By C.J. LovelaceDecember 16, 2019
SEONGNAM, SOUTH KOREA - Maj. Mark G. Sander, deputy commanding officer at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea, was recently recognized as an Honorary Member of the Korean Military Medical Association.
Brig. Gen. Seog Woong, commanding general of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces Medical Command, presented the award during the association's 50th Military Medical Conference, a two-day event that concluded Nov. 7, 2019 at the Militopia Hotel and Conference Center in Seongnam.
Sander's recognition came as a result of countless hours of collaboration and efforts to promote the Republic of Korea and U.S. alliance, as well as his "continued contributions to the development of Korean Military Medicine."
However, Sander said the alliance between the two countries "has had a bigger impact on me than I will ever have on it."
"We at USAMMC-K are considered a habitual contributor at the joint and combined planning levels, supporting efforts to synchronize events, understand requirements and logistics capacity issues, as well as build in opportunities where we can achieve synergy in mutual support," he said.
USAMMC-K is a direct reporting unit under the Army Medical Logistics Command, headquartered at Fort Detrick, Md.
Sander said the award came as a "surprise," particularly considering the heavily clinical and scientific background of the association's leadership and overall subject matter.
"As a logistician, we thrive in both the theoretical and pragmatic, so we are able to forecast and sustain multiple potentials using available resources and reduce the risk to operations," he said. "But in that academically charged environment, I was definitely not well versed in the majority of their topics."
Sander was quick to share credit with USAMMC-K Commander Lt. Col. Marc R. Welde, whom he described as a "driven and resourceful leader."
"(Welde) spends what I consider the dominant amount of his limited time focused over the horizon, developing the vision of how we should be operating, as he should," Sander said. "I see it as my job, as the DCO, to activate that potential and see his vision meet reality."
It was a recent presentation on USAMMC-K's capability and operational concepts, in which Sander appeared on Welde's behalf, that "likely ... earned the notice" of the Korean medical leaders, he said.
Sander has served as the DCO at USAMMC-K since June 2018. He called the role a rewarding experience.
"There are so many ways to serve in this role, that I could spend all my time and be just as busy even if I never once tried to represent us with our ROK partners," Sander said. "But it is so utterly rewarding to share experiences and be culturally savvy when the partners are as friendly as they are here."