JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The Department of Defense’s largest dental service welcomed a new commander during the 59th Dental Group change of command ceremony on July 13, 2023, at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
Brig. Gen. Jeannine Ryder, who serves as the 59th Medical Wing commander, San Antonio Military Health System market director, and Air Force Nurse Corps chief, presided over the ceremony in which Col. Brian Min relinquished command to Col. Kristen Nichols.
Under Min’s command, the 59th DG delivered patient care valued at $56 million, supported the Air Force’s Basic Military Training pipeline, and contributed to the 59th MDW’s “Highly Effective” rating during a Unit Effectiveness Inspection. Additionally, he consolidated operations to overcome a manning shortage, generating an additional 16,000 manpower hours.
“To the 59th Dental Group … your expertise, commitment, and leadership are felt Air Force-wide,” Ryder said. “To (Min), I know the list of accolades I mentioned, you would say ‘that’s not me.’ However, you empowered your personnel to succeed, you provided the right boundaries, and you kept them motivated. I wish you and your family all the best.”
Min thanked the 59th DG for their dedication and reminded them of team highlights, such as being named the 2021 Air Force Medical Service Large Dental Clinic of the Year and 2022 Air Education and Training Command Large Dental Clinic of the Year.
“Leading here four years during pre-pandemic, pandemic and post-pandemic times was not a ‘walk in the park,’” Min said. “But this is what I observed about the members of the 59th DG…with every crisis and challenge, you came together stronger. You got things accomplished with great collaboration and teamwork. Thank you all.”
Min is succeeded in command by Col. Kristen Nichols, who completed the Air Force Prosthodontic Residency Program at Wilford Hall in 2009.
“If you take a quick look at my previous assignments, you’ll see that I have been stationed at every single squadron in the dental group,” said Nichols. “It is that history and first-hand knowledge that allows me to commit to lead with passion and compassion, ensure a ready force for our mission partners, and empower innovation as we work together to improve the patient experience.”
Nichols concluded the ceremony with a pledge to the organization.
“To the 59th Dental Group, you are the ones that I am here for. I promise to work alongside you, grow, and mentor you so that we can provide the best care to our patients. Now … let’s execute.”
The 59th DG’s approximately 400 Airmen, civilians and contractors are responsible for providing oral and maxillofacial healthcare to 253,000 beneficiaries and ultimately ensuring service members are medically ready to support deployment taskings around the world.
For more information about the 59th MDW, visit https://wilfordhall.tricare.mil/.