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Walter Reed Commander Promoted to Surgeon General

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Dec. 12, 2007) -- Both officers and enlisted from the Army's Washington-area medical community gathered Tuesday at the Pentagon for the promotion ceremony of Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, who assumed the position of surgeon general of the Army at the same time.

Lt. Gen. Schoomaker will assume command of the U.S. Army Medical Command during a ceremony Thursday in San Antonio, Texas. He will be dual-hatted as both surgeon general of the Army and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command.

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Earlier Tuesday, the general relinquished command of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center to Maj. Gen. Carla Hawley-Bowland.

Before the promotion ceremony, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. commented on Lt. Gen. Schoomaker's career, his most recent assignment as commander of both NARMC and WRAMC and his role in improving the image of Army medicine.

"General Schoomaker has been not only a participant, but a leader, in helping the Army correct the perception that we don't care about our wounded Soldiers," Gen. Casey said. "I rode up on a bus with a group of wounded Soldiers to the Army-Navy game and everyone on that bus said they had seen significant improvements in what is going on at Walter Reed over the time that he's been there. General Schoomaker is a man of competent clarity and experience, but most importantly, leadership."

Lt. Gen. Schoomaker told attendees of the ceremony, including his brother, former Chief of Staff of the Army retired Gen. Peter J. Shoomaker, that he was honored to have been promoted and chosen as the 42nd Army Surgeon General.

"I am deeply humbled and profoundly grateful to be honored with the privilege to serve as your surgeon general and to serve as your advocate for the health and the wellbeing of our Soldiers and their Families," he said.

"I will work to protect them from disease and illness and to restore them to health when misfortune or violence, wrought by the enemies of this nation, does them harm. I will be tireless in my efforts to allow them to live long and stay young in mind, body and spirit."

General Schoomaker received Senate confirmation to be the 42nd Army Surgeon General Nov. 1.

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