U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Byron Hepburn (front left) and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Ted Wong (front right) speak during the 959th Medical Group activation ceremony at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Nov. 16. The move realigns medical services and administrative staff to provide better health care in the San Antonio Military Health System. Hepburn is commander of the 59th Medical Wing and director of the SAMHS. Wong is the commander of Brooke Army Medical Center and the SAMHS deputy director. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma)
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Byron Hepburn (left) passes the unit guideon to Col. Lisa Schmidt as she accepts command of the 959th Medical Group during the unit's activation ceremony Nov. 16 at San Antonio Military Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The move realigns medical services and administrative staff to provide better health care in the San Antonio Military Health System. Hepburn is commander of the 59th MDW and director of the San Antonio Military Health System. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma)
by Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs
12/7/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The Air Force stood up a new medical unit Friday during a special ceremony at the San Antonio Military Medical Center auditorium on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
The activation of the new 959th Medical Group, together with its new subordinate units, the 959th Inpatient Operations Squadron, the 959th Medical Operations Squadron and the 959th Clinical Support Squadron, now joins the units with its Army colleagues in continuing to provide medical services to beneficiaries in the San Antonio area.
"Although the 959th is a new medical group, we will continue to train and educate our newest medics in Air Force medical service," said Col. Lisa Schmidt, 959th MDG commander.
"Along with the 59th Medical Wing, we will continue to be the largest deployment platform for the medical service," said Schmidt, "and we will continue to provide the highest medical care for the San Antonio Military Health System."
Although the new organization remains subordinate to the 59th MDW at JBSA-Lackland, the move realigns medical services and administrative staff to better manage professional health care for military members, retirees and dependents in the SAMHS.
"With nearly 2,000 Air Force members integrating into SAMMC, our Army and Air Force medical officers, enlisted, civilians and civil service members are equal partners in a high-performing health care team." said Maj. Gen Byron Hepburn, commander of the 59th MDW and director of the SAMHS. "There is no doubt this is a critical juncture with strategic impact. We're standing in the Department of Defense's only stateside level-one trauma center and I can't think of a better platform for educating and training our doctors, nurses, technicians and allied health members."
The organizational restructuring is one of the final steps of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure recommendations, and provides greater command and control of assigned personnel.
"As we move forward, our patients remain our top priority and the sole reason and purpose for our existence. Providing high quality, safe and accessible care while maintaining our patients' trust and confidence," said Maj. Gen. Ted Wong deputy director of SAMHS, and the Brooke Army Medical Center commander.