JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - The Soldier Medics of the 232d Medical Battalion welcomed Lt. Col. Genna Speed as its new commander during the 232d MED BN change of command ceremony held at the U.S. Army Medical Department Amphitheater, on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, June 13, 2022.
Presiding over the ceremony was Col. Marc Welde, 32d Medical Brigade commander; also in attendance was the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence command team, Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, and Command Sgt. Maj. Clark Charpentier.
The ceremony followed the traditions of passing the unit’s colors from the 232d MED BN Command Sgt. Maj. Lori Ingram, charged with guarding the colors as the senior noncommissioned officer, to the outgoing commander Lt. Col. Manuel Menendez. Menendez next passed the colors to Welde, the reviewing officer, symbolizing Menendez’s relinquishment of command. Subsequently, Welde passed the colors to Speed, the incoming commander, who accepted command and then completed the ritual by returning the colors to Ingram.
In his remarks welcoming Lt. Col. Speed, Welde said, “We look forward to the leadership that you’re going to provide. While the unit is currently postured for success, I trust your fresh set of eyes and your extensive background will only take the Soldier medics to the next level.”
Humbled by the opportunity to serve alongside the Soldiers of the 232, she expressed her pride to be a part of the team which trains our nation’s combat medics to be agile, adaptive leaders of character while performing a mission unsurpassed in importance.
“Men and women of our nation lead our Army in combat with confidence knowing that should they be injured, a combat medic will be there to render aid, making sure the worst day of their life is not the last day of their life,” said Speed. “This is an awesome undertaking, and I am committed to leading the team with compassion and a commitment in excellence in all that we do.”
The ceremony not only welcomed its new commander but also looked back at the accomplishments of its outgoing commander.
Welde said in his farewell remarks to Menendez, “They got it right when they selected Lt. Col. Menendez, to command this battalion. He brought a wealth of experience and professionalism that is rivaled by only a few.”
Within the framework of Smart, Fit and Disciplined, Welde listed Menendez’s key accomplishments during his term highlighting the implementation of a creative People First policy. Through the policy he increased Soldier sleep and cadre time off, the implementation of extra study halls and changing the overall culture.
“He led his team to create a signature learning environment that reduced attrition rate by over 15% leading to a 99% pass rate, likely the highest in the programs history,” said Welde.
Before signing off for the final time, Menendez said, “I am incredibly proud and thankful to all of you… You’ve changed lives, fact, for the better. I hope our Soldiers have even the slightest hint at the sweat each of you put in to making this place the best it can be and to make them the best they can be, and I hope we motivate them to be smarter, fitter, disciplined teammates, and leaders. Soldier Medics… Warrior Spirit!”
Speed, a former combat medic originally from Slidell, Louisiana, said to the Soldiers of the 232d MED BN, “It is an honor to return to the training battalion where I started my career more than 20 years ago.”
The 232d Medical battalion is the largest training battalion in the U.S. Army, responsible for training 68W Combat Medics, the second largest Military Operational Specialty in the U.S. Army, and one of four battalions under the 32d Medical Brigade.