21st Combat Support Hospital Welcomes New Commander

Story and Photos by Specialist Naveed Ali Shah
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

“Fear not, Bear 6 is off the net,” said Col. Rick Gullickson, during the 21st Combat Support Hospital change of command ceremony here at Fort Hood’s Sadowski Field June 19.  

Col. Rick Gullickson has been in command for two years and will be going to Atlanta to be deputy surgeon for Army Central Command.

“Col. Gullickson has continuously leaned forward to keep the 21st CSH mission ready. He has been instrumental in cementing this unit’s reputation as one of the best combat support hospitals in the army,” said Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commander, 13th ESC.

During his tenure, the 21st CSH had many accomplishments. The 84 bed hospital provided level 3 hospitalization for the first time since the unit redeployed in 2003 and conducted the first field training exercise in six years for both assigned Soldiers and professional filler system troops.

“During the past two years, under the leadership of Col. Gullickson, the 21st CSH reached heights seldom achieved by other units,” said Wentz.

The 21st also provided mobilization training for the 345th Combat Support Hospital prior to its deployment in support of OIF.

“This type of training has always been critical to help keep the skills of those Soldiers honed and mission ready,” said Wentz.

In addition, Gullickson served as the senior observer/controller for not only this deployment, but also for the deployments of both the 10th and the 115th combat support hospitals.

“Rick, you can be proud of the stellar achievements of the 21st Combat Support Hospital over the past two years. I know I am proud and grateful to have served with you,” said Wentz.

The incoming commander is only the second Army nurse to command a combat support hospital in the history of the Army.

Wentz said, “Col. Holcomb’s background and experiences are not only impressive, they display exactly the career path we are looking for in our officers to lead Soldiers and to ensure successful missions.”

The 21st CSH deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2003 to March 2004. The unit also briefly deployed in support of Hurricane Katrina Relief Operations in New Orleans, La., from October to November 2005.

The unit is scheduled to deploy in support of OIF early next year.

In closing, Wentz addressed the Soldiers of the 21st CSH, “Your service will have lasting impacts on people and our future, both here in America and around the world.”

 

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Maj. Richard Fornili, commander of troops, Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commander, 13th ESC, Col. Rick Gullickson, outgoing commander, and Col. Barbara Holcomb, incoming commander, render honors to the colors as they inspect the troops during the 21st Combat Support Hospital's change of command ceremony here at Fort Hood's Sadowski Field June 19.

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Col. Barbara Holcomb, incoming commander, 21st CSH, 1st Med. Bde., 13th ESC, hands the hospital's colors to Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Solis, senior NCO, 21st CSH, during the 21st Combat Support Hospital's change of command ceremony here at Fort Hood's Sadowski Field June 19.