627th HC welcomes new commander

By Rick Emert, Fort Carson Public Affairs OfficeMay 26, 2023

627th HC welcomes new commander
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Col. Tracy Michael, commander of the 1st Medical Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, passes the 627th Hospital Center guidon to Col. Jay A. McFarland, signifying his assumption of command of the unit in a change of command ceremony June 22, 2023, at the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center. (Photo Credit: Rick Emert) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Col. Jay A. McFarland assumed command of the 627 Hospital Center from Col. Steven A. Knapp in a change of command ceremony May 22 at the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center.

Col. Tracy Michael, commander of the 1st Medical Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, presided over the ceremony. He welcomed McFarland as the new commander.

“We know that a command tour is a finite privilege,” Michael said. “In the loss of one great leader, the unit can only hope to receive a comparable replacement. The strength of the Army is that we don’t hire leaders, we grow them, and that is what enables us today to hand off this command to another dedicated and competent leader. Col. Jay McFarland, the baton is now passed to you. I have the utmost confidence that you and this team, the 627th Hospital Center, will continue to excel. You bring a profound set of skills and experience to serve the Spartan medic team and this community extremely well.

“Jay, I charge you with these three things. First, lead them – take good care of the Soldiers, civilians and their Families and lead them well. Next, train them – help train a disciplined Soldier that can fight and win with an ultimate expression of people first. Lastly to train for war and, if necessary, go to war I charge you to ensure that the Spartan medics stay ready, so they don’t have to get ready.”

McFarland’s most recent assignment was in the Command Surgeon’s Directorate at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Space Force Base.

“I fully understand the privilege of taking command of this storied organization and humbly accept the responsibility,” McFarland said. “To the Soldiers of the 627th Hospital Center, I look forward to serving both with and for you and your Families. Know that I am sincere when I tell you that there is no place I would rather be. Continue to take care of yourselves, you Families and each other You are each a valued member of the Spartan medic team.”

Knapp spoke of the 627th Hospital Center’s Soldiers and their high level of training and service.

“The most important thing that the Army has is people, and standing in front of you are tremendous Soldiers. They are standing here with pride, but they are also led (to or with) pride,” Knapp said.

“It’s tremendously important that the Soldiers in harm’s way get to have that immediate care. That’s what the Soldiers in front of you bring to the fight. The ability for the leaders to spread out not only over the units here but over 10 different locations is pretty tough every day, but they do an outstanding job. It’s truly been an honor to not only lead but to stand among these outstanding Soldiers who you see in front of you.”