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Army Medicine still starts here at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston

By Tish Williamson | U.S. Army Medical Center & School, Health Readiness Center of Excellence Public Affairs | Feb. 1, 2019


The Army’s Health Readiness Center of Excellence conducts ceremony to officially realign under the Training and Doctrine Command.

The Army Medical Department Center and School, Health Readiness Center of Excellence, or AMEDDC&S HRCoE, conducted a Transfer of Authority ceremony to publically recognize their realignment from the U.S. Army Medical Command, or MEDCOM, to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, with operational control under the Combined Arms Center, or CAC.

The realignment, that was official on October 19, 2018, was commemorated during the ceremony by passing of the HRCoE’s unit colors from the outgoing command to the incoming command.   Co-hosted by Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, The Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and Commander, MEDCOM, and Lt. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, Commander, CAC and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the event also included a change in shoulder insignia, or unit patch, for the HRCoE’s headquarters and headquarters company.

During her remarks, West told Lundy that the CoE “will be in outstanding hands because of our long tradition with TRADOC and the synergy that we have had in the past. This is just the next step in that direction.”

West, who is the 44th Surgeon General of the Army, went on to outline why the HRCoE’s motto –“Army Medicine Starts Here” is appropriate.  She said, “This is the entry point for all the members of our Army Medical Department.  Our doctors, nurses, administrators, x-ray techs, dentists, physical therapists and, of course our beloved combat medics, all start here.”

West also noted that TRADOC and MEDCOM have always had a strong relationship and will continue to work closely to determine requirements for both personnel and materiel to ensure the future medical force is ready to support the Army and the joint force.

The HRCoE trains over 37,000 Soldiers in 104 officer and warrant officer areas of concentrations and 24 enlisted military occupational specialties.  They produce agile Army medical leaders for the operational force in various medical specialties. Army medical personnel from various recruitment or commissioning sources, all pass through the CoE during Advanced Individual Training, Basic Officer Leadership Courses, Captains Career Courses, or many other international, graduate, civilian education or leader programs.

With the addition of the Health Readiness CoE, TRADOC schools will now have a soldier and service member throughput of over 745,000 annually among their nine centers, including the HRCoE. Each center of excellence, from Aviation, Cyber, or Fires to Intelligence, Maneuver, or Sustainment is focused on a separate area of expertise within the force; together, they are building America’s Army.

The purpose of the Army is to fight and win the nation’s wars. Warfighting is every soldier’s primary mission, and the reorganization was guided by that fundamental principal by order of the Secretary of the Army.

TRADOC’s mission is to recruit, train, and educate the Army, driving constant improvement and change to ensure the total Army can deter, fight and win on any battlefield now and into the future. They execute their mission through major subordinate commands like the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, the U.S. Army Cadet Command, and the Combined Arms Center.

Lundy, who is also the Deputy Commanding General for Combined Arms, TRADOC, outlined how the Army has been very focused, for the greater part of two decades, on counterinsurgency, stability operations and counterterrorism, but now great power competition, or conflict, is at the center of the U.S. national defense strategy.  Lundy said, “We have to continue to change and adapt to the operational environment, how we think about being able to prevail in large scale ground combat operations, and how Army medicine matters and is going to be different than maybe it has been over the last 17 years.”

Through CAC’s U.S. Army and TRADOC core roles and functions, they develop requirements across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development and education, personnel, facilities, and policy (DOTMLPF-P) for divisions, corps, and theaterm armies while synchronizing and integrating doctrine, training, education, and leader development.

“It is very appropriate that HRCoE is now formally a part of the Combined Arms Center, but I will tell you, it has always been a part of our combined arms team,” said Lundy.  The HRCoE, who has always had the mission of training the Army medical force, has worked hard to appropriately nest with the CAC and TRADOC missions.

Lundy reiterated West’s sentiment that Army Medicine has been successfully linked with TRADOC for some time and described how the expertise that The Surgeon General brings is necessary for CAC and the HRCoE’s success through this realignment and into the future.  Lundy told the command, “My expectation is that you maintain the relationship that you have now with the Army Surgeon General; that is absolutely vital.”

The CoE traces its lineage to the Medical Field Service School (MFSS) established in 1920 at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. The creation of the service school was strongly advocated for by The Surgeon General at the time, Maj. Gen. Merritte W. Ireland.  The Service School moved to Fort Sam Houston in 1946 and was located in the 9th Infantry Regiment Quadrangle.  In 1991, the school was re-designated as the Army Medical Department Center and School and added the CoE designation after earning accreditation in February 2015.

Over 300 attendees, that included former AMEDDC&S HRCoE and MEDCOM commanders and command sergeants major, community leaders, soldiers and civilians, witnessed the historic moment when West removed the left shoulder insignia of Maj. Gen. Patrick D. Sargent, Commanding General of the AMEDDC&S HRCoE, the MEDCOM patch, to signify the end of assignment within the Medical Command.  Lundy, signifying the transition to CAC, replaced the patch with the shoulder sleeve insignia that was originally established for the U.S. Army medical training center by the Institute of Heraldry from 1959 to 1973.  The patch that was reinstated and re-designated for the HRCoE is adorned with a torch, representing knowledge, and a serpent, which is adapted from the Army Medical Corps insignia. The patch is maroon and white, the traditional colors of the Medical Corps.

The HRCoE, under the Training and Doctrine Command, maintains the authority and responsibility for developing medical readiness and health concepts, identifying medical readiness and health capability gaps, and defining and redesigning future Soldier medical and health requirements.  The HRCoE mission remains to envision, design, train, educate, and inspire a premiere military medical force.

Upon completion of the Transfer of Authority and Patch Ceremony, Sargent told Lundy and West that the CoE is “all in” and committed to ensuring that Army Medicine does not lose the momentum that it has already gained in support of the Army’s mission.  He said he fully grasps the HRCoE’s current mission and the nature of the changing operational environment. HRCoE priorities are designed to strengthen America’s Army by developing the medical capability and preparing the medical force of the future.  He also described how he believes the Army medical department brings humanity to the battlefield while conserving the fighting strength.

Sargent, who assumed command of the HRCoE June 1, 2018, reiterated his vision for the command, “We bring strength to the warrior, hope for the wounded and comfort for the dying.  We are the foundation on which Army Medicine is built.  Army Medicine Starts Here.”