The Joint Munitions Command held a Change of Command ceremony Tuesday at the Rock Island Arsenal's Memorial Field to bid farewell to outgoing commander Brig. Gen. Gustave F. Perna and welcome incoming commander Brig. Gen. Kevin G. O'Connell.|
Brig. Gen. Perna will become deputy chief of staff for Logistics and Operations at the U.S. Army Material Command at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.
He became commanding general for JMC on Nov. 16, 2010. Last November, Brig. Gen. Perna was approved by the U.S. Senate for promoton to major general.
Many well-wishers attended Tuesday's ceremony, including Lt. Gen. Dennis L. Via, who officiated the event.
After a 15-cannon salute, there was the traditional passing of the unit colors from Brig. Gen. Perna to Lt. Gen. Via to Brig. Gen. O'Connell to symbolize the transition of command between the outgoing and incoming commander.
"As the joint munition colors were passed from Brig. Gen. Perna to Brig. Gen. O'Connell, the history, traditions and achievements of this magnificent command pass with them, from one tremendous leader to another," Lt. Gen. Via said.
He commended Brig. Gen. Perna on his strategic leadership abilities at the Arsenal, including work with JMC facility improvements and its logistics modernization program.
"The bottom line is, everywhere you look across this command, you'll see something that Brig. Gen. Perna has made better," Lt. Gen. Via said.
Brig. Gen. Perna told the Arsenal crowd that "you truly are a great team of dedicated professionals who provide the best possible support to the warfighters around the world."
Byron Penland, commander for the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in southwest Virginia, who has worked with Brig. Gen. Perna in the past, said, "He's what I call an operator. He's focused on mission and people, and he is a fabulous mentor, coach, visionary but understands it from the soldier's perspective all the way to the strategic level; not a better leader that you could find."
"We certainly will miss him and his wife; they have been amazing leaders for the community," said Susan Clay, chief of Resource Management for JMC.
Brig. Gen. O'Connell comes to the Rock Island Arsenal from Oahu, Hawaii, where he was director for Logistics, Engineering and Security Assistance in the United States Pacific Command.
He said he felt "privileged" to assume command of JMC, adding that his priorities over the next several months would include success and deployability of munitions, a focus on safety and survivability, mission support to war fighters across the globe and creating a lively working environment at the Arsenal.
Ms. Clay said she's looking forward to working with Brig. Gen. O'Connell.
"He has a great way with the community and a great sense of humor, and his priorities are well set. So I think it will be very exciting times for us."
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