FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Against the backdrop of the new Weed Army Community Hospital under construction in the distance and the bramble covered hills of the Mojave desert beyond it, Col. Jason S. Wieman, Weed Army Community Hospital (WACH) Commander, turned over his command to Col. Martin Doperak Monday, June 6 during a change of command ceremony on the tarmac outside of the WACH main facility.
During the ceremony Col. Doperak received the colors from Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Tempel, Jr., commanding general, U.S. Army Regional Health Command Central (Provisional) and Chief U.S. Army Dental Corps, signifying the responsibility he accepts as the new Commander of the Fort Irwin MEDDAC and WACH.
Speaking to the more than 300 WACH and NTC personnel in attendance after the traditional passing of the colors, Tempel, who presided of the ceremony, lauded Wiemans’ many achievements he and his command team have achieved since his arrival in June 2014, and welcomed Doperak to his new command in the Mojave. “It is my privilege to be able to be here for two officers –two such exceedingly well-qualified and experienced officers – for whom I have so much respect, as we honor the tremendous achievements of an institution that does so much for its patients, for our military and for Californians as well.” said Tempel.
Tempel elaborated on the accolades the WACH team earned under Wieman. “In March, Weed earned exceptionally high marks on their Joint Commission Reaccreditation Inspection and in support of the NTC mission COL Wieman’s command has personally touched and assisted 19 Brigade Combat Teams in preparation for combat missions, in direct support of General Milley’s number one requirement: Readiness.” said Tempel, “He has increased the NTC Medical-Ready Units ten percentage points and taken them from the middle of the FORSCOM pack and elevated them to become consistently number one among their peers. Last December, after a nearly 15 year hiatus, Col. Wieman and his team brought back Expert Field Medical Badge testing to Fort Irwin and the NTC and beginning in the first quarter after his arrival Colonel Wieman has guided Weed through tremendous upheaval and personnel changes – and he has done so with an unprecedented overall Patient Satisfaction Rate that consistently hovers at 96 percent.”
Speaking to the assembled after Tempel’s remarks Wieman said to the Soldiers and civilians present that “It has been a genuine pleasure to lead the WACH team, and to work alongside a staff that is so able and so committed to serving Fort Irwin Soldiers and their families as well as the thousands of Soldiers that come to train annually at the NTC. The man who follows me, Col. Doperack, is exactly the right Army Medicine leader for the WACH and to bring this command into the new multi-million dollar facility you see behind me.” Before concluding Wieman thanked and acknowledged the critical role that his wife, Delilah, played in his successful tenure at the WACH. “It could not have done it without her.” he said.
In his first remarks as the new Fort Irwin MEDDAC Commander Col. Doperack expressed his enthusiasm to work in support of the NTC and Fort Irwin community. He mentioned how impressed he was with the MEDDAC team, their camaraderie and professionalism. “My family and I have seldom been given such a heartfelt welcome; I’m honored to be here today and to serve with you.”