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Stewart medical community welcomes new commander
Brig. Gen. Ronald Place, commanding general of Regional Health Command-Atlantic (Provisional), passes the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, Fort Stewart colors to its incoming commander Col. Christopher Warner Wednesday at Marne Garden. - photo by Photo by Cailtin Kenney

The local military medical community welcomed a new commander Wednesday at Fort Stewart’s Marne Garden.

During a ceremony in the rising Georgia humidity, Col. Christopher Warner assumed command of U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, Fort Stewart, which encompasses several local medical facilities, including Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart and Tuttle Army Health Clinic on Hunter Army Airfield.

Warner is returning to Fort Stewart after serving there from 2005 to 2010 as the chief of the behavioral medicine department at Winn Hospital and as the division psychiatrist for the 3rd Infantry Division.

Brig. Gen. Ronald Place, commanding general of Regional Health Command-Atlantic (Provisional), was the reviewing officer for the ceremony.

The previous commander of the Fort Stewart MEDDAC, Col. Patrick Ahearne, was removed from his command in May after an investigation

found that he showed "poor judgment" in exercising his command authority, as previously reported by the Courier.

Col. Joseph "J.K." Weaver, former commander of the Tuttle Clinic, acted as the interim commander.

Place thanked Weaver.

"When we needed leadership, when this command needed leadership, you stepped up and guided it," Place said.

"Although your own assignment as commander of Tuttle Army Health Clinic was drawing to a close, you accepted interim command of the entire MEDDAC, and you performed your duties flawlessly," he added.

Place then praised the staff of the medical command and emphasized their various certifications and recognitions for safety and healthcare.

Weaver thanked Place for "entrusting the MEDDAC command with me for the last 90 days."

"I’m very proud of the MEDDAC team, the staff and leaders who are powering through the change we experienced … successfully completing the Joint Commission survey and their continued commitment to the patients and health care," he said.

Warner said he and his wife were excited to come back to Fort Stewart and thanked the MEDDAC staff and the community for their welcome.

"We’ve come back home to support the Dog Faced Soldiers, families and soldiers for life at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield," he said.

"Winn is a special facility that not only provides first-class medical care, but plays a key role in supporting sustained readiness of the numerous units deploying throughout the world from Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield," Warner added.

After the ceremony, Warner talked to reporters about his plans for his command.

"We’re here as a team to focus on both the health readiness of our soldiers so that we can deploy them to anywhere, anytime, anyplace and make sure they’re prepared to go," he said. "But also to take care of their families so that they can rest assured that they’re well-cared-for while they’re deployed."

He added that the community will receive "premiere health care."

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