410th Hospital Center stands up as new unit

Col. Garth Elias, deputy commander for clinical services, 338th Medical Brigade, holds the colors of the newly activated 410th Hospital Center on Sept. 16, alongside Col. Erik J. Kirchen, commander of the new unit. (Photo by Sgt. Michael Dyer)

The 410th Hospital Center was activated in a reflagging ceremony on Sept. 16.

The new unit was stood up after its predecessor, the 48th Combat Support Hospital, retired its colors and was deactivated in the same 40-minute ceremony at McGlachlin Parade Field.

The 48th Combat Support Hospital is the first Reserve unit to convert to the force design update and activate the 410th Hospital Center.

Participants in the ceremony included Col. Erik J. Kirchen, commander of the 48th Combat Support Hospital; Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Williams of the 48th CSH;, and Col. Garth Elias, deputy commander for clinical services of the 338th Medical Brigade.

Kirchen said the move to the force design update and activation of the 410th Hospital Center “optimizes flexibility in deployment of life saving capabilities in support of the warfighter.”

Before the reflagging, Master Sgt. Craig Abrom, the operations noncommissioned officer of the 48th CSH from 2008 to 2012 and from 2014 to 2015, was awarded the Legion of Merit for 30 years of service in the Army.

During the ceremony, Kirchen retired the 48th CSH colors and oversaw the deactivation of its subordinate units: Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Alpha Company and Bravo Company.

“Although we may have cased the colors of the 48th Combat Support Hospital today, we do not erase all that the ‘Dragon Medics’ [Soldiers of the 48th CSH], past and present, have accomplished,” Kirchen said in his remarks.

“Today should not be a day of sadness, but instead a celebration of mission accomplishment.”

Kirchen said the new 410th Hospital Center is one of the first Army Reserve hospitals to reorganize into a new modular and scalable force design, based on “Army lessons learned over a decade of combat operations.”

The new unit, he said, will “provide commanders with maximum flexibility and responsiveness while increasing selective surgical and emergency medicine capabilities and specialties.”

The 410th Hospital Center’s subordinate units were also activated: 348th Field Hospital, 378th Medical Detachment, 336th Medical Detachment, 18th Field Hospital, 304th Medical Detachment and the 335th Medical Detachment.

The 48th CSH traces its roots to 1943, when it stood up as the 48th Portable Surgical Hospital at Camp Forrest, Tenn. The unit was inactivated after the Korean War and was reactivated at Fort Meade on Oct. 16, 2000 as the Army’s first multi-component combat support hospital.

The unit was a subordinate of the 338th Medical Brigade, 3rd Medical Command Deployment Support and the U.S. Army Reserve Command. It was mobilized during World War II, the Korean War and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on Oct. 21, 2002.

The 48th CSH deployed by air and sea to conflict areas in support of military operations. The unit provided hospitalization and outpatient services by executing reception staging, onward movement and integration, and establishing a hospital area of operations.

In the U.S., the unit provided free medical care to under-served communities.

“While major change brings with it new challenges, one thing that will not change is the 410th Hospital Center’s commitment to its mission of providing world-class medical care wherever, whenever and to whomever requires it,” Col. Garth Elias, deputy commander for clinical services for the 338th Medical Brigade, said in his remarks.

“As I look out on this field today, I am quite confident that the future of this unit is very bright.”

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