USAMRMC Says 'Goodbye' To Commander
On Tuesday, Sept. 16, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick will say "goodbye" to Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho, Jr., as he hands over the reins to Maj. Gen. Brian C. Lein, the current deputy surgeon general and deputy commanding general for operations at the Office of the Surgeon General.
Caravalho joined the USAMRMC team in January 2013, replacing Maj. Gen. James K. Gilman as commander. Before coming to the USAMRMC, Caravalho served as the commanding general of the Northern Regional Medical Command in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and now looks forward to moving on to his next assignment as the deputy surgeon general.
"It's a mixed feeling really," said Caravalho when asked about his upcoming move to the OTSG. "I'm sad to leave such a great command, but I am very humbled that the Surgeon General trusts me to be her deputy. I'm looking forward to the challenge of being the deputy surgeon general."
Caravalho graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, then in 1983 with a Medical Doctorate from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine. He is also a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College, earning both his Special Forces and Ranger tabs and being awarded the Expert Field Medical Badge.
A cardiologist by trade, Caravalho also holds a certification in nuclear cardiology. His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint and Army Commendation Medals, and the Army Achievement Medal.
Caravalho came to the USAMRMC during a time of transition, tasked with the responsibility of preparing the team for the upcoming inter-war years in the midst of budget constraints and fiscal challenges.
"How we prepare for those years is critical, and it has been a challenge," said Caravalho. "However, I feel that everyone has worked very hard; A lot of forward thinking and a lot of great moves that we've made, I think, have positioned us [the USAMRMC] well for the future."
Caravalho highlighted the great work he has had the opportunity to witness and be a part of over the past 18 months, to include the gender neutral testing happening at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and the state-of-the-art care for Warfighters now available thanks to the research efforts at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; both subordinate commands of the USAMRMC.
"And I'm very happy with how this command, the headquarters, has facilitated multiple funding streams, complex requirements, and helped us move forward as we transition to support the Defense Health Agency and its Research and Development Directorate," emphasized Caravalho.
Caravalho noted all of the individuals at the USAMRMC whose expertise has been invaluable to his successful leadership; specifically highlighting the USAMRMC Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. Cy Akana, who has been, "a superb partner in leading this organization," said Caravalho. "I've been very impressed with his skill, his insight and his unique perspective in moving us [the USAMRMC] forward; as was his predecessor Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Stuart."
"Really, there are just too many to name," Caravalho continued, "but, I think, across the board, I've been impressed with how passionate everyone is with what they do in support of the Warfighter. Even though no one here takes care of patients directly, I can see in their eyes that they feel very strongly that they are helping the care that is provided for every Soldier who is injured."
Overall, Caravalho emphasized the positive experience he has had here at the USAMRMC. "This has been a great assignment," Caravalho reiterated. "A little short ' I am sad that it is so short ' but luckily for the USAMRMC, they are getting a great commander in Maj. Gen. Lein, so I am pleased that the momentum that I've seen during my time will continue under Maj. Gen. Lein's leadership."
The USAMRMC team will always hold a special place in Caravalho's heart, and when asked if there were any parting words he'd like to share with the USAMRMC team, Caravalho was full of heartfelt reassurance.
"They [the USAMRMC team] can feel confident that I have learned, appreciated and come to love what they do here at the USAMRMC, and I will forever be an advocate for research and development and medical logistics within Army medicine during my time at the Office of the Surgeon General," said Caravalho. "This is an incredibly complex organization led by highly skilled, dedicated and loyal staff; using their knowledge and expertise will go a long way in keeping this organization moving forward."