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62nd Medical Brigade Takes Up Medical Mission in Iraq

Army News Service

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, Aug. 15, 2007 - The 3rd Medical Command, Fort Gillem, Ga., transferred responsibilities as the commanding medical unit in Iraq to the 62nd Medical Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash., during the transfer of authority ceremony Aug 15th at Al-Faw Palace at Camp Victory. The 3rd Medical Command, led by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Ronald D. Silverman, cased its colors and passed authority to U.S. Army Col. Patrick D. Sargent and the Soldiers of the 62nd Medical Brigade. The ceremony ended a year-long deployment for the 3rd Medical Command and marked the beginning of a 15-month deployment for the 62nd Medical Brigade.

Silverman welcomed the incoming unit by saying, "You have the skill and the expertise to excel and I know that you will. We always strive to treat each patient as though they were our own son and daughter." One of the main roles for the 62nd Medical Brigade is to work in conjunction with the Government of Iraq to assist in developing and sustaining a self reliant healthcare system that provides a full range of healthcare services.

The 62nd Medical Brigade is now responsible for more than 3,500 Soldiers, sailors and airmen stationed throughout Iraq as they provide medical care and support to more than 160,000 U.S., Coalition and Iraqi forces and more than 120,000 civilians. The brigade shoulders this responsibility through the seven level III hospitals that provide advanced medical care and two multifunction medical battalions that allows the brigade to supports a variety of healthcare needs ranging from severe traumas, combat stress control, dental care, veterinary services, blood collection and distribution and disease control.

Maj. Gen. James Simmons, deputy commanding general of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, addressed the audience of more than 150 U.S., Coalition and Iraqi military and government members. "As a soldier who has personally experienced the superb medical care of both the 28th and 332nd and the medical evacuation process, I can attest to the outstanding care provided by our medical professionals," Simmons said.

Sargent highlighted the nature of the relationship between soldiers and medical professionals in Iraq during his opening remarks to the more than 150 audience members. "As the Medical Task Force Commander, I am committed to honoring the sacred trust that exists between the medical and tactical unit commander, providing world class healthcare for injured and wounded soldiers," said Sargent. "The soul of the Army Medical Department revolves around the medic, who is a symbol of strength for the warriors, hope for the wounded and comfort for the dying," Sargent said.

The 62nd Medical Brigade is entering its third deployment to Southwest Asia since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is the first time the brigade has been given the overall mission of responsibility for the care and well being of troops across the country.

"The next 15-months will be very challenging," said Sargent. "We will face adversity and danger, however, I am confident we will prevail in our core mission of preserving the lives of America's and Iraq's most precious assets-their sons and daughters." Sargent also made special note of the complex nature of the medical mission in Iraq. "Coalition and Iraqi forces are conducting simultaneous, distributed, and continuous tactical and operational missions throughout Iraq," said Sargent. "I am pleased to report the 62nd Medical Brigade is trained, manned, and equipped to support these complex operations."

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