13SC(E)'s medical battalion has mission complete

210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell

Date: 10.20.2006
Posted: 10.20.2006 11:02
News ID: 8087
13SC(E)'s medical battalion has mission complete

by Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell<br /> 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment<br /> <br /> LSA ANACONDA, Iraq – Unlike other transfer of authority ceremonies that happen routinely in Iraq, the mission change between 61st Multi-functional Medical Battalion (Provisional) and the incoming 146th Multi-functional Medical Battalion, was noticeably emotional and a platform for the outgoing commander to never forget a fallen Soldier.<br /> <br /> Lt. Col. William Grimes, commander of the Task Force 61, from Fort Hood, Texas took the time to remember a friend, comrade, and fellow medical professional during the ceremony.<br /> <br /> While most unit commanders talk about numbers and successes during their ceremony speeches, Grimes said there was only one statistic that mattered to him and his Soldiers standing in formation.<br /> <br /> "The only thing that matters to me is the number one," he said. "That's the number of Soldiers I lost during the past year."<br /> <br /> Grimes was referring to Staff Sgt. Richard A. Blakley, 34, of Avon, Ind., who was killed on June 6.<br /> <br /> Assigned to 738th Area Support Medical Company, based in Monticello, Ind., Blakley was killed as a result of small arms fire while on a dismounted patrol near Al Khalidiyah, Iraq.<br /> <br /> Grimes talked about how Blakley was a hero and stood for what is the best in the U.S. Army and medical field.<br /> <br /> "I will never forget Staff Sgt. Richard Blakley," he said after a noticeable emotional pause which nearly brought those listening to tears.<br /> <br /> "I know everyone else would have done the same as him," Grimes said. "I would have done the exact same thing as him."<br /> <br /> With a simple salute to his troops and colors, this chapter of the 61st MMB was written, and the pages turned.<br /> <br /> As one chapter's ink is still wet on the pages, a new page for Michigan National Guard's Lt. Col. Darlene McCurdy, from Hillsgrove, Penn., and her medical Soldiers has been opened.<br /> <br /> Maj. Gen. Ronald D. Silverman, commanding general of the 3rd Medical Command, said he expects nothing shy of excellence from the 146th MMB.<br /> <br /> "Your lineage starts here," he said. "The command and control will be enormous."<br /> <br /> Silverman said society puts a high value on the medical society and the military medical professional are no exception.<br /> <br /> "As medics, our comrades have a higher appreciation for what we do in our profession," he said. "We do this, because it's the right thing to do. You provide the compassion and a side of humanity God gives all of us.<br /> <br /> Silverman said Soldiers of the 146th MMB have a tremendous responsibility to their patients, coalition forces, and themselves.<br /> <br /> "You are first and the best," he said in closing.<br /> <br /> With a year ahead of them, McCurdy hopes for one thing, the safe return back to their families and loved ones.<br /> <br /> "It is my goal that each Soldier returns home with the complete satisfaction that they did their best," she said.<br /> <br /> McCurdy hopes her Soldiers will make a difference by improving the lives of fellow Soldiers and coalition forces while successfully accomplishing their mission. <br /> <br /> The 146th MMB will spend a year providing agile, flexible, and continuous force health protection to MNC-I Forces, coalition forces, and detainees in the Iraq. <br /> <br /> Additionally, the battalion provides dental care and level I and level II health care and ground ambulance support to Echelons Above Divisions units stationed in Iraq. <br /> <br /> "We also provide combat medics for the Military Integrated Transitional Training teams and convoy movements throughout Iraq as well as instructors at the school house on Anaconda," she said.<br /> <br /> With more than more than 700 soldiers assigned to the battalion, McCurdy said her Soldiers are ready to "Sustain the Fighting Force, by quickly delivering quality healthcare to the force."<br /> <br /> "These soldiers are ready to do the mission and I am ready to lead," McCurdy added.