LANDSTUHL, Germany -- Public Health Command Europe held a Change of Command and Relinquishment of Responsibility ceremony June 30 as the command's outgoing commander, Col. Kenneth Spicer, relinquished command to Col. Paul Lang and senior enlisted advisor Master Sgt. Ilker Irmak relinquished responsibility.
The event was hosted by Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray, Medical Readiness Command, Europe commanding general and U.S. Army Europe Command Surgeon.
The ceremony officially passed PHCE leadership to Lang, who most recently was the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Force Health protection at the Office of the Surgeon General at Fort Sam, Tx.
This will be his third command position and first time serving in Germany.
"I’m absolutely honored to be a part of this team," Lang said. "Public Health Command Europe and our activities provide force health protection and health service support to the Joint Force like no other organization in the Department of Defense. Our organization is unique, we truly conserve the fighting strength and I can’t think of a more noble calling."
A change of command is a long-held military tradition. The ceremony is a symbolic passing of responsibility, authority and accountability from one commanding officer to another and is often the first time the unit sees the new commander and the last time they see the outgoing commander. It ensures Soldiers are never left without official guidance and it signifies the allegiance of Soldiers to their commander.
"Being an Army leader is more than a job for me, it’s a lifestyle that I truly love. It’s my calling and passion for an opportunity to make a difference," Spicer said.
During his remarks, Murray acknowledged Spicer and Irmak’s service and dedication to the organization, as well as their wives and family's support for the Army family. Spicer will stay in Germany and work as the 68th Theater Medical Command Chief of Staff in Sembach. Irmak will attend the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy in Fort Bliss, Tx., this summer.
“ ’To be all that you can be’ was the Army’s recruiting slogan for more than twenty years and returned to ‘Be all you can be’ again this March,” said Irmak. “To me this slogan has been my way of life at least since I joined the Army. I’ve been privileged to be filling the Sergeant Major’s role for the last year and I’m looking forward to what other opportunities the Army has in store for me.”
Public Health Command Europe is made up of 400 Soldiers and civilians stationed in six countries, and reached its initial operating capability October 1, 2010, combining the assets of the legacy U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine-Europe and European Regional Veterinary Command.
Public Health Command Europe provides integrated, comprehensive, and global veterinary and preventive medicine support, that includes: occupational and environmental medicine, laboratory services, veterinary services, health promotion and wellness, environmental health and engineering, occupational health services, and epidemiology and disease surveillance. This support is provided for garrisons, training areas, and contingency and combat forces operating in United States European Command, United States Africa Command, and United States Central Command. The range of support routinely spans throughout 40 countries in a given year.