Col. Matthew Mapes, new commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC), Fort Drum, addresses the audience during a change of command ceremony July 16. Mapes assumed command from Col. Robert Heath, who headed the organization since 2019. (Photo by Warren W. Wright Jr., Fort Drum MEDDAC Public Affairs)
Fort Drum Medical Activity staff welcomes new leader during change of command
Fort Drum MEDDAC
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (July 19, 2021) – Col. Matthew Mapes took command of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC), Fort Drum, during a change of command ceremony July 16.
Mapes, a Highland Park, Illinois native, assumed command of the MEDDAC from Col. Robert Heath, who headed the organization since 2019.
A Medical Service Corps officer, Mapes began his military career in 1999 when he graduated with a degree in public health from Northern Illinois University and commissioned as a second lieutenant. He also holds a master’s degree in adult, occupational and continuing education from Kansas State University, as well as a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
Brig. Gen. Mary V. Krueger, commanding general of Regional Health Command – Atlantic, the MEDDAC’s higher headquarters, kicked off the ceremony by ceremonially passing the MEDDAC colors to Mapes, signifying the official transfer of command.
“Guthrie is receiving an outstanding Army Medicine leader, who is tried and true,” Krueger said. “The people of Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic have succeeded and will continue to succeed in being united around the mission of delivering world-class medical support to the operational units here while ensuring that same quality is brought to bear in day-to-day operations of health care.”
Mapes comes to the MEDDAC from the 9th Hospital Center, Fort Hood, Texas, where he served as deputy commander for administration, with duty at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center as assistant deputy commander for medical services. He previously served at Fort Drum as commander of C Company, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI).
“We have pretty fond memories of our time spent here,” Mapes said. “Serving (here) on this great journey is a privilege in which I honor and cherish. The Fort Drum MEDDAC will continue to be an inclusive and cohesive team of professionals, built on a foundation of trust and confidence in each other.”
Heath assumed command of MEDDAC on Aug. 9, 2019. Since then, he led Fort Drum’s joint COVID-19 medical response as well as the successful implementation of COVID-19 vaccinations for Soldiers, family members, retirees, civilian employees and other eligible beneficiaries.
“It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve you as your Fort Drum MEDDAC commander and senior health care officer on the installation for the past two years,” Heath said. “Coming back to the North Country to take command and lead this outstanding organization was a dream come true for me.”
“But, the change of command ceremony is not about the outgoing and incoming commanders so much as it’s about you, the Soldiers and civilians who make up this exceptional organization,” he added. “It’s about recognizing your contributions to the health and welfare of our community and your continued dedication to providing compassionate care every single day to ensure our patients live healthier lives.”
Heath’s next assignment will bring him to the Regional Health Command – Atlantic at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he will serve as the chief of staff.
Fort Drum MEDDAC provides medical services and health care management to the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum community, serving more than 42,000 Soldiers, family members, retirees, Department of Defense and Army civilians, and Soldiers for life.