By Ramin A. KhaliliMay 31, 2019
Army leaders redesignated the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command as the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command during a town hall at Fort Detrick, Maryland, on May 31.
During remarks to assembled attendees, USAMRDC and Fort Detrick Commanding General Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb made clear the mission of the command would remain the same despite the name change.
"This is a very exciting opportunity," said Holcomb. "But we also need to continue all those same relationships we've had in the past as we look towards innovation and developing new technology."
The early portion of the event touched briefly on the command's 60-year history of joint Warfighter support, including the people and achievements that have contributed to the success of the command. The development of Tafenoquine --which is, notably, the first FDA-approved prophylactic drug for malaria in more than two decades-- along with the discovery of the first human antibodies that work against all Ebola viruses and, also, the continued refinement of a freeze dried plasma product all took place at USAMRMC.
"Tomorrow is the start of the future," said Holcomb, referencing the first full day of USAMRDC's alignment under Army Futures Command, "and so I'd like to ask that each of you help out in welcoming new staff, new people, and in taking on new responsibilities as we attempt to serve that future."
Organizationally, MRDC will align under the new Army Futures Command, which was inaugurated late last year as part of an overall effort to spread modernization across the force. The new motto of the AFC -- "Forge the Future"-- reflects this effort and desire. Following the town hall, Soldiers applied their new AFC shoulder patches in a symbolic show of identification with the new command.
"I'm really proud of the work you've done in the past and the work you're doing now," said Holcomb to the assembled attendees, "I want remind each of you to keep pushing forward."