374th Dental Squadron Changes Command

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Natalie Doan
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. Iris Ortiz Gonzalez assumed command of the 374th Dental Squadron from Col. Craig Rhyne during a change of command ceremony at Yokota Air Base, Japan, June 21.

Col. Brad Brough, 374th Medical Group commander, presided over the ceremony, and the event was attended by family members of the incoming and outgoing commanders, members of the 374th DS, and representatives from across the base.

“All of the amazing things that the members of the 374th Dental Squadron have done need to be recognized, and Col. Ortiz Gonzalez is the right fit,” said Rhyne. “She’s the right person to make sure that the squadron gets the recognition it deserves for all the amazing work it does.”

Rhyne leaves with several noteworthy accomplishments, to include leading the 374th DS to innovate healthcare delivery and exceed Defense Health Agency and Air Force medical service production goals, besting all other Air Force large dental clinics by 47%. Additionally, he optimized clinic schedules and manpower utilization, increasing available appointments by 20%. Furthermore, Rhyne enabled expanded regional access to care, accepting 220 consults in referral care from other U.S. military installations in Japan, saving the Pacific Air Forces approximately $500,000.

The change of command ceremony is a tradition dating back to the Roman era, when military leaders would pass a baton, colors, standards, or ensigns that symbolized the passing of command to subordinates in attendance, ensuring unit members were never without official leadership or a continuation of trust.

“Thank you for your leadership, Col. Rhyne,” said Ortiz Gonzalez. “You have given me the best squadron in the Air Force, and it is a tremendous blessing for me and my family to be here today.”

The 374th DS ensures maximum wartime readiness for the 374th Airlift Wing by providing high-quality, comprehensive dental care for the active-duty population and other eligible beneficiaries. It also enables deployments of medical and dental resources for contingency operations worldwide.