PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - A Picatinny veteran returned to the installation one day prior to the assumption of management ceremony as the Product Manager for Demilitarization held Sept. 4.

Lt. Col. Johnny R. Figueroa replaced Lt. Col. Brian Raftery, who retired in June.

During that ceremony, Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command Commanding General and Program Executive Officer for Ammunition Brig. Gen. William N. Phillips said that the Soldier replacing Raftery would have big shoes to fill.

In response, Col. Andre C. Kirnes, program manager for Joint Services, said he is sure Figueroa is the man to fill those shoes.

"PM Demilitarization is a very unconventional organization. It is a different type of animal in that you have to work with a lot of outside organizations. Lieutenant Colonel Figueroa comes from a special operations background, which is unconventional in its own right. That alone provides him with the appropriate skills for the position."

Bruce Potter, acting product manager passed the organizational colors to Figueroa during the ceremony, representing the transfer of management and leadership.

Figueroa served in the Army Acquisition Corps for Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny from 1999 to 2003.

During that assignment, he worked with anti-personnel landmine alternatives, non-lethal weapons developments and as the assistant project manager for Combat Ammunition Systems.

"This is a special day because the demilitarization organization is celebrating a change in the ranks," Figueroa said during the ceremony. "I am glad to be part of Team Picatinny once again."

"It was a bittersweet moment when we left five years ago," he said on behalf of his family. "We left behind a community that truly embraced us. I have been here less than 24 hours and, wow ... Picatinny you really know how to put a show together."

The demilitarization enterprise performs end-of-life-cycle management for conventional ammunition to include disposition, demilitarization, and disposal with an emphasis on closed disposal, including economically viable resource recovery and recycling for all Department of Defense services.