The 65th Medical Brigade Chief of Staff, Col. Yvette McCrea, presided over the 131st cycle graduation of the Integrated Service of Republic of Korea (ROK) Military Health Care Personnel Program (ISRMHCPP) January 8, 2021 at the Brian D. Allgood Army Community Hospital cafeteria on Humphreys.
During her opening remarks, McCrea highlighted the interoperability, professionalism and cultural understanding of the ROK/U.S. medical alliance.
"As we sustain our future and continue to provide health care professionals in organizations and medical units, providing health service support, medical mission command and force health protection to our forces in Korea, it is programs such as this that keep our medical alliance strong and ready," McCrea said. “This past year has illustrated that the spectrum of challenges facing the Korean peninsula demands an interoperable, flexible and determined Alliance, ready to fight tonight.”
The ISRMHCPP was established in 1955 to facilitate wartime coordination between the U.S. and ROK military health care support system in the event of hostilities.
ROK army officers work with their U.S. counterparts for six months, sharing expertise and increasing cultural understanding while gaining an appreciation of the U.S. military and its' health care system. More than 500 students, including veterinarians, physicians, dentists, nurses and medical corps officers have graduated from this mutually beneficial program and gone on to serve distinguished careers in both the military and civilian sectors in the Republic of Korea.
McCrea’s remarks echoed the continued success of the program. "This graduating class is particularly special, having served alongside our staff and medical providers during one of the most trying armistice missions imaginable – COVID-19 response.”
At a time when many combined training events were cancelled or delayed throughout the peninsula. McCrea highlighted the resiliency of the graduates who served alongside Brigade staff and medical providers.
“Despite the pandemic degrading combined ROK-US training opportunities, they continued to improve the Alliance by serving at our reception center, and by planning the largest healthcare symposium on the Peninsula. There steadfast partnership and dedication to our combined mission was essential to the continued success of the Pacific Medics,” said McCrea.
Col. Seung Woo Park, Chief of Medical Operation Division, Republic of Korea Armed Forces Medical Command, was the honored guest speaker who spoke highly of the graduates.
"This class has proven to be more successful than any other, as attributed by their service in a variety of fields throughout the 65th Medical Brigade, resulting in increased contributions toward a stronger armed forces medical command," said Park.
“For the past six decades, this program’s graduates have contributed to improvements of our combined medical capabilities. The alliance between ROK and U.S. military medicine will expand beyond borders of operations, education, research and academics and I am sure these graduates will play a key role in the process,” continued Park.
For 66 years this program has stood as a testament to the talents of our Soldiers, both Korean and American, and serves as a sterling symbol of the vigorous ROK/U.S. alliance. The Brigade is proud to associate with them and will always recognize them as colleagues and friends. Their charge upon reassignment back to the ROK forces is to share the lessons learned with their colleagues in the ROK Armed Forces Medical System.
"Their work and service makes us all better health care providers and better Soldiers as we learned as much from them as they learned from us and I thank them for their contribution to our success," said McCrea.