FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (June 24, 2020) — Col. Kimberlie Biever relinquished command of the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital to Col. Aaron Pitney at a change of command ceremony June 23 at Nutter Field House.
Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller, Regional Health Command-Central commanding general, was the reviewing officer for the ceremony and presided through a video conference call.
“This ceremony reflects the changes that we have made through the ongoing global pandemic,” he said. “However, the importance of this time-honored tradition has not changed. Honoring these two leaders – the outgoing commander who has served with distinction and the officer who is assuming the mantle of command – is still a sacred part of our Army culture, and that is especially true during these times.”
As is customary, the Medical Department Activity colors were transferred from Biever to Pitney, symbolizing the shift of authority from the outgoing commander to the incoming one.
Biever will serve as the RHC-C’s next chief of staff. Pitney most recently served as the chief of medical readiness at the Office of the Surgeon General.
The ceremony also served as an opportunity for Biever to bid farewell to her Soldiers, and for the team to welcome their new commander, Pitney, who will lead GLWACH in providing care to the installation.
“It is my honor and privilege to stand before you today as the outgoing commander of the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital,” Biever said. “I am so humbled to have had this opportunity to lead such an amazing team. This has definitely been the highlight of my career.”
She said her Soldiers always overcame the challenges they faced as a team, and she referenced some of GLWACH’s achievements during her command.
“Despite our ups and downs, this team always pulls together to make the magic happen,” she said. “Our customer satisfaction rates continued to rise throughout the years, and GLWACH inpatient scores reached the top of the region.”
Biever said she was impressed with the GLWACH team’s dedication to keeping the Army ready to deploy.
“We had several of our providers and our troops go downrange on deployment,” she said. “Every single one of them has emailed back and said they were fully prepared to do their mission because of what they learned at GLWACH. Between the outpatient care that they do, the inpatient care that they do, the experiences they get in the emergency room and what we’re able to provide them in training and simulation … they are fully prepared.”
She also reflected on her team’s ability to surmount hard times through laughter.
“For anyone who’s been around for a bit, we had to take humor in everything that we did because it’s been a little tough,” she said. “If we couldn’t laugh about what was going on, we really might have just sat around and cried.”
She concluded by speaking directly to Pitney and wishing her team a bittersweet farewell.
“Colonel Pitney, the team is a wonderful team, the community is fantastic, and they are all ready for you,” she said. “To my GLWACH teammates, you’ve been the best team any commander could ask for. When I came here, all I could think of was how great this place was and how great the people are, and all I wanted to do was do my best – to take care of the people and leave it better than I found it. I hope I’ve done that for you.”
Pitney expressed humility and gratitude upon assuming the position, and congratulated Biever on a “successful, transformative command.”
“I would like to thank Colonel Biever for her warm welcome to me,” he said. “You have made my transition here very smooth. I know I am taking the reins of an effective, cohesive organization and that is a reflection on your untiring efforts.”
The incoming commander expressed his dedication to GLWACH’s mission and the ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus.
“As we transition today, I assure you that our commitment will not change,” he said. “We are here to ensure the well-being, health and readiness of our Soldiers, our Army, our families and our retirees. We will press forward through the current challenge of COVID-19 and continue to prove that we are a team of teams.”
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission