By Ms. Maria Gallegos (Army Medicine)January 24, 2013
After leading Brooke Army Medical Center through the greatest changes in its history, Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong relinquished command Jan. 24 to Col. Kyle Campbell in ceremonies on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
BAMC Command Sgt. Maj. Marshall Huffman also passed the guidon to incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Mark K. Pumphrey during the event on MacArthur Parade Field.
Maj. Gen. Richard W. Thomas, commanding general of Western Regional Medical Command and the ceremony's host, praised Wong and Huffman for their continued support for Army medicine and their dedication and devotion in keeping patient care their top priority.
"With nearly 30 years of service to the nation, Ted Wong has made patient care his top priority," said Thomas, who spoke on behalf of Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command. "Our leader in clinical excellence here since June 2011 has been Maj. Gen. Ted Wong. Let me emphasize that the mission here -- a Level I Trauma Center -- may well be the most complex of all Army medical treatment facilities.
"My thanks go out to you and the BAMC team for the outstanding job you have done caring for the members of the Force and their Families, to include your superb contributions to Army Medicine," he added.
After taking command of BAMC and Southern Regional Medical Command in June 2011, Wong led BAMC through a series of tremendous changes, including opening new clinics and a new 750,000-square-foot Consolidated Tower, renaming the hospital San Antonio Military Medical Center, and integrating nearly 2,000 Air Force staff members.
The medical center now serves more than 225,000 beneficiaries throughout the San Antonio region, offering the highest quality care for wounded warriors, service members, Family members, retirees and civilians.
Wong reflected on his tenure at BAMC, and noted the medical advancements and the technology that continue to cultivate at the medical center, as well as the positive collaboration that's resulted from the Air Force integration.
"Today we have an integrated team of Army and Air Force health professionals, creating their own history, establishing new precedents, like the San Antonio Military Health System," he said.
"Looking to the future, we are setting the stage for developing the premier military health system, a system focused on promoting health and wellness, delivering effective and efficient healthcare services, ensuring readiness, and maintaining cutting-edge research and health education.
"My time here with BAMC has been amazing and I am truly excited to see the future of Army medicine and military medicines unfold here in San Antonio," Wong continued. "I know even greater accomplishments are in store for you in the future. Jeannie and I leave knowing we've been blessed with the opportunity to serve with Brooke Army Medical Center and inspired by the patients and staff who work there."
Thomas also recognized BAMC's incoming commander for more than two decades of his service to the nation. Campbell brings a positive outlook, perseverance, and attention to detail that will ensure BAMC's continued success, he said.
A lifetime member of the Dedicated Unhesitating Service to Our Fighting Forces, also known as the DUSTOFF Association, Campbell brings special experience to this job that could only be gained as a DUSTOFF unit commander, Thomas said.
"Our MEDEVAC components occupy an extraordinary place in the Army Medicine pantheon of heroes," he said. "We cannot translate the number of wounded service men and women that DUSTOFF has carried to safety and medical care directly to a count of saved lives, but the only possible conclusion we can reach is that DUSTOFF saves more lives than any other unit -- on or off the battlefield.
"Colonel Campbell brings that level of commitment and compassion to this command -- and we are honored to have him here," he concluded.
Campbell formerly served as SRMC's chief of staff since July 2010.
"I look forward to working with each of you -- answering our surgeon general's call to action by executing our mission of promoting health and providing quality, compassionate, patient-centered care while developing healthcare professionals and optimizing readiness," he said.
Pumphrey formerly was the command sergeant major for BAMC Troop Command before taking his new position as the BAMC command sergeant major.
Wong will remain at SRMC until March, when he will pass command to Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan, who is commanding general of the U.S. Army Public Health Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Huffman will remain the SRMC command sergeant major.