CAMP CARROLL, South Korea – As the fight against COVID-19 got underway, South Korea was among the first nations that saw a spike in cases.
The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea was on the frontlines of that initial response, helping to quell the highly infectious spread of the novel coronavirus and protect Soldiers and their families.
As the USAMMC-K commander for the past two years, Lt. Col. Marc R. Welde led the center’s dedicated and resilient workforce as they faced the mounting public health crisis, and he’s confident the next leader, Lt. Col. Marcus D. Perkins, will bring the same brand of leadership.
“Today marks another positive point in our unit’s history and I am proud and honored to hand over the colors to a great leader and logistician,” Welde said of Perkins during a Change of Command ceremony on June 18.
Welde, who will next head to Rhode Island to continue his education at the U.S. Naval War College, reflected in his remarks on his time spent at USAMMC-K, a direct reporting unit to Army Medical Logistics Command.
“These last two years have, without a doubt, been the most challenging, exciting, fulfilling, memorable and fun years of my career as a Soldier,” he said. “The sense of pride I have in our accomplishments is not something I can easily put into words.”
For the workforce at USAMMC-K, “it’s never a good day when we are busy,” Welde said. “The busier we are, typically the sicker people are.”
Though he didn’t expect their biggest enemy to be COVID-19, Welde expressed his gratitude to the command that was “ready to crush and kill the virus.”
“It’s been amazing to see this team execute with precision, operating at a level that’s unmatched across the Department of Defense,” he said. “When I look back on my time as your commander and reflect … my biggest memory is that of our incredible workforce.”
Perkins said he looks forward to continuing the center’s track record of excellence in medical materiel preparation and planning to safeguard readiness in the Korean theater, underscoring USAMMC-K’s role during the COVID-19 response.
“USAMMC-K’s response extended well beyond the Peninsula,” said Perkins, who previously served as a medical logistics manager and chief of medical logistics planning to the U.S. Army Africa commander, based in Vicenza, Italy.
“Korea was about a month ahead of us in Italy, so we were using immediate lessons learned from USAMMC-K to assist the readiness and response posture in both Vicenza and AFRICOM,” he said. “It is an honor and very humbling to serve in a command that had such an extended reach in fighting the virus.”
AMLC Commander Col. Michael Lalor, who presided over the ceremony virtually from Fort Detrick, Maryland, highlighted Welde’s leadership and contributions of his family during his time at USAMMC-K, while giving a warm welcome to Perkins and his family.
“Lt. Col. Marcus Perkins is the right fit for this outstanding unit, and he will jump on board and immediately lead USAMMC-K from the front,” Lalor said. “Marcus, we are proud to have you and your family on the AMLC team.”
During the ceremony, Col. Derek C. Cooper, commander of the 65th Medical Brigade, served as Lalor’s stand in during the passing of the colors to signify the transfer of leadership from Welde to Perkins.
The new USAMMC-K commander said little would change in terms of direction under his leadership, pledging to keep building on the momentum fostered by Welde and excellence shown by the dedicated USAMMC-K and U.S. Forces Korea communities.
“To all the leaders and Soldiers on the Peninsula, I commit to you right now that USAMMC-K will remain the premier organization you have worked so hard to become,” Perkins said.