JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, Commander, U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, or MEDCoE, hosted the 32d Medical Brigade Change of Command Ceremony November 11, 2021 on the MacArthur Parade Field, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Change of command ceremonies are a military tradition that represent a transfer of authority and responsibility for units or commands. MEDCoE’s ceremony, where Col. Wesley Anderson, the outgoing 32d Medical Brigade Commander, relinquished command to incoming commander, Col. Marc Welde, was preceded by a historic photo with over 4,000 MEDCoE Soldiers and Civilians in formation on the field.
For MEDCoE, who celebrated their Centennial Anniversary in 2020 with very little fanfare due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the change of command was the first opportunity to gather such a large group in representation of the command. With improving local COVID-19 conditions, masks were not required for vaccinated personnel during the outdoor ceremony.
In addition to a panoramic group photo taken by MEDCoE Public Affairs, drone pilots assigned to the Air Force Civil Engineer Center out of JBSA-Lackland, Texas, captured a bird’s-eye view of the historic formation. MEDCoE’s Medical Video Television, or MEDVID TV, also filmed the event that consisted of 323d “Fort Sam’s Own” Army Band accompaniment, an invocation delivered by Chaplain (Maj.) Oyedeji Idowu, Honors to the Nation sung by Col. Princess Atunrase, the passing of the unit colors between commanders, pass in review, and the Army Song.
Comprised of over 1,000 military cadre, 800 Civilian staff and faculty, and over 5,000 students, MEDCoE is the largest civilian-accredited service school within the Department of Defense. MEDCoE trains over 34,000 soldiers in over 360 training and education programs annually. The 32d Medical Brigade, MEDCoE’s sole training brigade, is one of nearly a dozen major organizations within the command to include the Office of the Commandant, the Medical Noncommissioned Officers Academy, the Directorate of Simulations, the Directorate of Training and Doctrine, and the U.S. Army Medical Test and Evaluation Activity.
LeMaster said the 32d Medical Brigade, boasting five battalions and 23 companies, is the largest training brigade in the Army. He recalled a long list of accomplishments that he attributed directly to the professionalism and dedication shown at all levels within the brigade.
While dealing with the added pressure of the pandemic since March 2020, the 32d Medical Brigade’s leaders, drill sergeants, instructors, and trainers shouldered the majority of the responsibility to ensure the Army’s pipeline of trained and ready medical professionals remained securely open.
“This is where it all begins; it starts with the Brigade Commander,” LeMaster told the audience of over 200 senior leaders and MEDCoE personnel. “Over a 24-month period, Col. Wes Anderson’s Leadership resulted in over 45,000 Soldiers and Civilians entering into the operational force while facilitating critical transitions during the COVID-19 global pandemic.” From many milestone events, from implementing the Army’s People First Strategy to conducting controlled movements for nearly 20,000 Soldiers into and out of the training pipeline safely as part of the Command’s COVID-19 mitigation strategy, Anderson’s tenure will be well remembered due to its marked success.
“Wes and the 32d team have excelled and succeeded in so many ways,” LeMaster said. He thanked Anderson for his leadership, mentorship, dedication and compassion he demonstrated throughout his entire command. “The foundation of success you built within the brigade, with its strong teams, innovative processes, and a commitment to people first, as well as your passion for excellence, education and mentorship, will be your lasting legacy.”
LeMaster also lauded Welde, a recent graduate of the Senior Service College at the U.S. Naval War College, as the right choice to build on the foundation set by Anderson as the command looks toward the future. “Marc is a gifted and seasoned leader who has commanded the United Army Medical Material Center in Korea, he’s a combat veteran, and he understands the mission which he assumed a few moments ago,” said LeMaster.
Speaking directly to Welde, LeMaster characterized the members of a command as a Family during his closing remarks. “Marc, Wes has done an outstanding job leading this organization to new heights, and now you have the tremendous privilege and responsibility to care for the newest members of your Family,” LeMaster said. “I know you are up to the task.”
To learn more about the 32d Medical Brigade and the MEDCoE, visit the websisite at www.medcoe.army.mil.