VILSECK, Germany – Col. E. Lee Bryan relinquishes command of U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Bavaria to Col. Merbin Carattini during a change of command ceremony, July 23, 2021, at Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany.
For Bryan, the majority of his tenure as MEDDAC Bavaria commander saw him and his team respond to the global pandemic coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the early days of year 2020.
Brig. Gen. Mark Thompson, commanding general of Regional Health Command Europe who officiated the ceremony, said Bryan not only served as director of health services for the MEDDAC Bavaria footprint, but due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, he also served as de facto surgeon for the 7th Army Training Command.
“Col. Bryan and his team responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in a steadfast, deliberate, and excellent manner that set the standard for Regional Health Command Europe,” said Thompson. “His team conduct more than 100,000 COVID screening encounters, administered 73,000 test in-house, and collected over 83,000 specimens for testing, all while continuing to support readiness and health care delivery.”
Despite numerous challenges imposed on the COVID-19 global pandemic response, Bryan and his team worked closely with the senior responsible officers and units within the three garrisons of Ansbach, Bavaria and Stuttgart to maintain an impressive medical deployment rating average of 96 percent during his command.
“His efforts will have a lasting impact on the MEDDAC-B team, supporting commands, and beneficiaries across the footprint,” said Thompson.
As Bryan reflected on the past two years, and his time at the helm of MEDDAC Bavaria, he referenced a favorite quote of his, attributed to American poet Maya Angelou, which summarized at that moment of his life how he felt.
“People will not remember what you say. And they will not remember what you do. But they will remember how you made them feel. And right now at this moment in time, after two years of – let’s call it an adventurous command – my feeling is of gratitude and thanks,” said Bryan.
“Gratitude that Tricia (Mrs. Bryan) and I were able to spend these last two years with this awesome team though all of the ups and downs that we have all experienced. And we did so together,” said Bryan. “We took care of each other as humans first, we kept our community safe through some pretty challenging times. We accomplished every mission, and most importantly, we did so with sympathy, empathy and compassion.”
Bryan’s next assignment will still keep him in the Regional Health Command Europe family as he becomes the Deputy Commanding Officer at Landstuhl Regional Medical Command.
As Bryan departs, Carattini, the incoming commander, plans to continue Bryan’s legacy of excellence while ensuring ‘People first, mission always’ is maintained.
Carattini recently served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is an aeromedical evacuation pilot with over 20 years of military service who has commanded at multiple levels: company, task force and battalion level.
As an aviator in 2013, Carattini had to choose either to compete for aviation commands or medical department commands. He decided on medical commands has achieved his military career goal to command an organization at the brigade level, MEDDAC Bavaria.
“My mission is clear. We will continue to improve the fighting strength of our force, enhancing readiness while providing great access to healthcare combined with the best possible patient experience,” said Carattini. “The challenge is accepted.”
Carattini takes over a medical department activity that provides healthcare services to U.S. Army installations located in Ansbach, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Stuttgart and Vilseck in Germany. MEDDAC Bavaria serves five U.S. Army installations, encompassing approximately 35,500 community members in Bavaria and an additional 10,000 community members in Stuttgart. In support of U.S. forces operating in Eastern Europe, MEDDAC Bavaria provides staffing support for two forward operating sites at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania and Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria.
To learn more about the people and facilities of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Bavaria (MEDDAC Bavaria) and the clinics they support, visit the MEDDAC Bavaria website at https://rhce.amedd.army.mil/bavaria/.