By Fort Knox TurretApril 6, 2007
Fort Knox's deputy commanding general was selected Friday to become the new deputy commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, announced Friday that Knox's Brig. Gen. Michael Tucker will be part of the extensive leadership changes at Walter Reed, which has come under public scrutiny after reports of dilapidated barracks and medical care qualities issues were brought to light by The Washington Post.
Tucker, who spent seven years as an enlisted cavalry scout before becoming a career armor officer, has served as Knox's deputy commander since July. Before arriving at Fort Knox, he served as assistant division commander for the 1st Armored Division.
Tucker will join Col. Terrence McKenrick, slated to command the newly-formed Wounded Warrior Transition Brigade, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Hartless, the brigade's senior NCO, on a team created to help wounded Soldiers navigate the sometimes-complicated bureaucracy of military health care.
"(Tucker's) going to be the guy that we look to to be the Soldiers' and families' advocate as they go through inpatient and outpatient," Cody said. "But he's also going to be the 'bureaucratic buster'... and take on this bureaucracy that sometimes frustrates our Soldiers."
"I am honored to assume this noble mission for our Soldiers and their faithful families," Tucker said. "They have been injured fighting the enemy overseas and they shouldn't have to return to the states to fight the system."
Cody said Tucker's experience commanding combat units will help iron out administrative and leadership issues at Walter Reed.
"He understands Soldiers. He understands leading in combat. He understands how to run large organizations," Cody said.
"There is a medical piece to it, but it's more about first sergeant duties, platoon sergeant duties, and we have people that know how to do that.
"We have a depth in our Army right now to be able to put combat-arms noncommissioned officers and officers to do that duty, to free up our medical service corps professionals... to take care of the medical side of this."
"I came from a position where I was busy fighting the global war on terror," Tucker told The Turret in July, shortly after arriving at Fort Knox. "In the 1st Armored Division, we were busy preparing for war and sending formations down range."
At Walter Reed, Tucker will use that expertise to supervise the reorganization of the hospitals Med-Hold units, and to guide injured Soldiers through the recovery or medical retirement process.
"This is a big job, and I understand the change in paradigm this brings-to have a combat arms officer assigned as the deputy commanding general of the Army's largest medical center," Tucker said. "I hope I'll bring exactly what the Army leadership was looking for."
"There is no higher priority in our United States Army, and in our nation for that matter, than the well-being of our Soldiers, whether that well-being is down range in combat, back at home camps and stations preparing to go to combat, and certainly, those Soldiers who have borne the burden of combat and have come back to our medical system," Cody said.
Tucker said he and his family have enjoyed the time they've spent at Fort Knox.
"(My wife) Teresa and I have loved our time at Fort Knox," he said. "We felt at home from the beginning and the community welcomed us with open arms.
"Fort Knox is a family, and we'll miss it here."