"Optimizing Combat Casualty Care"

Capt. Melissa Kottke is the new Combat Casualty Care Research Directorate Deputy Director at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Kottke named deputy director of CCC research

Story and photo by Steven Galvan, DBA
USAISR Public Affairs Officer

U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
21 JULY 2017

Capt. Melissa Kottke was named as the deputy director of the Combat Casualty Care Research Directorate at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, a subordinate institute of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. She replaces Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kevin Akers who transferred to the USAISR Burn Center where he will serve as the chief of clinical research support branch. Kottke, a research physiologist, was assigned as the assistant deputy of research before taking on her new role.

“Being named deputy director of research is quite an honor,” said Kottke. “I am very pleased to serve this very special scientific community.”

“Captain Kottke was known to us from working closely with research directorate admin on various special projects,” said Akers. “She was one of two candidates, and I supported her candidacy.”

Kottke said that during her tenure her top priority is to continue the efforts of those before her in streamlining the internal processes to take further burdens off of the investigative staff.

“Other critical tasks that must be addressed include preparing for increased research mission requirements for 2019 and beyond,” she said. “As we continue to increase our research mission it will be of the utmost importance to eliminate unnecessary redundancy, optimize our use of physical space and establish strong research teams to enable future research capabilities.”

Kottke said that she has always been the type of person who is never afraid to tackle anything. She knows that there may be some challenges ahead for her, but she’s ready to take them head on. A challenge that she is aware of is a personal one.

“I will have to tone down my personality to accommodate some of our staff,” Kottke said. “Sorry to those who have already noted my excessive energy.”

“I am very happy to have Captain Kottke as my deputy,” said Anthony Pusateri, USAISR director of research. “She very energetic and has some great ideas on advancing combat casualty care.”

Kottke comes from a long list of relatives who have served in the military and at San Antonio. She has a great, great, great cousin buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. He died during the great American Influenza Epidemic of 1918 while at Camp Travis, a World War I Army camp in Spicewood, Texas.

“My father’s father went to basic training at Fort Sam Houston and then trained as a medic. His first assignment was at Post Hospital which is known today as the San Antonio Military Medical Center. He was later stationed at Lackland Air Force Base as an early version of a physician’s assistant before retiring,” said Kottke. “My mother’s father retired from Fort Sam Houston, and my father’s stepfather served at Lackland. Basically, every Service Member in my family since 1918 has had a tour in San Antonio.”

Kottke wants to continue contributing to our military and country like her family did before her. In her case, she wants to contribute to combat casualty care for the Warfighter and greater society.

“Mission will always be my primary objective,” she added. “However, I believe passionately in creating a work environment that promotes the well-being and advancement of our staff. As a leader, I will try my best to provide answers and solutions to best serve my staff.

“The most rewarding aspect of this current position is assisting research staff accomplish ‘tip of the spear’ work in combat casualty care research. No pile of paperwork can reduce the elation each of us receives when we hear about all of the accolades our staff receives or how the material or knowledge products we have delivered have had a direct impact on care.”