FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- A ceremony was held July 22 to inactivate the U.S. Army Veterinary Command as they integrate into the U.S. Army Public Health Command.

Col. Erik Torring, commander, U.S. Army Veterinary Command and Command Sgt. Maj. William Applegate cased the colors for the VETCOM headquarters along with the commanders of the six regional commands during a ceremony held at the Fort Sam Houston flagpole.

“This is a pivotal event in the making of the U.S. Army Public Health Command,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy Adams, commander, USAPHC.

“Today we case the colors of the U.S. Army Veterinary Command and it’s six subordinate regions signifying it’s inactivation and marking a milestone in the history of the Public Health Command.”

VETCOM is made up of the headquarters on Fort Sam Houston, six regional commands, 21 district commands, the Department of Defense Veterinary Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory, and the DOD Military Working Dog Veterinary Service.

The six regional commands include Great Plains Regional Veterinary Command here along with Western, North Atlantic, Southeast, Pacific and Europe regional Veterinary Commands.

VETCOM’s more than 1,900 personnel include veterinarians, warrant officers, enlisted Soldiers and civilian employees who provide a variety of services including:

• Food protection and quality assurance;

• medical and surgical care to government-owned animals such as military working dogs and ceremonial horses for the DOD and other organizations;

• surveillance and control of zoonotic and transmissible animal diseases; and

• care of pets owned by active duty and retired service members.

In 2010, VETCOM combine forces with the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine to create the USAPHC. After 17 years of faithful service, VETCOM will be discontinued Jan. 4, 2012.

“Although VETCOM inactivates, its crucial mission of providing a full spectrum of veterinary services across the Department of Defense will continue as an integral part of the mission of the Public Health Command and Army medicine,” Adams said.

Adams praised Torring for shepherding VETCOM though the transition and thanked the VETCOM workforce and family members for their service and support.

“Today’s ceremony and the casing of VETCOM’s proud colors is symbolic of the closure of a significant chapter of Army Veterinary Corps and Army Veterinary Service history,” Torring said.

“It’s a bittersweet day for me, for those on the field and for many Soldiers and civilians, past and present, who have proudly served as part of the U.S. Army Veterinary Command.”

Torring addressed the Soldiers and civilians of VETCOM saying, “thank you for being the heart and soul of this command and for doing everything asked of you. You have always held VETCOM’s mission, it’s Soldiers and those we serve at the forefront of everything you have done.”