FORT HOOD — After 17 months at the helm of the 1st Medical Brigade, Col. (promotable) Bertram C. Providence addressed his troops for the final time during a Friday ceremony at Fort Hood’s Sadowski Field.

“The Good Book says that there is a time and place for

everything,” Providence said. “All things must end. It has been a great privilege — I left everything on the field — but now I must move on.”

After passing the flag to Col. Allan J. Darden, Providence leaves Fort Hood behind to become the Forces Command Surgeon at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native called the end of his tenure at the Great Place “bittersweet.”

“This is not the Great Place, but the greatest place,” he said. “The support of the community is nothing less than second to none — it’s like having an extended family of millions. This is the standard for all communities to emulate.”

From his time at Fort Hood, Providence said the events of April 2 stood out — not because of the on-post shooting that left four soldiers dead, including the gunman, and 16 more injured; but because of the resiliency exhibited by the 1st Medical Brigade in its aftermath.

“When the event occurred, they pulled out their resiliency resources,” Providence said. “You cannot be ready if you’re not resilient, and you cannot be resilient if you’re not ready.”

Providence said he is leaving the brigade in capable hands. Darden comes to Fort Hood from the Office of the Surgeon General human resources office. He began his career with the Army in 1976 as an enlisted personnel management specialist before deciding to pursue his long-term goal of becoming an officer in 1984.

“(Providence) left me a great foundation to build on,” Darden said. “It’s a privilege and an honor to lead soldiers.”

Darden said his primary goal is to maintain the health of the force.

“Our No. 1 priority is to take care of the soldiers, their families and the community,” he said. “They are our greatest asset.”

This is Darden’s first time at Fort Hood, and he said he is looking forward to getting better acquainted with his new home.

“I understand why they call it the Great Place,” he said. “The leadership and the community here is awesome.”

Conta​ct Erinn Callahan at or 254-501-7464.

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