Maj. Gen. Mary E. Link, outgoing commanding general of U.S. Army Reserve Medical Command, relinquished command to the incoming commander, Maj. Gen. Jonathan Woodson, during a Change of Command ceremony held at the C.W. Bill Young Armed Forces Reserve Center on March 31, 2019.
Maj. Gen. Scottie Carpenter, deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Reserve Command and ceremony host, complimented Link's leadership she provided during her tenure: "You have always fought for what was good for your command, even more so you have fought for what was good for the Army Reserve and the Army."
Then Carpenter addressed the AR-MEDCOM Soldiers directly, emphasizing the critical capabilities they bring to the total force in defense of the nation: "We cannot fight our nation's wars without the medical professionals I see here in the formations in front of me, we just can't do it... At the end of the day, it's about saving lives, it's about being there for our soldiers going in to combat who need medical care and the professionals I see here are the ones that make that happen."
Link served as AR-MEDCOM's commanding general for more than three and a half years, leading the command through transformation in 2016, which more closely aligned the command's structure to meet the needs of the Army and the nation. Under Link's direction, AR-MEDCOM formations were responsible for improving the health and readiness of thousands of soldiers across the active and reserve components. Her leadership also resulted in the transformation of Army Reserve Medical doctrine and training, and her lasting achievements have positively supported the initiatives and future success of the U.S. Army Reserve and the Army Medical Department.
"Credit also goes to our counterparts with Army Medicine for embracing AR-MEDCOM's medical professionals as an integral element of the operational Army and the Joint Force," said Link as she recognized Army and Army Reserve leadership for taking the time to understand how AR-MEDCOM's capabilities best support the Army and Combatant Commands around the world.
Woodson, the incoming commander, recognized and thanked Link for her more than 35 years of service and the work accomplished under her leadership and direction while serving as commander of AR-MEDCOM.
Prior to becoming AR-MEDCOM's commanding general, Woodson previously served as the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) deputy commanding general, and is returning to ARMEDCOM after previously serving as the deputy commander of ARMEDCOM in 2010. In his civilian capacity, Woodson served as the assistant secretary of defense for Health Affairs for the Department of Defense from 2010 through 2016.
Woodson concluded his remarks by discussing his vision for the future for his command: "The Army medical department and the military health system is undergoing significant, if not seismic organizational change, but our mission remains the same and that is to be a key enabler of the Army to meet its mission to support the National Defense and National Military Strategy by providing a medically ready force and a ready medical force."
The change of command ceremony symbolizes the continuation of leadership and unit identity despite the change in individual authority; it also represents the transfer of power from one individual to another. Passing the ceremonial flag from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander physically represents this transfer.