Command Sgt. Maj. Erin L. Hicks passes the U.S. Army Medical Activity and Moncrief Army Health Clinic colors to Clinic Commander Col. Warren A. Stewart during the change of responsibility ceremony at the clinic, Jan. 12. Hicks is set to retire later in the year. (Photo by Reginald Rogers)

Moncrief holds ceremony for outgoing sergeant major

By Reginald Rogers, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

After three years as the senior enlisted leader at Moncrief Army Health Clinic, Command Sgt. Maj. Erin L. Hicks is replacing her boots with a pair of golf shoes, and according to her, she is more than ready to settle into life as a retired Soldier.

Hicks relinquished responsibility as the clinic’s sergeant major, during a ceremony that took place Jan. 12 outside the facility’s 3rd Floor entrance. The ceremony was scheduled to take place a week earlier, which was also the day of a scheduled promotion for one of the clinic’s Soldiers. However, Hicks decided to postpone her retirement, for the benefit of the Soldier.

Col. Warren A. Stewart, Moncrief’s commander, presided over the ceremony, which was seen before most of the Moncrief staff and numerous command teams from other Fort Jackson brigades.

“There’s no relationship like a command team relationship,” Stewart commented. “I’ve been blessed. I’ve had a great battalion sergeant major, and I’ve had the best brigade command sergeant major. Not just because of what she brings to the fight, but the fact that we get along. I always knew that Erin had my back.

“I can tell you a few things that represent the absolute quality and the epitome of the sergeant major that Erin is,” Stewart continued. “She is the consummate professional, but still has a sense of humor, which I love.”

Stewart referenced how challenging the past three years have been for the medical staff but added that Hicks was instrumental in leading Fort Jackson through the COVID-19 pandemic and other changes that were implemented recently.

“Here at Fort Jackson, COVID was potentially a risk when it came to the strategic impact of the nation because we had to continue to train Soldiers,” Stewart explained. “If we couldn’t figure out a way to do that safely, that would have stopped.”

He said it was because of Hicks’ leadership and the resiliency of the Moncrief staff, the clinic was the first military treatment facility to administer the COVID-19 vaccine after it was approved.

“We didn’t miss the mission. We continued to train Soldiers. Victory doesn’t start here until the Soldiers get out of the (reception Medical Clinic), so that’s part of it,” Stewart added.

He pointed out that he arrived about a year ago and Hicks took on the responsibility of “training” him. Stewart explained how he had different ideas as the incoming commander of Moncrief and when he conferred with Hicks, who had been in the job for two years, she showed her support by saying, “Sir, you’re the commander, I’m going to follow your lead.”

Stewart also pointed out the importance of Hicks’ leadership as MAHC transitioned to the Defense Health Agency, in which 80 percent of the clinic’s employees were required to switch to Department of Defense civilians, and the clinic fell under the jurisdiction of three different commands – DHA, Army Medical Command and of course, the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson.

“She seamlessly led that transition and partly because of her leadership, her steadfastness and loyalty to the unit, I really made a big difference and I appreciate that,” Stewart said. “Then we had to go through MHS GENESIS, and I will tell you that we made it through that better than any other clinic and hospital that has rolled out GENESIS. It’s a challenge, but a lot goes to the credit of the sergeant major.

“This is a very resilient organization, and it cannot be resilient unless you have leaders that are dedicated and the Soldiers trust and know that we have their backs,” Stewart added. “Sergeant major Hicks has done that every single day that she’s been here.”

Hicks said she will cherish the three years that she spent as the MTF’s sergeant major, and despite having other great assignments, Moncrief ranks near the top.

“Being on this team for three years was such a positive experience for me,” she explained. “I’m not going to lie, the most rewarding job I’ve had in my military career was as a first sergeant at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. However, my experience here at Moncrief was one of the best for me over the course of my career.”

Hicks said one of the unique things about Moncrief is that the organization is both fierce and extremely compassionate. She also commended the organization’s leaders, Soldiers and civilian employees, but she gave a special shout out to the unit’s NCO Corps.

“It’s our noncommissioned officers that I admire the most,” she explained. “Your grit and dedication, your selflessness is the true lifeline to the unit and everywhere else. The commander bears the most responsibility, but you have the hardest job. That was never lost on me, so I thank you for hard training our Soldiers, while simultaneously managing clinical operations every single day.”

Hicks is set to officially retire sometime in May. She said she is looking forward to spending time with her family and enjoying one of her favorite past times – golfing.