command Sgt. Maj. Fergus J. Joseph became Regional Health Command Pacific’s new senior enlisted advisor during a ceremony at Historic Palm Circle May 9.
Although this is Joseph’s first time assigned to RHC-P, the 25-year Army veteran is no stranger to Hawaii, having once served as first sergeant of the Schofield Barracks Health Clinic, now known as Desmond T. Doss Army Health Clinic.
Joseph expressed his thanks to Brig. Gen. Edward H. Bailey, commanding general of RHC-P, for choosing him as the region’s new senior enlisted advisor.
“I know you had plenty of options to choose from to serve as your sergeant major, and you chose me,” Joseph said. “I want to thank you for this opportunity, because in the Army, all you need is an opportunity to succeed.”
Joseph, a native of St. Lucia, talked about a pivotal moment in his career, a story he shares often.
“When I was a sergeant first class, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes,” he said, “as a platoon sergeant in the 82nd [Airborne Division], and the Army said, ‘no, we want you to go recruit.”
It was while on recruiting duty that Joseph interviewed a prospective recruit who ended up not being qualified to enlist, despite high test scores.
“That made me realize the value of the U.S. Soldier,” Joseph said. “You could be born in America, you could be born in another country, but you have to qualify to join the U.S. Army.”
Joseph said only about one out of every 100 people are qualified to enlist, and Soldiers should remember they represent those who aren’t able to serve.
“Never take the opportunity to lead Soldiers for granted,” Joseph said. “Never take the opportunity to wear this uniform for granted.”
Joseph, whose last assignment was as command sergeant major of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, is coming to RHC-P at a time of significant change, said Bailey.
“Many of you are well aware that Regional Health Command-Pacific is going through two of the largest organizational changes possible, simultaneously,” Bailey said. We’ll reflag and become Medical Readiness Command-Pacific and consolidate the headquarters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Hawaii.”
Bailey said he looks to Joseph to build relationships and establish connections with others to build trust, share ideas, and accomplish the region’s work.
“I called his commander at Landstuhl, and he said, ‘I’m going to miss him, but he is the right person, at the right time, for the job’,” Bailey said, “so I really appreciate that he was so willing to give it up for the Army and do the right thing for Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph.
“We are lucky to have him,” 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 units in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Japan and South Korea.