By Mr. Michael M. Novogradac, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
WEST FORT HOOD, Texas — The unit responsible for testing new and modernized Army equipment bid farewell to its Command Sergeant Major during a virtual Relinquishment of Responsibility ceremony here Tuesday.
Command Sgt. Maj. William A. Justice, U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s (OTC) 19th senior enlisted man since Dec. 3, 2018, is moving across the country with his wife Tina to become the installation Command Sergeant Major at Fort Irwin, California.
Justice is no stranger to Irwin, where he served as the National Training Center Operations Group Command Sergeant Major from October 2014 to May 2017, filling the role as the Army’s senior enlisted Cavalry Trainer, observing, coaching, and training Cavalry Squadron troops.
Col. Frederick R. Snyder, ceremony host and acting commander and chief of staff of OTC, reflected on Justice’s time as the unit’s Senior NCO.
“We may be making some new traditions in these virtual events, but it is important that the workforce be part of this farewell,” Snyder said, referring to virtual ceremony events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Snyder explained how he and Justice — both Tankers — did not realize the importance of the enormous impact OTC makes on the Army every day by virtue of its equipment testing mission.
“The Army could not have chosen a better family to go lead Soldiers at the National Training Center,” Snyder said. “The Army is in good hands with both of you there making sure our sons and daughters are ready to go into harm’s way.”
Snyder turned the podium over to Justice, but not before giving it a thorough wipe-down with a virus-killing sanitary wipe.
Justice thanked God for the day and all His blessings, and for allowing him and Tina to be a part of OTC and meeting so many amazing people.
He said, “This is a special place, and what makes it special are the people and the mission — The Civilians and Soldiers that come to work here every day to invest in the future of our Army and the future of the Soldiers that will fill its ranks.”
Justice pondered his over 18 months at OTC.
“I didn’t think there was any higher calling than ensuring that America’s sons and daughters had the best equipment that our country could provide for them,” he said.
“After my time here — serving with the dedicated people that make up the OTC family — I believe that even more now that I did then. This has been an incredible assignment for me. I have learned a great deal from all of you.”
In closing, Justice told everyone, “Please know that each one of you have been an incredible blessing in our lives and that we’ve been proud to serve with you, and you make a tremendous impact on our mission.”
On Wednesday, OTC will welcome Sgt. Maj. Angelo Johnson from its Fire Support Test Directorate (FSTD) at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as he steps in to fill the role as interim senior enlisted advisor until a new CSM arrives.
At FSTD, Johnson is the senior NCO responsible for operational tests, assessments, and experiments which include cannon, rocket and missile artillery, counter-fire radar systems, target location devices, and Fire Support Command and Control (FSC2) systems.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
As the Army’s only independent operational tester, OTC enlists the “Total Army” (Active, National Guard, and Reserve) when testing Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer – the American Soldier.