A new commander takes over Martin Army Community Hospital and the Fort Benning Army Medical Department Activity today during a change of command ceremony on York Field.
Col. Scott B. Avery assumes duties from Col. Timothy E. Lamb during a 9 a.m. ceremony on the field across from McGinnis-Wickam Hall. Lamb is officially retiring from the Army after arriving at the post in July 2011, more than two months after ground was broken on a new hospital off Bass Road.
During the same ceremony, Master Sgt. William G. Ott will relinquish responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Napoleon Noguera.
Avery takes control of the medical activity on post at a time when construction is underway to build a 745,000-square foot hospital to replace the aging Martin Army Community Hospital. On Monday, medical personnel also started the first day of furloughs as part of federal budget cuts that call for most civilian employees to take 11 days off without pay through Sept. 30.
At a cost of $363.7 million, the eight-story hospital with two clinics is on target to be completed by May 2014 and open by November 2014. About 67 percent of the construction has been completed, an official said.
Budget cuts have forced officials to close some facilities one day a week and reduce hours at others to operate with fewer civilian employees.
Avery became a Medical Service Corps Officer in June 1988 after graduating from the University of Washington, where he received a bachelors degree in political science. During his 25-year career, he has been deployed to Germany, Kosovo and two tours in Iraq.