Public Health Command Europe welcomes new commander

by Michelle Thum
Regional Health Command Europe
Brig. Gen. Mark Thompson, Regional Health Command Europe commanding general and U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command Surgeon, passes the colors to the new Public Health Command Europe Commander, Col. Kenneth Spicer. — Photos by Elizabeth Paque

Public Health Command Europe held a Change of Command ceremony June 30 as the command’s outgoing commander, Col. Brian Spangler, relinquished his command to Col. Kenneth Spicer.
The ceremony officially passed PHCE leadership to Spicer, who most recently served as the Command Inspector General for RHCE through June.
This will be Spicer’s third command position and second time at Public Health Command Europe. Spicer’s most recent position at PHCE was as commander of Public Health Activity – Rheinland Pfalz from 2016 to 2018.
“Public health is omnipresent: the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the immunizations we receive, the veterinary care for our four-legged heroes in the environment in which we live and work,” Spicer said. “Your work, as public health professionals, is important and it’s impressive, and my family and I are excited and proud to be part of your team.”
A change of command is a long-held military tradition. The ceremony is a symbolic passing of responsibility, authority and accountability from one commanding officer to another and is often the first time the unit sees the new commander and the last time they see the outgoing commander. The ceremony ensures Soldiers are never left without official guidance and it signifies the allegiance of Soldiers to their commander.
The outgoing commander reflected on his time in command of PHCE.
“If anyone would have told me twenty years ago that I would be completing a successful command as the PHCE commander, I would never have believed them,” Spangler said. “I am, however, happy that life does not always take us where we think it will. I am truly grateful and blessed to have worked with such a phenomenal, strong, and talented group of professionals.”
Brig. Gen. Mark Thompson, Regional Health Command Europe commanding general and U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command Surgeon, hosted the ceremony.
During his remarks, Thompson acknowledged Spangler’s service and dedication to the organization, as well as his wife and family’s support for the Army family.
Spangler leaves PHCE for the Army’s Office of the Surgeon General in Washington D.C., where he will be dual hatted as the U.S. Army Medical Command assistant chief of staff and troop commander.
Public Health Command Europe is made up of more than 400 Soldiers and civilians stationed in six countries, and reached its initial operating capability Oct. 1, 2010, combining the assets of the legacy U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine-Europe and European Regional Veterinary Command.
Public Health Command Europe provides integrated, comprehensive, and global veterinary and preventive medicine support, that includes: occupational and environmental medicine, laboratory services, veterinary services, health promotion and wellness, environmental health and engineering, occupational health services, and epidemiology and disease surveillance. This support is provided for garrisons, training areas, and contingency and combat forces operating in United States European Command, United States Africa Command, and United States Central Command. The range of support routinely spans throughout 40 countries in a given year.

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