FORT HOOD — Two months ago, Col. Bruce McVeigh led the 1st Medical Brigade into Abrams Physical Fitness Center after a successful deployment to Afghanistan. Wednesday he stood on the same gym floor to say goodbye to the “Silver Knights.”

“I’ll let the record speak for itself about this outstanding brigade,” he said during his remarks.

As part of the medical task force responsible for all U.S. service members in Afghanistan, the brigade maintained a 98.5 percent survival rate of injured soldiers who made it to their hospitals. McVeigh described that rate as unheralded, storied and phenomenal, and credited the soldiers of the unit for the success.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, said units like the Silver Knights are what make soldiers willing to go into the foxholes every single day.

“Every one of us knew if we got hurt ... you and only you would allow us to walk again, allow us to hug our children and our wives,” he said.

McVeigh spent 32 months in command of the Army’s largest medical brigade, which has five battalions located at Fort Hood, Fort Bliss, Fort Sam Houston, Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Polk, La. He will stay at Fort Hood, moving over to a staff position with III Corps.

“Having the chance to work with III Corps and the III Corps commander is an honor,” he said.

Accepting the brigade colors, signifying his assumption of command, was Col. Bertram Providence. He most recently served as the command surgeon for the Third Army and U.S. Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

“I’m humbled to be selected to command the Silver Knights,” he said. “I don’t know a better person to follow in command.”

Moving forward, Providence said the greatest task at hand is readiness.

“It’s an excellent opportunity and I’m looking forward to the challenges and building a team again,” he said.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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