FORT MEADE, MD -- The Fort George G. Meade U.S. Army Medical Department Activity and Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center welcomed a new commander on July 19 during a change of command ceremony. Col. Daniel G. Bonnichsen received the command colors and assumed command as Col. Laura R. Trinkle relinquished command during the traditional ceremony, presided over by Brig. Gen. Ronald J. Place, Regional Health Command - Atlantic (Provisional) commander.
Due to a sweltering heat index, the ceremony, scheduled to be held on the installation parade field was moved indoors and took place at Fort Meade's John E. Smathers U.S. Army Reserve Center.
"The Fort Meade MEDDAC," Place said in his remarks, "like all of Army Medicine, is dedicated to the mission of keeping this community in a high state of readiness. That includes Soldiers, their family members and all beneficiaries entrusted to our care. Medical readiness is our only #1 Priority. Col. Trinkle has served the Chesapeake MEDDAC well in that regard. Under Col. Trinkle's command, this MEDDAC has maintained a medical force ready to deploy with the troops under our care, consistently meeting or exceeding medical readiness standards and ranks in the top four of Regional Health Command-Atlantic subordinate commands."
"Col. Trinkle led the Fort Meade MEDDAC team through a very successful Joint Commission Triennial Survey," Place continued. "Military and civilian health care facilities all undergo this review, and the result is proof of the high quality and safety of the care provided across the MEDDAC."
Place said "But the ultimate judges of the quality of care received at any facility are the patients. I'm very proud of Col. Trinkle and her staff for achieving an excellent patient satisfaction survey score of nearly 96 percent. That number shows that when you have highly skilled providers and support staffs led by compassionate, patient-focused leaders -- a happier, healthier community is the result."
Preceding the change of command ceremony, Place presented Trinkle with a Legion of Merit for her "resolve, selfless service and dedication to providing outstanding patient care to the beneficiaries of the Fort Meade Medical Activity which were vital to the overall success of the organization."
Trinkle, who says she "is honored to be an Army brat who calls Kansas home," will now move to her follow-on assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Medical Command. Falls Church, Va.
During her remarks, Trinkle said, "Moving on from an organization is always difficult. You spend years of your life focused on that particular mission and the people in that organization. They become your Family. But the Army has good reasons for making us move on and allowing others to take the mantle of responsibility, this is what keeps us strong and moving forward. New leadership brings fresh perspective and ideas. New leadership ensures we do not become complacent. That is what I know Col. Dan Bonnichsen will bring to the MEDDAC."
Regarding the MEDDAC's new commander, Place said, "Let's now look to the future as we welcome to the Regional Health Command Atlantic family Col. Bonnichsen
Col. Bonnichsen joins us after an assignment as Deputy Commander for Administration at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. As all of you know, no organization of excellence remains static. I look to this wonderful staff and Col. Bonnichsen to build on the current success while thoughtfully using your talents to bring positive innovations into fruition."
"I have no doubt Fort Meade MEDDAC will lead the MEDCOM on our journey toward optimal readiness under the command of Col. Bonnichsen."
Bonnichsen hails from Idaho and entered military service in 1986, serving nearly six years with the Idaho Army National Guard as an enlisted Combat Engineer. He graduated from the University of Idaho with an undergraduate degree in Biology and entered active duty as a Medical Service Corps Officer in 1992. He earned a Master's Degree in Hospital Administration from the U.S Army-Baylor Graduate Program in 2003, and a Master's Degree in Strategic Studies for the U.S. Army War College in 2015.
In his remarks, regarding his new assignment, Bonnichsen said, "The Fort Meade Medical Activity is an organization unlike any other in MEDCOM. It has diverse missions and responsibilities spread across three states and the District of Columbia."
"My focus for the next two years will be on our people. We will strengthen relationships, take care of our staff and beneficiaries and ensure we meet standards. We will excel in the Army's number one mission -- readiness. I will lead the organization by emphasizing the values of trust, integrity, humility and teamwork."
The Fort Meade MEDDAC is comprised of five subordinate clinics in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The commander is ultimately responsible for the care of more than 143 thousand beneficiaries.