By Iuliana Petre

Killeen Daily Herald

"The race is not won by those who are swift, but those who can endure," said Lt. Col. Linda R. Carmen in a speech she gave during her assumption of command of the Carl R. Darnall Medical Center's human resources division at Fort Hood a month ago.

Carmen's new job is a dual-hatted one. She will serve as the commander of troops for two companies worth of soldiers belonging to the medical center. And as chief of personnel, she will oversee actions for a 2,800-person military and civilian staff assigned and employed at the medical center ranging from neurosurgeons to medical support specialists working the front desk.

Not only that, but Carmen is serving in what Col. Casper P. Jones III, the commander of Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, refers to as the "organization that is the centerpiece for soldier and family satisfaction," and one that manages the Warrior Transition Unit, which in itself is a growing organization.

Managing that many people and their many individual needs, whims and concerns, Carmen will have to be nothing short of a rock – strong and unbreakable.

Jones is not worried since he screened Carmen from a list of eligible officers, and her selection for the position only proves her leadership and potential for greater service, Jones said on Friday following the ceremony.

Carmen has already proven to be a tough cookie.

After 21 years of service, Carmen is not at all intimidated by the work load.

Afterall, her first assignment was at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. where she served as a hospital administrator.

Despite the unorthodox start where she was a second lieutenant – low on the totem pole – dealing with administrators far above her level of experience, she came out unscathed and still positive about her contribution to the organization and its people.

Since her days at Walter Reed, Carmen has served in a variety of positions to include: adjutant, company commander, instructor, executive officer, career manager, chief of the military personnel division, executive assistant to the Army Surgeon General, personnel policy integrator, and chief of the enlisted personnel proponent division.

She views every previous assignment as a contributing factor to who she is today.

"Each level was a step to the next level," Carmen said.

Carmen is hopeful about the fact that she can continue to help people, something she's always loved doing.

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