Story by Patricia Dubiel on 06/17/2019FORT POLK, La. The next chapter in the history of Fort Polk's Dental Health Activity began on Warrior Field June 7, as outgoing commander Lt. Col. Paul M. Colthirst relinquished command to incoming commander Lt. Col. Melissa F. Tucker.
Col. Rafael Caraballo, commander, Dental Health Command-Central, served as host commander during the ceremony. He said that as Colthirst departs from the unit, he leaves behind a legacy of service, dedication and success few can equal.
"The Fort Polk team's accomplishments over the last three years are a direct reflection of (Colthirst's) leadership and commitment to the Soldiers, NCOs, civilians and Families of this organization and the Fort Polk community," Caraballo said. "The DENTAC stands tall and proud here today thanks to (his) effort and dedication. As a commander, (Colthirst) has upheld the traditions, customs and history of the command to the highest standard. It takes a great leader to forge a cohesive and highly accomplished team."
Caraballo welcomed Tucker to the team, and said he could not have asked for a better commander to take on the leadership of the Dental Health Activity.
"As the new commander, you must bear the mantle of perpetuating the customs, traditions and rich history of the unit," he said. "Lieutenant Colonel Tucker understands that readiness is our No. 1 priority, and she is fully committed to preserve dental readiness to sustain the combat power of all Army components active, Guard and Reserve."
Colthirst said he was pleased to announce the Fort Polk DENTAC is healthy and fully mission capable.
"The DENTAC is made up of Soldiers and civilians who have dedicated themselves for the last three years to ensure the Soldiers of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk are deployable worldwide," said Colthirst. "The success of the DENTAC did not occur in a vacuum it is directly correlated to the support of the commander, sergeants major and first sergeants of the units throughout the installation."
Tucker, who comes to Fort Polk from Fort Sill, Okla., said she was honored to become a member of the Fort Polk team and will strive to uphold the standards set by her predecessor.