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NEWS | April 5, 2022

MEDCoE welcomes Fiesta Court, Commission back to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston

By Tish Williamson U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence Director of Communications

The U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston hosted a leader breakfast in honor of the 2022 Fiesta Court and Fiesta Commission March 30.

The event was originally intended to be proceeded by the annual MEDCoE “Viva Fiesta” run that was cancelled due to projections of lightning and thunderstorms. The MEDCoE Command Team of Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster and Command Sgt. Maj. Clark Charpentier hosted the 6 a.m. breakfast.

“This event today, and all of the other Fiesta events where the military get to mingle with members of the community, just help to strengthen our bonds,” LeMaster said. “In my 35 years of service, I have never been anywhere else that has such a strong relationship between the military and our surrounding communities.”

Despite the cancellation of the run and the early hour, more than a dozen Fiesta royalty and commission members attended the event, including retired Col. Jon Fristoe, President, Fiesta Commission; Irma Duran, Presidential Appointee Fiesta Commission; Bart Simpson, King Antonio XCIX; Augustine Cortez, El Rey Feo, and Mackenzie Tijerina, La Reina de la Feia de Las Flores.

MEDCoE had paused community events, to include the Fiesta run and breakfast, for the last two years much like the Fiesta San Antonio Commission postponed the citywide celebration, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 1,000 Soldiers from the 32nd Medical Brigade, along with the Medical Non-Commissioned Officers Academy, and MEDCoE Headquarters Support Company, were planning to run alongside the Fiesta royalty before the event was rained out.  The last time the MEDCoE hosted a Fiesta run was 2019. 

The lead unit for this year’s event was the 32nd Medical Brigade, led by Col. Marc Welde, alongside Command Sgt. Maj. Gilberto Colon. The 32nd MED BN is the largest training brigade in the Army, responsible for providing the absolute best medically, technically and tactically trained Soldiers and professionals in the world.

"We are thankful to the Fiesta Commission and royalty for joining us and contributing to this celebration of San Antonio's culture and the City’s deep military ties,” Welde said. “This event was a great opportunity for us to spend time with community leaders and represent the Army's commitment to the city of San Antonio."

Fristoe, a retired MEDEVAC pilot and former 32nd Medical Brigade commander, thanked the leaders for reenergizing the partnership that began when he was in command.

“I really appreciate you putting this back on the radar,” Fristoe said. “For at least a decade we considered this event the informal kick-off to Fiesta.”

The group informally committed to making next year’s event even bigger and better. 

“I look forward to the next couple of weeks of Fiesta and seeing everything that the city has to offer,” said Charpentier, who led a contingent of MEDCoE Soldiers marching in the Battle of Flowers Parade April 8.

He also thanked the royalty and the entire city for continuing to welcome the military into their San Antonio Families.

“We are excited to further develop our already strong relationships we have built with future collaborative events.”

The MEDCoE trains more than 30,000 to 40,000 students annually through 192 health related programs of instruction on JBSA. For more information visit https://medcoe.army.mil/.