LANDSTUHL, Germany -- Public Health Command Europe held a Change of Command ceremony July 12 as the command's outgoing commander, Col. Rebecca Porter, relinquished her command to Col. Brian Spangler.The event was hosted by Brig. Gen. Ron Stephens, Regional Health Command Europe commanding general and U.S. Army Europe Command Surgeon.The ceremony officially passed PHCE leadership to Spangler, who most recently attended Senior Service College at The Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy in Washington DC.This will be his third command position and second time serving in Germany."I am honored and humbled by your trust and confidence to take on this responsibility," Spangler said. "Public Health Command Europe has a great and well-deserved reputation for excellence and I look forward to my challenge of continuing where Col. Rebecca Porter left off."
Spangler's wife, Col. Kathy Spangler recently assumed command of the SHAPE Healthcare Facility in Mons, Belgium.A change of command is a long-held military tradition. The ceremony is a symbolic passing of responsibility, authority and accountability from one commanding officer to another and is often the first time the unit sees the new commander and the last time they see the outgoing commander. It ensures Soldiers are never left without official guidance and it signifies the allegiance of Soldiers to their commander."The change of command ceremony demonstrates these expectations," Porter said. "It's been a challenging but rewarding two years and a great opportunity to have been working in such a diverse area of operation."During his remarks, Stephens acknowledged Porter's service and dedication to her organization, as well as her husband and family's support for the Army family. Porter will retire from the Army after 38 years of service and will work for a nonprofit, military child education organization.Public Health Command Europe is made up of 400 Soldiers and civilians stationed in six countries, and reached its initial operating capability October 1, 2010, combining the assets of the legacy U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine-Europe and European Regional Veterinary Command.Public Health Command Europe provides integrated, comprehensive, and global veterinary and preventive medicine support, that includes: occupational and environmental medicine, laboratory services, veterinary services, health promotion and wellness, environmental health and engineering, occupational health services, and epidemiology and disease surveillance. This support is provided for garrisons, training areas, and contingency and combat forces operating in United States European Command, United States Africa Command, and United States Central Command. The range of support routinely spans throughout 40 countries in a given year.