After 41 years of combined military, industry and federal civilian service, Mark Seymour has announced his upcoming retirement from the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, Fort Detrick, Maryland. Since August 2012, Seymour has served as the Chief Program Analyst for USAMMDA’s Warfighter Protection and Acute Care Project Management Office. In this role, he is responsible for the advanced development of pharmaceutical items related to infectious diseases, blood products and pain management.
Seymour entered the U.S. Army in July 1980, upon graduation from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science (pre-veterinary medicine) on his way to fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. Actually, his military career began during his freshman year in college, when a dorm mate spoke to him about the Army’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. Seymour chose to enter the program, which led to a 20-year career as an Army Officer.
“I found that I enjoyed the camaraderie [of ROTC],” he said, “and knowing the difficulty of being accepted into veterinary school, coming out of New England at that time, I decided to stay with the program. I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Medical Service Corps when I entered active duty.”
Speaking of New England, Seymour said he grew up in Uxbridge, a small picturesque town in Massachusetts, and graduated from Uxbridge High School. While he spent much of his free time reading and playing chess, he also enjoyed photography — developing and printing his own black and white photos in his basement darkroom.
Seymour’s younger days in New England were spent with friends and family. During those years, he did not venture any farther than New York State and the Eastern Canadian Provinces for vacations. His later years in the military would certainly provide Seymour with a different type of experience, as he took on numerous assignments across the globe on his way to retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.
“After completing the Officer Basic Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, I was assigned as an ambulance platoon leader with the 429th Medical Company, 44th Medical Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,” he explained. “During this assignment, I was deployed to the Sinai, Egypt, to serve as the administrative officer, South Base Camp Medical Clinic, Logistical Support Unit, Multinational Force and Observers, established as part of the Camp David Accords.”
After this tour, Seymour returned to Fort Bragg, where he held additional assignments as the commander’s aide, 1st Corps Support Command, and adjutant and assistant administrator, Specialty Care Support Branch, Womack Army Community Hospital. After completion of the Army Medical Department Officer Advanced Course and the Medical Logistics Management Course at Fort Sam Houston, he was assigned as Commander, C Company, 115th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
“Following my company command, I was assigned as the chief of Property Management at the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany,” he continued. “During this assignment, the unit received the Army Superior Unit Award as one of the tertiary care hospitals supporting Operation Desert Storm.”
In 1991, Seymour was assigned to Fort Detrick to serve as chief of Resource Management for the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, and for the past three decades he has called the Frederick area his home. After serving as chief of Facilities and Services for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s deputy chief of staff for Logistics, he served as a medical technology staff officer in the Liaison’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) at the Pentagon. His final assignment was on the Army Staff, serving as a congressional liaison officer in the Army Budget Office working with the Defense and Military Construction Appropriation Subcommittees.
“After my retirement from active duty in September 2000, I accepted a position with Battelle Memorial Institute, which is a nonprofit charitable trust organization,” said Seymour. “And in 2010, I joined the WPAC PMO as part of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program, serving as a program and financial analyst. In 2012, I began my civil service career.”
During both his military and civilian careers, Seymour has received numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (4th award), Department of the Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal, and other commendations, including the Army Staff Badge. He is Acquisition Level II-certified in Business and Finance, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne School.
A career such as this may only be achieved through discipline and focus, and Seymour readily agrees. He credits much of his success to the life lessons offered to him by his parents, and from what he learned early in his military career while working for a true war hero.
“My parents — who raised me, got me through college and out into the world in one piece — have always been my heroes, my role models and my inspiration, and I have always looked up to them,” said Seymour. “The hero who was not a part of my family, but who had a huge impact on my life and career, was (Army) Col. William J. Richardson, Jr. I served as his administrative assistant when I was a young first lieutenant at Fort Bragg. He was enlisted during the Korean War and spent 34 months in prisoner-of-war camps. After he was released, he went to Army Officer Candidate School and had earned the rank of Colonel by the time I first met him. The leadership, management, and personal skills I learned from him have followed me throughout my career, and I can honestly say that assignment served as the foundation for my success.”
Looking ahead towards his retirement, Seymour jokes that he will probably have a busier daily schedule than he had while working. His first task will be finding a home to buy in New Hampshire, so he can move back to be closer to his family. He looks forward to cycling and hiking in the White Mountains, and says there are many places to ride and over 2,000 miles of trails in the mountains to hike. His other hobbies include restoring a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle, wood working, reading, genealogy and gardening.
“But most of all, I’m looking forward to spending time with family,” he said. “I have a daughter and a son, one brother and one sister, and I am fortunate to have both of my parents, who are still living among my extended family in Massachusetts.”
Yes, family is certainly important for Seymour, who shared a special story of his wife, Kathy.
“I was married to the late Katherine E. Sills of Atlanta, Georgia, and we met while we both were serving on active duty at Fort Bragg,” he said. “She passed away unexpectedly almost five years ago, and we had a wonderful 32 years of marriage together.”
“Dating my wife, while we were both on active duty, is probably the most memorable story of my career,” he continued. “At the time, I was a young captain and she was a private first class. Although frowned upon, officers and enlisted dating in the early 1980’s was ‘allowed’ as long as it was not blatantly public. We spent our time together with close friends, or going on dates to Raleigh, so as not to get caught. This was one of the best decisions of my life, even though it could have been career-ending at the time. Kathy was honorably discharged just before we got married.”
As he acknowledged those who helped him reach the end of such a wonderful career, it comes as no surprise that Kathy tops the list.
“Even though she is no longer here, my wife Kathy was the rock that was my support and foundation for over 32 years. Without her, I would not have been able to have the success that I have had,” said Seymour. “There are too many others to list individually, but no one can be successful without the support of their superiors, subordinates and peers. I could not have done this without all of the fantastic soldiers, civilians and coworkers I have worked with over the past 41 years.”
By the same token, it seems safe to say that they could not have done it without you as well.
So, on behalf of the entire USAMMDA team, may you enjoy many years of blissful retirement somewhere in the New England countryside. Your dedication to the organization and our nation, as a Soldier and as a civilian, will not be forgotten.
USAMMDA is a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, under the Army Futures Command. As the premier developer of world-class military medical capabilities, USAMMDA is responsible for developing and delivering critical products designed to protect and preserve the lives of Warfighters across the globe. These products include drugs, vaccines, biologics, devices and medical support equipment intended to maximize survival of casualties on the battlefield.