Leadership of APG Garrison changes hands
July 24, 2009
- Col. Orlando W. Ortiz assumes command from Col. Jeffrey S. Weissman
After two years of service as Garrison and deputy installation commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Col. Jeffrey S. Weissman turned over his responsibilities to the incoming commander during a change of command ceremony at Fanshaw Field July 11.
Col. Orlando W. Ortiz assumed command from Weissman who is retiring after more than 26 years in the military.
The ceremony's host was Russell B. Hall, director of the Installation Management Command Northeast Region.
Janet Dettwiler, APG adjutant and narrator for the program, said that the ceremony is dedicated to the more than 1,200 Soldiers and civilians who work at APG.
"The garrison plays host to seventy tenant organizations spanning ten major Army commands," she said.
Instead of Soldiers, a display of garrison assets filled the parade field, representing a broad spectrum of the support provided by the garrison.
"The garrison directorates work together to support the tenant missions at Aberdeen Proving Ground including extensive research, development and engineering, vehicle and weapon system testing, and training of more than ten thousand ordnance Soldiers, Airmen and Marines each year," she said. "The U.S. Army Garrison support also extends beyond the installation boundaries.
The garrison works closely with local government agencies, community groups, emergency services agencies and county school systems in support of our surrounding community."
During Hall's remarks, he told the attendees that Weissman has been instrumental during the transformation of APG.
"Today is another step in that transformation that we are undergoing in our Army," Hall said, referring to base realignment and closure. "I look at [BRAC] as a great opportunity for [APG]; we are going to bring resources into this institution and improve its stance for our nation's endeavors. The outgoing commander is part of that transformation. He [Weissman] has established circumstances to make this transformation possible. And your incoming garrison commander is going to see it through to completion."
Hall said that he would like to also recognize the dedication of garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Pedro Rodriguez, who was retiring later in the day after 30 years in the military. Hall remarked that this year is the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer, and said that Rodriguez deserves the recognition.
"Command Sergeant Major Rodriguez, you have been the strong right arm of Colonel Weissman. I want to thank you for all that you have done to make this a great garrison," Hall said. "You are one of the great NCOs who support, inspire, train and motivate Soldiers across our Army, and you lead from the front."
Hall also acknowledged incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Rhoades for the support he will give Ortiz.
Hall said that Weissman's tenure at APG is a hallmark of achievement, among the most significant being the progress that the organizations have made under the umbrella of the BRAC Act of 2005 and other Army initiatives. Hall noted that the first BRAC project was the Route 715 Gate, which was completed in May.
Hall said that Weissman was also focused on quality of life concerns and was involved in planning for the future of all organizations on APG.
"He made sure that the quality of life facilities and programs kept pace with the physical construction," Hall said.
He said that Weissman was passionate and a thoughtful advocate for the installation and its people.
"[Weissman] has done a tremendous job as a garrison commander," Hall said. "He is one of my top out of seventy-eight commanders. We wish you and your wife the best as you transition to a new way of life. We thank you for your sacrifice and your commitment to the Soldiers. "
Hall added that he is confident that Ortiz is capable of the task ahead of him.
"We found the best guy we can to take over the mantle of this garrison command. He has great combat experience. He has been a commander of a battalion in combat, so he comes here knowing exactly what is needed for the Soldiers down range," he said.
Hall said that he is looking forward to working with Ortiz in the future.
During Weissman's remarks, he said that the garrison is filled with many talented dedicated people who have worked together to solve problems, develop plans and work together for the good of all.
Weissman said that much was accomplished by the garrison command, which could not have happened without the leaders and employees of APG.
"Today we have not only executed a BRAC plan but a 2012 vision that not only addresses BRAC inbound organizations but address the needs of the entire APG community that focuses on the quality of life for all those who live and serve on APG," Weissman said. "I am proud of what APG has accomplished during our short term," he said. "What we have done we have accomplished as a team. It could not have happened without leaders and the employees of the garrison APG."
Weissman said that it has been a pleasure to get to know Ortiz and said he is an outstanding leader and officer and a great person.
"APG is lucky to have Colonel Ortiz as its next garrison commander," he said.
During Ortiz's remarks he said that he is honored to serve as the garrison commander and deputy installation commander, and vowed to give his all to support APG.
"I am overwhelmed with a sense of pride and humility to be afforded the opportunity to command once again. Command of any unit is a privilege and a responsibility," he said.
Ortiz concluded his remarks by thanking Weissman for his service.
"You deserve to be proud. You served well," he said.
Ortiz added that he is looking forward to working closely with his command team.
"As a team, I have no doubt that we will succeed," he said.
Providing support for the ceremony was Chaplain (Col.) Ruben D. Colon, who gave the invocation, and music was provided by the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band, under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frederick L. Ellwein, The color guard was from Headquarters and Headquarters led by Sgt. Larry C. Tyson.
Col. Orlando W. Ortiz
Ortiz was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on 16 May 1987. He is a career intelligence officer originally from Newark, N.J.
His most recent assignments were as the director of Foreign Intelligence, G2, Headquarters, Department of the Army; commander of the 303d, Military Intelligence Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, during Operation Iraqi Freedom 2006-2008; and chief of Operations for Intelligence (C2), III Armored Corps during Iraqi Freedom II.
He has served in a variety of tactical command and staff positions in light infantry, airborne, armor, and special forces units at battalion, brigade/ group, and division level. He has had two tours to Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division serving as the Battalion S2 of the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry (Currahee), and as the Brigade S2, 1st Brigade (Iron Brigade). He also served as the Battalion S2 and later the Military Intelligence Detachment commander for 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky., and the senior intelligence officer for the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.
Ortiz has held multiple positions within the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, at Fort Bragg, N.C., including the battalion executive officer for the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion (Airborne), chief of the Analysis and Control Element, 319th Military Intelligence Battalion. He also served as the G2 for the Free Iraqi Forces training initiative (Task Force Warrior) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously assigned to the Military District of Washington, he served as a military analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency specializing in the Middle East. Additionally, he served as the assistant G3 for Operations, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, Va.
His military schools include the Military Intelligence Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He has a bachelor of science degree in computer science from Wagner College, a master's in aviation science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a master's degree in national resource strategy from the National Defense University.
His military awards include the Bronze Star Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal. His decorations include the Joint Staff Identification Badge, the U.S. Army Ranger Tab, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Egyptian Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.