By Mr. William Wight (65th Medical Brigade Public Affairs Office)June 20, 2018
U.S. ARMY GARRISON HUMPHREYS -- PYEOUNGTAEK, SOUTH KOREA - The 65th Medical Brigade and Medical Department Activity Korea conducted a change of command ceremony at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, May 31, 2018 to bid farewell to Col. (P) Wendy L. Harter, outgoing commander, and to welcome incoming commander, Col. Derek C. Cooper.
Lt. Gen. Michael A. Bills, Commanding General, Eighth United States Army and Brig. Gen. Bertram Providence, the commanding general of the Regional Health Command-Pacific, hosted Soldiers, KATUSA's, staff, civilians, families, friends and distinguished guests who gathered to honor and recognize the colonels as they take on their new military career roles.
"As the Commander of MEDDAC-Korea, a command in one of the most strategically important regions in the world, Col. Harter provided mission-focused and team oriented leadership to Army medical equities across the entire peninsula. Her tirelessly devotion to patient care, ensuring over 40,000 beneficiaries of combined joint warfighters from across USFK, 8th Army, family members and retirees were well cared for with quality health service support and force health protection," said Providence, who awarded Harter with the Legion of Merit prior to the change of command ceremony.
Since assuming command in June 2016, Harter has worked closely with the Republic of Korea partners and alongside over 2,600 assigned Soldiers, KATUSAs, U.S. and Korean Civilian employees dispersed across the peninsula.
"We began a journey that has been fast paced under the most dynamic of circumstances in one of the most complex operating environments in the world," said Harter as she addressed the audience in attendance. "We executed mission during a period of strategic provocation, increased tension, and a pressurization campaign of flexible response options, political change and now a nascent start to détente with sustained and steady readiness underpinning diplomacy. The (Brigade and MEDDAC-K) have continued armistice health service support and force health protection missions, executed transformation and relocation and significantly increased our readiness posture and expeditionary capabilities at multiple levels from strategic to tactical across the tyranny of geography from the DMZ to Daegu."
Harter and her husband, Dr. Raymond Bateman, will be moving onward as she will be promoted to the rank of brigadier general and serve as the FORSCOM Surgeon.
Col. Derek Cooper comes to the unit after serving as the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Providence praised his background and experiences as not only impressive but exactly the care path the region is looking for in officers to lead Soldiers towards successful missions.
"Col. Cooper you must never forget that the command of Soldiers is the highest privilege the Army can bestow on a commissioned officer. We look forward to your leadership and welcome you, your wife Karen, along with your two sons, Joshua and Bryce-Alan to Korea and the Regional Health Command Pacific family," Providence said.
In his remarks, Cooper said he looked forward to "sharing ideas, building relationships and forging a path" in support of the military health system transformation.
"I look forward to the opportunity to serve the extraordinarily talented men and women of the Brigade and MEDDAC-K as we continue to provide full spectrum theater level medical support and force health protection in support of 8th Army and our Korean allies," said Cooper. "I can tell you from working closely with FORSCOM, MEDCOM and DA and in an ASCC support roll the last couple of years that 8th Army and the 65th MED Brigade are where the focus and attention has appropriately been. Our Army, Warfighters, and medical leadership have great confidence in the Pacific Medics team. The professionalism, dedication, and adherence to standards from the men and women standing here today is an integral part of that reputation and confidence."
Coopers assignments include Operations Officer for the 37th Medical Battalion in Pirmasens Germany; 1st Armored Division Medical Supply Officer, Company Commander 703rd Main Support Battalion 3rd Infantry Division; Chief of Property Management, Madigan Army Medical Center; 18th MEDCOM Support Operations Officer; Executive Officer for the 52nd Medical Evacuation Battalion; Deputy G4 for 30th Medical Brigade; Deputy V Corps Surgeon in Heidelberg, Germany; commander of the U.S. Army Health Clinic, Hohenfels Germany; Executive Officer, Director of Logistic/G4, Office of the Surgeon General/MEDCOM; Commander 62nd Medical Brigade; Commander 6th Medical Logistics Management Center and most recently serving as the Chief of Staff, United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.