By Benny Ontiveros
WBAMC Public Affairs
Col. Michael S. Heimall, who led William Beaumont Army Medical Center for more than two years, relinquished command to Col. John A. Smyrski III during a change of command ceremony at Noel Field at William Beaumont Army Medical Center July 17.
Likewise, the hospital bid farewell to Command Sgt. Carl B. Dwyer Jr. and welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Donald L. George, the hospital’s new command sergeant major, during a change of responsibility ceremony.
“It is hard to leave an organization that you worked hard with professionally,” Heimall told the crowd.
The hospital sees more than 3,200 patients a day, including active-duty members of the military, retirees, family members and veterans, and commanding the hospital is an arduous task. The hospital has a staff of about 3,500 – more than 1,000 Soldiers, 2,100 civilians and 400 contractors.
While in command, Beaumont had to deal with sequestration, civilian furloughs, a government shutdown and an active shooter incident at neighboring Veterans Affairs Health System clinic.
“It’s been a challenging three years,” Heimall said. “We never lost focus on taking care of our patients during our challenges which was most rewarding to me.”
Heimall was also involved in the initial stages of the $900 million Beaumont replacement hospital at Spur 601 and Loop 375, which is scheduled to open in 2018.
“This project has had some unforeseen delays, but I plan to be back during the cutting of the ribbon,” he said.
One key highlight in Heimall’s career was the highly successful survey by the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,000 healthcare organizations across the nation.
“One of Beaumont’s best surveys in 20 years,” he said.
Heimall said he looks forward to new challenges while moving to the East Coast but will always consider El Paso a special place.
“I have faith in our new leadership and I know they will lead Beaumont in its new chapter of Army medicine,” Heimall said.
Smyrski, who recently served as commander of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Fort Rucker, Alabama, will succeed Heimall.
Dwyer, Beaumont’s former senior enlisted leader, served at the hospital for the past 15 months.
He left eight months ahead of schedule so he can take part in the inaugural class of the new Fellowship Program at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, also at Fort Bliss. Dwyer will work on finishing a master’s degree in adult education from Penn State University and then will instruct two more years at the academy.
Dwyer, happy about new opportunities and challenges is also saddened to be leaving his position at Beaumont.
“It’s been fast but we accomplished so much in the little time that I was here,” he said.
“William Beaumont is a great place and I am proud to say that I was part of this team,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer’s successor, George, most recently served as the senior enlisted leader with Troop Command at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii.