FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS - The 502nd Mission Support Group Commander, Col. Mary Garr, recently spoke at the U.S. Army Medical Information Technology Center Commander's Call. As the guest speaker, she shared her vision of what development she sees for Fort Sam Houston for both the immediate and the distant future.

The Commander's Call started with opening remarks and a command update by USAMITC Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Beverly Beavers. This was followed by an introduction of newcomers, which in turn was followed by an awards presentation, a promotion and service awards ceremonies. Other briefings presented were updates and training on command safety, operational security, prevention of sexual harassment, and ethics.

Col. Garr followed as the guest speaker. She spoke about the 502nd Mission Support Group's mission, quality of life, and the setting of higher command objectives that balances out together strategically. Col. Garr highlighted several areas such as the move in strategizing and executing comprehensive plans as a command mission partner, the Base Realignment and Closure, and the impact in growth and economy of Fort Sam Houston and San Antonio. She spoke about the Fort Sam Houston's history and the many past and ongoing renovations; giving examples during this portion of her presentation of how older buildings have been readapted for present and future missions. There are several examples she provided, as an example, the Fort Sam Houston being the ninth oldest U.S. Army installation and also the birthplace of Army aviation. It has the most historic structures of any active facility in the U.S. She presented what many in the audience said later was a very informative and interesting briefing that held their attention and interest.

Fort Sam Houston is the current home of Military Medicine. All Military Medical Training, to include the Air Force and the Navy, are now jointly trained at Fort Sam Houston. This is one of the aspects she emphasized during her presentation to the USAMITC audience. Fort Sam Houston had already been the home of Army Medicine, but it's now the home of Military Medicine for all sister Services.

"Over one billion dollars in contracts had been awarded just for San Antonio in support of construction projects related to this expansion," she said. This also pertained to construction taking place around the base to accommodate Fort Sam Houston's and Brooke Army Medical Center's mission expansion. "During the BRAC of 2005, we were waiting to see whether San Antonio would be a big winner or a big loser, and looking back, I think we all know how that turned out; San Antonio ended up a big winner," she added.

Col. Garr later talked about how committed the Army is to joint basing, and then touched on a few joint base initiatives. She accentuated that with the mission expanding, the challenge to keep up with quality of life concerns and continuing movements is indeed a tough and ongoing challenge. Part of the comprehensive plan involves the assurance for better quality of life and career enhancement opportunities for single Military members. However, along with these challenges come more opportunities for more joint activity and increased community partnerships and programs.

She later fielded questions from the audience pertaining to her presentation. Then, on behalf of USAMITC, Lt. Col. Beavers presented Col. Garr a Certificate of Appreciation and a commander's coin. Several in the audience said later they were very appreciative of her presentation and felt it was both outstanding and informative.

USAMITC works 24 hours a day, seven days a week supporting Army Medicine by providing premier medical enterprise information technology to assist medical staff at all levels, from the Surgeon General to the Combat Medic. The command is comprised of Soldiers, civilians and contractor personnel.

Col. Mary Garr is the Commander of the 502nd Mission Support Group at Fort Sam Houston, and has been stationed all over the world. She's commanded units at all ranks from Lieutenant to Colonel. Despite where her career has taken her thus far, she calls San Antonio home.