NATICK, Mass. (June 16, 2016) -- Col. Raymond L. Phua became the 21st commander of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in a June 13 change of command ceremony.
Phua took over from Col. Thomas G. Eccles III, M.D., as Maj. Gen. Brian C. Lein, commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, presided. Phua previously served as director of the Performance Triad, Office of the Surgeon General. Eccles moves on to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Tacoma, Washington, where he will become the I Corps surgeon.
Lein pointed out that in Phua, USARIEM was getting a commander with "an impeccable resume."
"Col. Phua's career started as an enlisted Soldier," Lein said. "After receiving his degrees in physical therapy, he has not looked back. Multiple previous commands in combat support hospitals, combat operational stress control units and other tactical and fixed medical units have prepped him well to assume this leadership position. His most recent assignment as the lead for the Performance Triad for the OTSG clearly sets up his research priorities for this command."
Phua said he was excited to be a partner of USARIEM and "perpetuate its history of distinguished service and accomplishments."
"I'm honored this day to serve our country, the United States Army, the Medical Research and Materiel Command and the professionals and families of USARIEM," said Phua. "And I will use every bit of my energy, effort and authority as commander to fulfill my responsibility for the well-being of this Army family, the stewardship of our assigned resources and accomplishments of this institute's assigned missions.
"Maj. Gen. Lein, I appreciate this opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire the future of Army research. I am proud to join the Natick Soldier Systems Center community, the MRMC family, and your command team."
Lein recognized Eccles' efforts at USARIEM during a busy period in its history.
"Under Col. Eccles' leadership, this command has accomplished a tremendous amount of research for the Soldier," Lein said. "As our Army has finally moved toward gender integration into all specialties, the critical research into the Physical Demands Study was instrumental for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and our Army's validation of physical skills necessary for Combat Military Occupational Specialties. This Occupational Physical Assessment Test is being validated across the Army today as the baseline requirements for our Soldiers."
Phua also saluted Eccles' service at USARIEM.
"You established and nurtured partnerships that span across the enterprise and throughout the Department of Defense," Phua said. "You've set a high standard as a command family team, and I know you'll do great things at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. I look forward to building upon the strong foundation you've established."
Eccles noted that USARIEM made strides over what he called the "busiest and most productive two years in USARIEM's history." In particular, he mentioned the research on Combat MOSs and the Chief of Staff of the Army's first priority: readiness.
"In the AMEDD, we've always known that health is a force multiplier," Eccles said. "Healthy Soldiers are ready Soldiers. The work you do takes that one step further. Your research in nutrition, injury prevention and recovery, environmental health and protection and real-time physiologic status monitoring not only protects and improves Soldiers' health; it makes Soldiers better prepared for every phase of any fight. The work you've done to understand the physical demands of Combat MOSs has been central to the Army's efforts to get the right people in the right jobs regardless of gender, further improving the readiness of the force."
In closing his remarks, Lein praised the people who work at USARIEM.
"Our Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army has stated clearly that readiness is our number one priority," Lein said. "Our research must be wholly focused on military relevance and advancing our Soldiers' readiness for the uncertainties of the future. I am confident this command has the right leadership, Soldiers and civilians to meet our chief's requirement."