U.S. ARMY KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Republic of the Marshall Islands (Aug. 10, 2013) -- Col. Nestor A. Sadler assumed command of U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll in a ceremony on Aug. 2 at Island Memorial Chapel. The presiding official was Thomas Webber, acting director of the Technical Center, Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, on behalf of SMDC/ARSTRAT Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Richard Formica. USAKA Senior Enlisted Leader, Sgt. Maj. Roderick Prioleau, was also a part of the official party.
Distinguished guests included Installation Garrison Manager and Deputy to the Commander Joseph Moscone and wife, Nancy; Reagan Test Site Director Lt. Col. Dean Wiley; and Monica Sadler, wife of incoming USAKA Commander. Representing the Republic of the Marshall Islands was Kwajalein Iroij/Senator Michael Kabua and Ebeye Mayor Johnny Lemari.
Master Sgt. Marcus Weiland presented traditional Marshallese leis to Monica, welcoming her to the island and wishing her success in her new role as part of the USAKA command team. "We look forward to her friendship, mentorship and wisdom that she brings to our installation," Master of Ceremonies Steve Gauthier said. Nancy also presented a special gift to Monica, "signifying hospitality of our community and the USAKA family."
Guest speaker Webber discussed the upcoming garrison transition to Installation Management Command, and how USAKA will continue to remain unique and strategic in the future. "The priority of the senior commander, Lt. Gen. Formica, which is the mission executed by Reagan Test Site, will not change (after the IMCOM transition)." Likewise, the support to customers in terms of the mission will not change, he said. "For those of you that make Kwaj your home, you know how unique this installation is." Webber used to call Kwajalein home and has firsthand experience regarding not only how unique Kwajalein is, but how important. "It is an amazing mission and the team has done fantastic work. … To call this installation strategic is absolutely an understatement." He expressed a heartfelt thank you to the entire USAKA team for all their hard work. He especially thanked Moscone, for taking on the role of Installation Garrison Manager during a challenging time that included personnel changeover at both the USAKA and SMDC levels, budget constraints, furloughs and a busy mission schedule. "I am confident that everybody here will embrace the new commander, and support him and Monica as they start the next chapter in their lives. … USAKA is gaining a highly trained and skilled officer in Col. Nestor Sadler. Not only is he ready for the position, he is absolutely the right man for the job and I have the utmost confidence in him."
Sadler addressed the community for the first time as USAKA Commander. When Formica called Sadler a few months ago and asked him to accept this command, he said it was an easy, "Yes." He was ready to serve where SMDC needed him. "I have to admit, when the boss told me I'd be coming to Kwajalein, I didn't have a clue where this place was," Sadler said. He quickly searched Kwajalein online on his cell phone, which he joked he doesn't have anymore. Through some research, he was able to determine that not only is Kwajalein unique, but it is strategic and "the people here are great." After being on island for just a few days, he came to the conclusion that all three are true. He thanked the USAKA command and contractor team for their hospitality and guidance getting him up to speed on island life and work. "[Monica and I] look forward to joining the Kwaj team, and being a part of the Kwaj family."
The ceremony closed with the playing of the Army Song, followed by a receiving line and reception for Sadler and his wife.