PYEOUNGTAEK, South Korea - The ‘Dragon Dogs’ family (106th Medical Detachment-Veterinary Service Support and Public Health Activity Korea) held a changing of the guard June 4, 2021, on Humphreys as outgoing commander Dr. (Lt. Col.) Patti Glen handed the mantle of responsibility to Dr. (Lt. Col.) Lauren Pecher.
During Glen's two years as commander of the 106th Veterinary Detachment and Public Health Activity Korea, her Soldiers took advantage of opportunities for self-growth and opportunities to help others.
They worked countless hours in various forms of volunteerism, helping others without any thought of gaining personal recognition, all while continuing their mission despite the many COVID-19 restrictions and challenges.
As the reviewing officer for the change of command, Col. Dave Zimmerman, the 65th Medical Brigade commander, commented and praised the detachment for working diligently and silently behind the scenes, keeping everyone on the peninsula healthy during this global pandemic.
As a forward-deployed and geographically-dispersed Army Veterinary Detachment, any given day the Soldiers of the 106th can be found protecting the force, inspecting produce, validating water plants, inspecting bakeries and commissaries, running the theater food laboratory, providing care for military working dogs and providing compassionate care and travel documentation for the countless pets of family members.
“With a lineage that goes back to 1944, the detachment continues its meritorious service in support of United States Forces Korea through the care of over 60 military working dogs and care of over 6,000 privately owned animals across the peninsula, ensuring their wellness and their readiness to evacuate the peninsula during transition to hostilities,” said Zimmerman.
The team not only cares for pets and four-legged heroes who serve side-by-side with servicemembers, but in an indirect way, care for everyone by inspecting every commissary, dining facility, restaurant, and Army and Air Force Exchange Food outlets on the peninsula to ensure all food products are safe for purchase and human consumption.
“The 106th is part of a strong and growing network of allies, partners and friends across the peninsula,” said Zimmerman. “There is no unit more creative, resilient, and quick to adapt to the high pace of their mission with initiative than the ‘Dragon Dogs’.”
Over the past two years, under Glen’s leadership the organization has thrived and achieved remarkable results, according to Zimmerman.
The 106th has supported the Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation plan for pet evacuation, advised the Status of Forces Agreement committee, deployed to naval bases, and served on Air Force installations while securing public health in a complex international environment.
During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 106th provided incident commanders, responding to hot spots on the installation as the sole medical authority on scene coordination with a variety of agencies.
As the commander, Glen established an agreement with Seoul National University Veterinary Hospital to ensure timely advanced military working dog care as well as establishing local emergency MWD treatment with Daegu clinics while reenergizing MWD evacuation exercises for outlying sites lacking veterinary support.
Glen achieved the very first Republic of Korea Veterinary Corps Officer 6-month externship by integrating a ROK Veterinary Corps officer into the unit. Zimmerman applauded Glen for not only improving the alliance, but also creating a shared understanding of mission sets, and opportunities for improving interoperability.
“In true testament and validation of her commitment to excellence, she championed the renewed SOFA MOU between the 106th/PHA-K and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs ensuring all meat and fresh fruits and vegetables imported from the U.S. were in compliance with ROK requirements,” lauded Zimmerman.
“She regularly engaged local pet transporters, easing the pet PCS process for families, and created a local shelter agreement to enable community outreach programs, provide a safe haven for abandoned pets and improve welfare and adoptability of unwanted animals," Zimmerman added.
Glen spoke of her challenging and demanding assignment as being the most rewarding of her career thus far.
“The credit of this detachment’s accomplishments belongs to every ‘Dragon Dog;’ you all have exceeded my expectations on a daily basis despite our complex mission, and for that, I am proud of each and every one of you," she said. "We work in a unit where everyone does the work of two people, continue to stay busy and never let the mission fail. Take pride in your accomplishments and the excellent reputation you have earned.”
Glen leaves Korea with her husband, Lt. Col. David Glen, the 65th Medical Brigade S-1, for the East Coast, where she will serve as the commander of Public Health Activity Fort Belvoir, Va.
The incoming commander, Dr. (Lt. Col.) Lauren Pecher, comes to the 106th team after serving as the commander of Public Health Activity San Diego, Calif. She is accompanied by her husband, Martin Michel, and their children, Tristan and Keara.
“I look forward to the future successes of this detachment and am humbled to lead and tackle its many dynamics,” Pecher said.
Zimmerman noted that Pecher was the correct choice to take charge of the 106th.
“Lauren is the absolute right officer to take command of the Dragon Dogs team,” he said. “Assuming command of the most complex, geographically employed veterinary service and public health activity in the U.S. Army, I know that you will do great things and move both organizations, the detachment and the activity, to new heights of capabilities and readiness.”