By Jill Lauterborn
FORT DETRICK, Md. - The 6th Medical Logistics Management Center held a change of command ceremony, as Col. Michael Ryan turned over the reins to Col. Michael Talley July 28 at Fort Detrick.
The 6th Medical Logistics Medical Center is a small, multi-component unit providing Class VIII commodity and medical maintenance, linking theater requirements with sourcing and distribution systems to ensure that medical supplies and equipment get into theater. The unit deploys forward teams into theater, while the base operates from stateside. The unit is the Army's only deployable medical materiel management center worldwide, supporting the warfighter anywhere, anytime. Major Gen. James Gilman, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, praised Ryan as a rare leader with keen instincts.
"Most senior Army logisticians have to acquire expertise by going to school and through on the job training," he said. "As a second-generation senior medical logisitician, Mike inherited his ability from his dad, a former USAMMA commander."
During Ryan's tenure as 6MLMC commander, he spearheaded the unit's realignment under the Army. Elements of 6MLMC engaged in exercises domestically and on the Korean Peninsula and deployed to Haiti to support the U.S. Southern Command's Operation Unified Response.
Under Ryan's leadership the unit earned the Surgeon General's 2010 Excalibur Award for Excellence by cutting customer wait time for medical maintenance and repair parts downrange. He also helped form and operate the Army's Medical Logistics Enterprise.
"A lot of communities of interest aspire to the title of 'Enterprise,'" said Gilman. "The AMEDD's log dogs have done more to make enterprise a reality than any other group I know -- and Mike has been key in this effort."
Ryan credited his team for meeting the challenges. "Two years ago I had one simple challenge for you -- that was to be the absolute best experts in the business of medical logistics, communications, systems, business processes," he said.
"If we can't do it, no one would. "The 6 is the only Army medical unit that never comes off that task organization. We continue to find ways to improve the plan for support should the unthinkable happen and the nation requires the Department of Defense to react to a homeland emergency."
The Army often looked to Ryan's unit, a testimony to its reputation for excellence. The 6MLMC had no shortage of missions.
"Your reputation for competence and excellence caused folks to search us out," Ryan continued. "I'm proud of the fact that only once did we have to say no to a valid request, and that was due to the real-world mission in Haiti. The fact that every training and support mission was paid for by the requestor is proof of your competence and excellence. You met my vision and challenge and then some."
Talley expressed his eagerness to lead the team in future missions. "We're well into the 11th year of the Global War on Terror," he said. "The Army is charged with responding to a full spectrum of conflict in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments, within hours. So when you look at the 6MLMC's capabilities, you just cannot ask for a more lethal logistics response force. It is a model for other commodity systems to emulate. I could not be prouder to lead such an outfit."
Talley wished Ryan well in his next assignment as director for Logistics at the Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army Medical Command. With a grin the incoming 6MLMC commander quipped,
"And, oh, thanks in advance for all the promises you made regarding more manpower, first-draft choices and a follow-on assignment to Australia."