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Madigan WTB welcomes new commander

Lt. Col. Michael Dengler “passionate” about taking care of soldiers

Lt. Col. Michael Dengler takes command of Madigan Army Medical Center’s Warrior Transition Battalion Dec. 7 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Ryan Graham

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The Warrior Transition Battalion welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony Dec. 7 at Madigan Army Medical Center in Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Lt. Col. Michael Dengler took command of the WTB from Lt. Col. Julie Craig; he is now charged with leading the healing and transitions of about 200 ill, injured and wounded soldiers as they return to the fight or become civilian veterans.

"Commanding an entity that demands these high levels of sensitivities to the human condition is truly an art of balance," said Madigan Commander Col. Thomas Bundt. He added that as the WTB commander, Craig led soldiers with a high number of orthopedic conditions and oversaw many of their transitions through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System.

"She had your very best interest in mind and in her heart in everything she did. Her sense of duty was complemented by a mature and affable approach to challenges," said Bundt.

Craig encouraged the WTB's soldiers to take advantage of the people and resources around them during their journeys of healing.

"To the soldiers in transition -- though things may seem uncertain in your future career in the Army, please stay focused, maintain a positive spirit, work with your team and family, communicate, hold yourself accountable, and find someone who will challenge and encourage you through this time of transition," she said.

She also lauded the dedication of the behind-the-scenes cadre and staff who support the soldiers and their families.

"You truly have one of the hardest jobs in the Army. Day in and day out, I've been amazed at the care and support that you provide your soldiers. Many of you work behind the scenes helping soldiers out with little recognition. From the bottom of my heart I want to say I truly appreciate all that you do for our soldiers in this organization," said Craig, a Reservist who transitioned back to active-duty. Her next assignment takes her to Alabama to serve as an air defense artillery officer.

In the small world that is the Army, Craig met the incoming commander at the Captains Career Course over 20 years ago.

"It's not every day that you go through a change of command where you get to pass the colors to your best friend. Lieutenant Colonel Dengler ... is a man of character who is committed and passionate about the Army and taking care of soldiers," she said.

Dengler comes to the WTB from the Warrior Care and Transition program in Arlington, Virginia, where he served as a plans officer. He is also a Reservist and an air defense artillery officer by trade who supported Operation Iraqi Freedom II in Taji, Iraq.

"It is a great honor and privilege to take command and serve this great organization," said Dengler. "Thank you, Colonel Bundt, for your trust and confidence in allowing this awesome responsibility and challenge; thank you for the opportunity to take care of the soldiers who are taking care of our nation."

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