MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
The recently appointed Air Force Surgeon General spent her first Friday on the job visiting Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama and presiding over the promotion of an officer she once served with and mentored.
Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg promoted her former executive officer, Maj. Elisha Parkhill, now the 42nd Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health flight director of staff, to the rank of lieutenant colonel on June 8.
“Thank you for asking me to preside over your promotion,” Hogg said during the ceremony. “There are probably 100 other places I could be, but no other place I would rather be than right here with you today.”
Parkhill was chosen for early promotion as a lieutenant colonel below-the-zone selectee.
“Promotion is not an award for past performance,” said Hogg. “Promotion is our confidence in the future potential of those officers who can serve in the next higher grade. Some officers have exceptional potential and Elisha is one of those Airmen.”
Following her remarks, Hogg officially promoted Parkhill to lieutenant colonel. Parkhill then gave the ceremony’s final remarks.
As a mental health professional, Parkhill began by calling on everyone present to come together and pay attention to the people around them. According to Parkhill, this creates meaningful connections that enhance our lives to promote reliance and mental health in the deployed environment. Parkhill reminded the crowd that the value of emotions is not just having them, but sharing them.
“Today, I’m overcome with gratitude,” Parkhill said. “I’m grateful to have such great mentors in my career. Thank you Gen. Hogg for being here to celebrate with me. You taught me what it means to be a disruptive innovator, even before that was a thing. You empowered me to be creative and find new ways to exceed mission demands and not settle for ‘well that’s how it’s always been done.’”
Through tears of joy and gratitude, Parkhill continued through her remarks.
“You showed me how to be a courageous and confident woman in the military while keeping my family a priority. Leadership is about evolving and we select leaders for their ability to bring out the best in the people. I’m grateful for my friends and Air Force family. What a blessing this Maxwell community has been.”
Hogg also visited the 42nd Medical Group, speaking with Airmen from the dental, optometry, mental health, and pediatric clinics.
Hogg listened to Airmen explain their specific mission roles, and share how they seek efficiencies in their job. She also recognized the 42nd MDG’s vital contributions supporting the Air Force Air University, the 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, and more than 30 tenant units on the base.
“The 42nd MDG has an impact far beyond Maxwell, supporting some of the most vital Air Force missions,” said Hogg. “My message to Airmen here, and across Air Force Medicine, is simple. Keep putting the patient first and looking for ways to innovate and improve your mission.”