New commander at Fort Leonard Wood hospital had helped Iraqi hospitals

Darrell Todd Maurina


FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 30, 2010) — The military hospital at Fort Leonard Wood gets its new commander today, after a two-month interim period during which Col. Paul Kondrat, an Army regional nurse executive, headed the hospital after the former hospital commander was relieved of command. Col. Judith Ruiz, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital’s former commander, was relieved of command on June 6 due to what a prepared statement issued by Maj. Gen. Philip Volpe of the Western Regional Medical Command called “command climate and not quality of care.”

The new commander, Col. Kirk Eggleston, is a medical doctor and will assume command during an 8 a.m. ceremony today at the MANSCEN Plaza. He previously commanded the U.S. Army Health Clinic in the German city of Stuttgart.

Other prior duties for Eggleston include serving as division surgeon and principal medical staff officer for the Fourth Infantry Division based at Fort Carson in Colorado. During the 4th Infantry Division’s deployment to Iraq, Eggleston and other medical personnel helped coordinate a drive that donated thousands of medical textbooks, journals, and other research material to hospitals in the Baghdad area and the Medical College of the University of Tikrit, where due to lack of resources under theformer Saddam Hussein regime, doctors were relying on photocopies of often-outdated medical textbooks.

Several other positions at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital are still being filled on an interim basis after this summer’s major shakeup at the hospital. Lt. Col. Michelle Williams is still serving as acting deputy commander for nursing and hospital services and Lt. Col. Margaret Toillion is still serving as acting deputy commander for administration and as chief of staff.

Kondrat, who began his career as an enlisted pharmacy technician in 1977 and was later commissioned as a nurse in 1984, will be moving on to duties as nurse executive for the Western Regional Medical Command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the state of Washington, where he served before being tapped for the interim position at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.

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