By Capt. Rebecca NewtonJuly 24, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The U.S. Army Medical Department Activity welcomed a new commander during a ceremony July 17 at Sexton Field. Col. Mark W. Thompson relinquished command to Col. Matthew E. Mattner, with staff, Family, friends and distinguished visitors there to share in the event.
Reviewing officer for the ceremony was Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, commanding general, Northern Regional Medical Command. Commander of troops was Lt. Col. Steven E. Shipley, deputy commander for administration, USA MEDDAC. Command sergeant major for the event was MEDDAC Command Sgt. Maj. Theon J. Hart.
The 10th Mountain Division Band added festivity to the event. After a sequence of events that included an invocation, sound off, honors, inspection of troops, honors to the nation and the change of command itself, Wong, Thompson and Mattner addressed the crowd.
Wong began by thanking the Soldiers, Civilians, guests for attending the ceremony. He stated that the presence of everyone at the event signifies their commitment to and support of Army medicine, adding that it means a great deal to all who protect the health of those who defend the nation. He continued on to recognize all of the accomplishments under Thompson's command.
"Today, we recognize the achievements of the outgoing commander," Wong said. "And while he has not invented anything like chloroform, he is in his own right an outstanding physician and commander leaving his own legacy in AMEDD (Army Medical Department) history."
"Mark, you've done a phenomenal job leading the men and women of the Fort Drum MEDDAC, making great strides in providing quality health care, ensuring Soldier medical readiness, improving patient wellness, executing the IDES (Integrated Disability Evaluation System ) program and fostering community relationships."
After thanking Thompson and wishing him well in his next assignment, Wong turned his focus to Mattner.
"As we bid farewell to one outstanding leader, the MEDDAC is fortunate to welcome another great officer to lead this organization into the future: Col. Matt Mattner," Wong said. "Matt, I'm happy to welcome you and your spouse, Jennifer, along with your children, Daniel and Megan, to the NRMC Family."
Thompson spoke next.
"Today, I would like to close out my command with another quote from St. Francis, that being: 'It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching,'" he said.
Thompson said that actions speak louder than words, adding "We have a number of members of this command whose walking is their preaching every day.
"While thanking and recognizing individuals within the command can always be fraught with hazard as to those that are included and not included, I do want to thank a few select individuals to represent our MEDDAC staff as a whole for the way their actions preached our mission every day," he continued. "There are truly many others, but hopefully these few, who are not in the spotlight day to day, will represent the greater whole of our staff, both military and civilian."
Thompson then thanked a few special members of the MEDDAC staff.
"There are many more that could be thanked, but we simply don't have the time today to thank them all by name," he added. "This small subset of our staff proves that our team members every day let their 'walking be their preaching.' I thank you all for the honor of being your commander for the last two years."
Thompson closed by thanking Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong and Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, for allowing him the opportunity to command the Fort Drum MEDDAC team, as well as thanking previous NRMC and division commanders under whom he has served the past two years. He thanked his fellow commanders and command sergeants major for being his colleagues, mentors and friends. Lastly, he thanked his Family for supporting him and the Army he serves.
Mattner then stepped to the podium.
In his remarks, Mattner thanked Townsend and Wong for their guidance and mentorship. He said that he looks forward to the months ahead and he appreciates the opportunity to serve the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum and North Country communities.
He then thanked his new teammates at the MEDDAC, for welcoming the Mattner Family to northern New York and Fort Drum. He said that he is impressed with the quality and professionalism of each person he has met so far.
"You're an amazing team, and I am proud to be your new commander," he said. "I am counting on each and every one of you to continue to accomplish the mission. Together, we will continue to be the best MEDDAC in the Army and an integral part of Fort Drum and the North Country."
Mattner received his commission in the Medical Service Corps in 1988 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor of science degree in physics. He also holds a master of science degree in aviation safety from Central Missouri State University.
He most recently served as chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, V Corps in Wiesbaden, Germany, and as director of staff, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, Kabul, Afghanistan.
He previously served assignments at Wiesbaden, Germany; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Pentagon, Washington, D.C.; Yongsan, South Korea; Camp Page, South Korea; Fort Rucker, Ala.; Kitzingen, Germany; Schweinfurt, Germany; Landstuhl, Germany; Seoul, South Korea; and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
His military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal and a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
He earned the Expert Field Medical Badge, Senior Army Aviator Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge. He has been recognized by the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Order of St. Michael (Bronze Medallion).