WASHINGTON -- Col. Claude Schmid, the U.S. Army Military District of Washington's Medical Evacuation to CONUS Hospitals (MECH) team chief, retires after 30 years of service in the U.S. Army at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Sept. 27.

From May 2010 thru May 2013, Schmid has been the MECH team chief at Joint Base Andrews, Md., which assists America's Wounded Warriors as they return to U.S. soil. It provides 24/7 Soldier support, assistance, and tracking functions for the Medical Evacuation to CONUS Hospitals of Active, National Guard, and Reserve members.

"On the MECH team missions, he was always personally engaged with the Wounded Warriors and was truly appreciative of their service and commitment to our nation," said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas E. Bish, MECH deputy team chief. "He always stays focused on the mission at hand and prioritizes our responsibilities with ease."

The retirement ceremony, hosted by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, MDW commanding general, highlighted Schmid's leadership, professional skills, and efforts that resulted in unprecedented support to over 8,000 returning Wounded Warriors.

The MECH team keeps Army leadership aware of all casualties arriving at Andrews and ensures accountability for tracking the Soldiers whereabouts once they land and until they arrive at their home unit or placed on further transport to other military medical facilities. They also ensure the casualties have the opportunity and means to communicate with home units and family members.

"He loves our country and epitomizes Selfless Service," said Bish. "He is a man of honor and I will miss him. He is the best officer I ever served with!"