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News | Sept. 6, 2023

Col. Eli Lozano accepts WRAIR command responsibilities

By Amy Marie Blencowe Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research conducted a change of command ceremony, on Aug. 31, welcoming Col. Eli Lozano as the incoming commander and bidding farewell to Col. Chad A Koenig as the outgoing commander.

The change of command is a time-honored military tradition that signifies the transfer of authority and responsibility within a unit or command. The history, tradition, and accomplishments of that command are symbolized through the colors. The passing of colors from an outgoing commander to an incoming commander ensures that the unit and its Soldiers are never without official leadership.

The ceremony was presided by Brig. Gen. Edward Bailey, Commanding General United States Army Medical Research and Development Command and Fort Detrick. Bailey highlighted Koenig’s efforts to keep WRAIR an innovative and relevant organization through the ever-evolving COVID-19 conditions that the institute faced.

“Thank you for your leadership; you have been the perfect commander for this chapter in WRAIR’s history,” Bailey said. “[ Koenig] has been supporting the warfighter by figuring out what our combatant commanders need and coming back to figure out how WRAIR can deliver to those requirements.”

During his speech, Koenig thanked the scientists and support staff for their dedication to the unit  mission and the impact his command had on his military career. “When I decided to compete for nominative command, WRAIR was not even on my radar, but the Army sent me an opportunity I never would have found on my own,” Koenig said. “This special place turned out to be one of the most rewarding assignments of my career.”

Koenig will assume responsibility as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Force Health Protection at the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia.

Lozano, who previously served as the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Military Center of Excellence at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was officially welcomed as WRAIR’s 49th commander following remarks from Bailey. Lozano thanked Mrs. Serena Lozano (spouse) and Joshua Lozano (son) for their resilience and support. He acknowledged WRAIR’s continued support to the military health system and pledged to “strive towards being the DoD’s premier research enterprise.”

Lozano articulated how he looks forward to working with the science and research experts across the organization.

“The opportunity to be able to command such a storied organization like WRAIR is like winning the lottery,” Lozano said.