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Former Red Wing woman receives big send-off

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Fort Sam Houston bid Col. Wendy Martinson farewell during a change of command ceremony July 29 at the post's main flagpole.

Martinson, a former Red Wing resident and garrison commander for three years, relinquished her command to incoming commander Col. Mary Garr.

Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw, commanding general, Fort Sam Houston and Army Medical Department Center and School, and J. Randall Robinson, director of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-West Region, presided. Both praised Martinson's service to the Army, Fort Sam Houston and its surrounding communities.

Martinson has been at the forefront of changes at Fort Sam Houston since taking the reins in 2005. She was instrumental in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure and Army Transformation on Fort Sam Houston that involved the construction of new buildings and preparation for the arrival of more than 12,000 new personnel, which includes Air Force and Navy personnel.

She also oversaw and supervised the building of new post housing to accommodate soldiers and their families, and multiple morale, welfare and recreation projects like the Fort Sam Houston Golf Course and Canyon Lake.

Czerw noted her management skills and her loyalty and commitment to soldiers, especially to wounded warriors.

"With your leadership, you set the conditions to allow this installation to be able to accommodate over $2 billion worth of construction that is coming to us. You were able to allow us to transform our 'Home of Army Medicine,' to the 'Home of Military Medicine,' and a Brooke Army Medical Center that is right now a phenomenon, to even a better health care organization," Czerw said.

Martinson then stepped to the microphone and joked, "A mistake has been made, I'm not ready to go."

In a farewell speech, she praised the garrison and highlighted their accomplishments.

"Every person who works, lives and visits Fort Sam Houston is touched by the work of the garrison. From the roads that you drive on, to the gates that you enter and exit from, to the connectivity of your computers ... if you have received any of these services and many others, you have been touched by the people of this garrison," she said.

"They are the same people who have been responsible for giving me every ounce of their effort for these past three years ... they are an awesome team."