The U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command hosted a Change of Command ceremony at Fort Detrick, Maryland, on June 23. During the event, held at the CPT Jennifer J. Shafer Odom Fitness Center, responsibility of both USAMRDC and Fort Detrick was transferred from Brig. Gen. Anthony L. McQueen to Brig. Gen. Edward H. Bailey.
"We bid farewell to one great leader and their family, and also the familiarity that comes with that experience," said Maj. Gen. Edmond Brown, Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Futures Command, who officiated the event. "But we also welcome a new leader into our family and build a new relationship based on mutual respect."
By assuming the role of USAMRDC's new leader, Bailey is also stepping into a new community. He comes to Fort Detrick from Honolulu, Hawaii where he served as Commanding General of the Medical Readiness Command, Pacific and Deputy Director for the Indo-Pacific Defense Health Agency. "You heard [BG McQueen] talk about how important the community is," said Bailey. "I recognize that and look forward to meeting and working with all of you."
Bailey began his military career serving in the 82nd Airborne Division. After commissioning in 1993, he attended the Uniformed Services University and completed a residency in family medicine at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg (known as Fort Liberty since 2023). In his distinguished military career, Bailey also commanded the U.S. Army Health Clinic in Baumholder, Germany, the 86th Combat Support Hospital and Task Force Med Eagle in Operation United Assistance and the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) in Hawaii.
From these experiences and his many other assignments, Bailey shared a few lessons learned with those in attendance at today's ceremony.
"It does not matter what the organization name is. It matters what the mission is – that will not change," said Bailey. "Second, transition is very hard. The better we plan and prepare for the fog and friction to come, the easier the transition will be. And lastly, really the most important thing is the people. We cannot achieve our mission without the talented workforce that is here at Fort Detrick and throughout MRDC."
Bailey also took time to thank his predecessor. "[BG McQueen] thank you for the phenomenal job you have done. Transition is very hard, and you have done the hard work of planning and setting us up for success. I greatly appreciate that," said Bailey. McQueen now moves on to the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army to serve as a deputy. During his two-year assignment at USAMRDC, McQueen was notably tasked with navigating the command through the latter stages of the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring work continued on major efforts in the areas of medical research, development and acquisition for the current and future fighting force.
In his remarks to the audience, McQueen thought back to his own transition to USAMRDC and Fort Detrick.
"At the time, I knew this assignment was special, but I didn't realize how extremely proud I would quickly become of this place, these people and the work that we do here on behalf of the Warfighter and the nation," said McQueen. "This has truly been a one-of-a kind assignment with a one-of-a kind workforce."
With heartfelt gratitude, McQueen expressed his thanks to Bailey for dedicating time during this transition to maintain the momentum of the USAMRDC team and their lifesaving work. McQueen brought his remarks to a close praising MRDC for making the impossible feel possible and for always pushing to be better than yesterday.
Attended by more than 150 people and reaching another 75 via Facebook live, the ceremony was a testament to the first priority of both McQueen and Bailey – people.