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Last Modified Date: 11 Oct 2016
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Activation Ceremony of US Army Medical Research Directorate - West

Article photo Wednesday, 7 October marked the activation ceremony of United States Army Medical Research Directorate West (USAMRD-W). USAMRD-W, nicknamed WRAIR Pacific, is a deployable research unit designed to conduct applied behavioral health and resilience research throughout the Pacific region.

The unit was recently relocated from Sembach, Germany to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington in order to align itself with U.S. military focus on the Pacific. In the relocation, the unit transitioned from the U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Europe (USAMRU-E) to the U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate-West (USAMRD-W). As a research directorate of WRAIR, USAMRD-W will continue conducting applied field studies with Soldiers in garrison, throughout the deployment cycle, and in training settings. These studies help determine prevalence rates of current issues faced by Soldiers, identify emerging behavioral health threats to the force, and guide potential training and intervention efforts.

Key leaders in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community were present for the activation ceremony, as well as our Commanding General, of the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Major General Lein. Capt. Matthew LoPresti, USAMRD-W Deputy Director, narrated the ceremony. Gifts were presented to Lt. Col. Jeffery Thomas, former USAMRU-E Commander, by Sgt. James Lee of USAMRD-W, and to Mr. Philip Throne , Lt. Col. Escolas’ husband, by Mr. Lance Rahey of USAMRD-W. Following gifts, remarks were given by WRAIR Commander, Col. Renta, and the USAMRD-W director, Lt. Col. Escolas.

Col. Renta spoke to the long history of the previous unit in Germany and highlighted significant accomplishments from their 38 years of service to behavioral health research. LTC Escolas introduced WRAIR Pacific’s mission, unit symbol, and team members. After their remarks, WRAIR’s Command Sgt. Maj. Darryl Warren and USAMRD-W’s noncommissioned officer in charge, Sgt. Tobin Thomas, joined Col. Renta and Lt. Col. Escolas to cut the ribbon in front of the unit’s symbol – a canoe paddle. The paddle signifies the agility of WRAIR Pacific to respond to the needs of Soldiers, similar to how a paddle moves, pivots and maneuvers a canoe.

Madigan Army Medical Center captured this great photo during the event. From left to right, Command Sgt. Maj. Warren of WRAIR, Col. Renta, commander of WRAIR, Lt. Col. Escolas, director of USAMRD-W, and Sgt. Tobin Thomas, noncommissioned officer in charge of USAMRD-W, all smile for the camera as they cut the ribbon.

We look forward to the continuation of WRAIR Pacific’s excellence in research and development for the benefit of Soldier Health and World Health.

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