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Senior military healthcare leaders oversee changing of the guard at Madigan

Three soldiers wearing masks and saluting Brig. Gen. Jack Davis, the acting commanding general of Regional Health Command-Pacific, outgoing Commander Col. Thomas Bundt and incoming Commander Col. Christopher Warner salute the formations on Watkins Field on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., in a change of command ceremony for Madigan Army Medical Center on July 15.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, commands change hands, responsibility shifts. Under Mount Rainier’s watchful eye on Watkins Field on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Army Col. Thomas Bundt handed the hospital colors off to Army Brig. Gen. Jack Davis, the Regional Health Command-Pacific acting commanding general, as Col. (Dr.) Christopher Warner stepped in to fill the commander role at Madigan Army Medical Center. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Laragione also relinquished his responsibility as Madigan’s senior enlisted advisor in the combined ceremony on Wednesday, July 15.

In deference to COVID-19 protocols for gatherings, the massive field was dotted with socially distanced formations consisting of a half dozen representatives each from Madigan’s units – Troop Battalion, led by Army Lt. Col. Amy Bird, the Soldier Recovery Unit commanded by Army Lt. Col. Michael Dengler, the California Medical Detachment with its commander, Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Zach Solomon, and a civilian contingent led by Frank Bannister, the division chief for Soldier Health.

The distinguished visitors list read like a who’s who of current and former general officers, all of whom are keenly aware of the central role Madigan has long played in both military medicine and in the readiness of the force, especially on JBLM.

Two military personnel exchange a flat, while a third looks on
Col. Christopher Warner waits to assume the colors of Madigan Army Medical Center as outgoing Commander Col. Thomas Bundt passes them to Brig. Gen. Jack Davis, the acting commanding general of Regional Health Command-Pacific, in a change of command ceremony on Watkins Field on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., on July 15.

“As one great leader has departed, we have another phenomenal leader coming in right behind him,” noted Army Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the Army Surgeon General and commanding general of Army Medical Command.

Bundt now heads to the Pentagon to serve as the principal deputy to the assistant director for management in the Defense Health Agency. And Laragione will depart to serve as the command sergeant major at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command.

Bundt and Laragione brought their combined years of leadership in Army Medicine to bear on numerous changes and challenges during their time in Madigan’s command suites.

Their leadership helped Madigan launch the Department of Defense’s new electronic health record (EHR) system, MHS GENESIS, ensuring a successful launch for Madigan’s CAL MED in Monterey, Calif., as well as other DOD military treatment facilities to transition to the EHR in the first wave of its deployment last fall.

“Madigan is recognized as a testbed for new MHS GENESIS products before they're deployed across the enterprise and leads the way for this next step in providing world class health care to our force,” asserted Davis.

Bundt and Davis made particular mention of Laragione’s efforts in response to the virus.

“He dedicated countless hours ensuring COVID-19 screening and testing sites were established including checkpoints at designated entrances within the hospital, maintaining a high level of safety for our folks,” Davis said.

He also worked in tandem with Navy partners to secure the use of beds for the COVID-19 ward at Madigan, proving Bundt’s point, “With the right leaders involved, anything worth doing is possible.”

Warner comes to Madigan from service as the military deputy and chief of staff for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs in the Pentagon. Warner has also served as the commander of Winn Army Community Hospital in Fort Stewart, Georgia.

“My expectation as the DHA director comes from a market perspective. Col. Warner and the market staff will find innovative ways to integrate across the entire market, to provide the best value for all our patients – soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, coast guardsmen, retirees and their families,” said Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, the director of the Defense Health Agency,

The expectations for the coming years are high, but so is confidence in Warner.

“He can take the understanding for how DHA will ensure the multi-service markets are really collectively optimizing all three services to make sure the healthcare in this region is meeting our military requirements. We have the right leader at the right time,” said the Honorable Thomas McCaffery, the ASD for Health Affairs, and Warner’s most recent boss.

In addition to those who attended in person, many more watched the livestream of the ceremony on Madigan’s Facebook page where the video can still be viewed. Please visit to see the ceremony and more news from Madigan.

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