FORT DRUM The post welcomed the new leader of its Medical Department Activity at a ceremony Wednesday morning.
Stepping into the role is Col. Matthew Mattner; he replaces Col. Mark W. Thompson, who has held the position for two years.
Col. Mattner said he was impressed by the professionalism of the staff and is excited to take over the role.
Prior to taking the job, Col. Mattner had served as both chief of staff and deputy chief of staff for V Corps, Wiesbaden, Germany, and as the director of staff of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan.
He said after the ceremony that the Fort Drum position was his first choice among several potential assignments.
I wanted to come take care of soldiers who are doing our nations work in Afghanistan, Col. Mattner said.
He is joined by his wife, Jennifer, and two children, Daniel and Megan.
Changes that have taken place during Col. Thompsons time on post include the shift in care to the patient-centered medical home model, where a small group of soldiers are paired with teams of medical staff, and the installation of behavioral health teams with each of the posts three brigade combat teams.
Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, commanding general of the Northern Regional Medical Command, credited Col. Thompson with providing strong care to soldiers and their families, ensuring patient wellness and soldier readiness and fostering strong community relationships.
Referencing a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, Col. Thompson praised the staff for whom their walking is their preaching.
Col. Thompson also used his remarks to thank several members of the medical staff individually.
He will become the chief consultant and chief of clinical services for MEDCOM at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
The outgoing commander and his wife, Kathleen, have three daughters: Emelia, Abigail and Gabryelle.
On Wednesday afternoon, Col. Thompson also received strong praise from medical providers in the civilian community.
Among the recent initiatives off post was the completion of the River Community Wellness Program at River Hospital, Alexandria Bay, made possible through a collaboration of the post, hospital and Holliswood Hospital, Queens. The program helps care for injured active duty soldiers from the post.
River Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ben Moore III said the cooperation of Col. Thompson and his staff was first-class.
Hes a very positive person, and thats his style, Mr. Moore said. Hes very clear of what the objectives are and what the issues are.