FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — On Friday, Fort Drum Medical Activity named a new Commander.

Colonel Matthew Mapes officially took command of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity at Fort Drum, New York on July 16 during a Change of Command Ceremony. Col. Mapes assumed the position of commander from outgoing commander Colonel Robert Heath.

According to Fort Drum, Col. Mapes is from Highland Park, Illinois, an began his career in 1999 when he graduated with a degree in public health from Northern Illinois University and commissioned as a second lieutenant. Mapes also holds a master’s degree in adult, occupational and continuing education from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Mapes previously served as the deputy commander for administration with duty at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at 9th Hospital Center in Fort Hood, Texas. He also previously served at Fort Drum as the commander, Company C, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI).

The ceremony on July 16 was lead by Regional Health Command- Atlantic Commanding General Brig. Gen. Mary V. Krueger. She commented on Mapes arrival to Fort Drum.

“Guthrie is receiving an outstanding Army Medicine leader, who is tried and true,” Krueger said. “The people of Guthrie Ambulatory Healthcare 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 healthcare.”

Outgoing Commander Col. Heath also shared final words in his role during the ceremony.

“It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve you as your Fort Drum MEDDAC commander and senior healthcare officer on the installation for the past two years,” Heath said during the ceremony. “Coming back to the North Country to take command and lead this outstanding organization was a dream come true for me.”

Heath served as the MEDDAC Commander since August 9, 2019. He now will serve as the Chief of Staff at Regional Health Command – Atlantic at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The Fort Drum MEDDAC, which includes the Guthrie, Wilcox, Conner, and Bowe clinics on Fort Drum, as well as the occupational health clinic at the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal in Watervliet, New York.