LANDSTUHL, Germany -- Sgt. Maj. Brett Long relinquished his responsibility as the senior enlisted advisor to the Public Health Command Europe Commander during a March 23 ceremony on Kirchberg Kaserne.
The relinquishment of responsibility is an event rich with tradition, symbolism and heritage. The key to the ceremony is the passing of the unit’s colors. In Public Health Command Europe, the senior enlisted leader is the principal advisor to the commander on all facets of enlisted soldier matters. In that role, the senior enlisted leader safeguards the unit colors. The colors represent not only the lineage and honor of the unit, but also the loyalty and unity of its soldiers. The passing of the colors symbolizes the relinquishment of responsibility from the outgoing command senior enlisted leader.
“Without question, over the last 2.5 years as this unit’s senior enlisted advisor, Sgt. Maj. Long set the gold standard with respect to doing just that,” said Col. Kenneth Spicer, PHCE commander. “Fostering good order, instilling discipline, and caring for this high performing team.”
Long held the position for almost three years and is successfully retiring after 30 years of military service. He said he could have not asked for a better unit to end his career at.
"We have accomplished so much and have been an integral part of the public health and veterinary mission for Europe and Africa," said Long. "We started off strong and ran into the COVID pandemic. It became quite clear that public health experts were needed and we quickly stepped up to the challenge."
Long’s replacement will not be here until later this year. In the meantime, Master Sgt. Ilker Irmak will fill in as the interim.
Irmak has served multiple assignments at Army Medicine Europe and most recently as the 551st Medical Logistics first sergeant at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash.
“You are no stranger to Army Medicine Europe and it’s clear to me that you are a perfect fit for the senior enlisted advisor position,” said Spicer. “It will be demanding, at times trying and sometimes outright difficult. But, I can also assure you that it will also be the most rewarding opportunity.”
Ilker is looking forward “to diving into all of these challenges as a team” and confident to meet them head-on.
“I want to pledge my unwavering commitment and support to Col. Spicer, the Public Health Activities’ command teams, soldiers, staff and civilian employees,” said Ilker. “The upcoming months look challenging, yet exciting.”