KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE -- Keesler Medical Center Commander Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Kory Cornum has been selected to become the Air Mobility Command Surgeon at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Cornum has led almost 1,700 "Dragon Medics" since assuming command in April 2010. He will be succeeded by Col. (Dr.) Thomas Harrell, commander of the Department of Defense-Veterans Affairs Joint Venture Hospital at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, where he also serves as Alaskan Command surgeon. The change of command ceremony will be March 28 at 10 a.m., in front of the medical center. Brig. Gen. Patrick Higby, 81st Training Wing commander, will officiate.
During his four years at the helm of one of the largest Air Force medical facilities, Cornum has overseen the construction of the more than $50 million Back Bay Tower, a state-of-the-art structure now containing the facility's inpatient units, Emergency Department, two new operating rooms and two new cardiac catheterization labs as well as Physical and Occupational Therapy and Chiropractic Clinics.
Additionally, Cornum was responsible for ensuring the medical facility again became known as "Keesler Medical Center" to reflect its status as a leader in military medicine and its graduate medical education and related training programs. The medical center boasts the most active cardiac catheterization lab in the DOD and the only DOD Genetics Center.
He also encouraged innovation.
The "Hospital without Walls" concept that has blossomed over the past few years allows Keesler flight surgeons and critical care air transport teams to share their expertise with and provide care to other military installations -- including active-duty, Reserve and Air National Guard -- throughout Mississippi and adjacent states. KMC partners with the Air Force Reserve Command's 403rd Wing's medical unit here to support Keesler's Total Force flying mission, including both tactical airlift and the unique weather reconnaissance capability of the "Hurricane Hunters." The medical center also is the Air Force surgeon general's designated testing center for outpatient operational support concepts in the Base Operational Medical Cell.
Reflecting on his tenure as commander, Cornum said, "Every day has been fun. Knowing we always have more than 60 medics deployed providing combat trauma care makes it all worthwhile. Watching the care and compassion our staff shows for our patients and for each other has been quite inspiring. Keesler is an awesome place that I'm sad to be leaving."
The general is a 1980 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served as a football coach at the Academy before attending medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. Following an internship at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews AFB, Md., he served as a flight surgeon in special operations and the fighter community. While assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla., he deployed in support of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.