Fourteen years ago, the establishment of the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine despite the lack of practical experience and the legal environment was a great achievement for Hungary as a relatively new NATO member country, said MoD Parliamentary State Secretary and Deputy Defence Minister Tamás Vargha at the Change of Command ceremony of the international organization held in the Military Hospital, Budapest on 28 September.
Colonel Dr. László Fazekas took over from Brigadier General Dr. Dirk-Friedrich Klagges the commander's position of the Budapest-based NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine (NATO MILMED COE) in a ceremony on Wednesday. Speaking at the event, MoD Parliamentary State Secretary and Deputy Defence Minister Tamás Vargha stated that the Hungarian Defence Forces are especially active in the field of military medicine. NATO often deploys Hungarian doctors around the world, whose professionalism and resoluteness are widely recognized. Fourteen years ago, Hungary and other eleven nations made a joint decision to create this Centre of Excellence, said the state secretary, adding that the results achieved since then are the collective successes of us all.
Major General Tim Hodgetts, Chair of the Committee of the Chiefs of Military Medical Services (COMEDS) in NATO sent a video message in which he said that further training remains a key element in NATO, because the geopolitical changes necessitate the reconsideration of the wartime task system. The general thanked the outgoing director for his outstanding performance during the pandemic.
Brigadier General Dr. Dirk-Friedrich Klagges, the outgoing director of NATO MILMED COE said that when he had assumed the command in 2019, there had been as yet no coronavirus pandemic, but it became a defining characteristic of the recent years. As he pointed out, he had to work in this situation, which was not an easy job, but he finally succeeded in meeting the challenges.
Colonel Dr. László Fazekas, the new director of NATO MILMED COE – who has already served in the same position earlier – talked about how we could successfully put the lessons learned during the pandemic into practice in the present.
The ceremony was also attended, among others, by Major General Tibor Bozó, Chief of Staff, Hungarian Defence Forces Command and Major General Dr. István Kopcsó, Commander, HDF Medical Centre.