Blanchfield Army Community Hospital welcomes new commander - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Blanchfield Army Community Hospital welcomes new commander

Col. George Appenzeller Col. George Appenzeller

There's a new commander looking out for the health of our men and women in uniform. Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell welcomed Col. George Appenzeller as their incoming commander Wednesday.

"We must not forget who we are, a source of compassion and humanity, a symbol of strength of our soldiers, a symbol of hope for the wounded, and a symbol of comfort for the sick and dying," said outgoing commander Col. Paul Cordts at Wednesday's ceremony.

Cordts is joining an army surgeon general task force.

"The staff here, they're phenomenal," said Appenzeller. "They love their jobs. They love their patients, and they're all very proud of the work they're doing."

Blanchfield is in the midst of Department of Defense mandatory furloughs, running through September. During that time, many hospital services are closed on Fridays while 1,200 civilian employees are taking off 11 days without pay.

"The most important thing is keeping our family atmosphere, keeping focused on the mission which is taking care of soldiers and families in the community," said Appenzeller. "That's what everyone is here is for. People don't give up when that's their calling."

Blanchfield has been seeing major changes with a ground breaking last month for a $12 million National Intrepid Center of Excellence satellite site specializing in traumatic brain injuries.

"We're also building a behavioral health outpatient facility to compliment the behavioral health that's being pushed out to the units already," Appenzeller added.

Appenzeller said he's looking to continue Blanchfield's work already set in motion, increase access for treatment to soldiers, and defeat the stigma that comes with seeking out treatment for mental health.

Appenzeller comes to Blanchfield after commanding Bassett Army Community Hospital in Alaska.

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