Head of last MASH unit bids goodbye
Stars and Stripes June 29, 2007
MIESAU, Germany — In the past two years under the command of Col. Angel Lugo, the soldiers of the 212th Combat Support Hospital have braved the elements from Angola to Pakistan.
On Thursday morning as Lugo relinquished command, the soldiers weathered through the cold, wind and rain of a German summer day. The soldiers faced the elements head on as Lugo gave his farewell speech.
“This morning I came out here at about 8:10, walked the field and prayed that we could drive on and get this done,” Lugo said. “So as the rain comes on now as I speak, we’re going to drive on.”
In September 2005, the unit deployed to Angola as part of a MEDFLAG mission. The following month, only three weeks after returning from Africa, the unit was sent to Pakistan to care for earthquake victims. The unit — then known as the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital — treated more than 20,000 wounded, performed 425 surgeries and admitted more than 500 patients during its four months in Pakistan.
In October 2006, the 212th was converted from the last MASH in the Army to the 212th Combat Support Hospital.
“The 212th CSH is ready for any contingency or crisis response anywhere in the world,” Lugo said.
Col. Kenneth Meade took interim command Thursday of the more than 350-soldier unit.
Meade previously served as the 212th CSH deputy commander for clinical services.
“I have been assigned to the unit three separate times during my Army career, and I feel like it is a part of me,” Meade said. “It is the only CSH in the Army for which I would have any interest in commanding.”
Col. Brian Canfield is scheduled begin as commander of the 212th CSH in late July.
Canfield is coming to the 212th CSH from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Ga., where he served as deputy commander for administration. He is currently attending the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.