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Feature Stories

NEWS | May 8, 2017

Suter receives prestigious Surgeon General’s Award for Military Academic Excellence

By Ken Holder U.S. Army Central

CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar – Col. Robert Suter, commander, 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) Forward, U.S. Army Central, received the prestigious Major General Lewis Aspey Mologne Award recently in a ceremony held at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar.

The Army surgeon general selected Suter to receive the award. It is given annually to one Active and one Reserve Medical Corps officer who the selection board feels best emulates Mologne by exhibiting a balance between outstanding leadership in military medicine and leadership in academics on a national level.

“It is an incredible honor and a humbling experience to be selected to receive this award,” said Suter. “Being respected as both an officer and as an academic is something that I think all military medicine professionals strive for.”

Suter, who entered the Army in August 1978 on a four-year ROTC scholarship, said maintaining a balance between being an effective military leader and a professor is like having two distinct professions.

“Oftentimes in our profession you’ll see people that are very strong doctors, some of the best in the world, but they might not be well versed and grounded in military leadership and vice versa,” said Suter. “I’ve always tried to be the best I could at both, understanding that through balance, I’d be the most effective officer I could be for the Army.”

Suter was commissioned into the Medical Service Corps and his first assignments included leading an ambulance platoon and serving as the services officer of a field hospital.

Suter then applied and was accepted to medical school. After graduating with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree, he was assigned to the Emergency Medicine Residency at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Upon completion of that program he served as Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine and Acute Care, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

In 1995 he transitioned into the Army Reserves as an individual mobilization augmentee in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at Uniformed Services University, a position from which he participated in a number of special liaison positions in educational and doctrinal development on behalf of USU and the Acting Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. He ultimately served as the senior Army operational medicine educator and course director.

While assigned to USU he also mobilized multiple times to fill critical assignments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, and Iraqi Freedom, including Level I and II operations support of the 1st Cavalry and 3rd Infantry Divisions in Iraq, where he worked closely with the Iraqi army, Iraqi national police, and U.S. State Department, and Level III clinical support at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.

Suter commanded the 94th Combat Support Hospital from 2011-2014 overseeing the deployment of the 94th CSH (-) to Afghanistan, where they performed with such readiness and distinction that the unit was selected out of rotation for two subsequent overseas deployments.

Following an assignment in the 807th MDSC Headquarters as the operational medical consultant, Suter took command of the 2nd Medical Brigade during its Army Contingency Force designation period, and successfully transitioned it back into the training cycle.

In 2016 he assumed command of the 3d MC (DS) Forward, which is now deployed and serving as the U.S. Army Central Theater Medical Command with overall theater responsibility for medical logistics and force health protection, and responsibility for health services support of Operations Freedom’s Sentinel, Spartan Shield and contingency support of Operation Inherent Resolve. In addition to his primary assignment, he is the Surgeon Generals Emergency Medicine Consultant (USAR) and a professor of military and emergency medicine at USU.

Suter’s civilian career includes serving on the board of directors of a number of emergency medicine and EMS organizations over the past 20 years, including serving as president of the 33,000 member American College of Emergency Physicians in 2004-05, and president of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine in 2006.

He is a subject matter expert in healthcare quality, emergency services management, organization, health policy, and clinical topics with a significant role in international medical diplomacy and medical education in nations on every continent in conjunction with entities including the World Health Organization.

Upon accepting command of the 3d MC (DS) Forward he left his position as vice president, Quality and Health IT for the American Heart Association, where he led global efforts to improve cardiovascular and stroke care in over 2,500 hospitals in the U.S. and over 200 internationally, and retains a civilian position as Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas.

Suter said this award is important not only to him but to young officers on their way up. “This award is named for Major General Mologne who was a member of the West Point Class of 1954 and the USMA Student Clinic is named after him; he was one of the first West Point graduates to achieve multi-star rank in the medical corps and he is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He didn’t make a decision to be successful as a Soldier or as an academic or as a physician. He simply chose to be successful.”