By Jeff Crawley, Fort Sill CannoneerJune 26, 2014
FORT SILL, Okla. (June 26, 2014) -- Col. Jim Payne took command of the 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from Col. Michael Simley during a change of command ceremony June 24 at Polo Field here.
Col. Christopher Spillman, ADA School commandant and chief of ADA, officiated the ceremony, which drew hundreds of service members, civilians, families, friends and post and community leaders.
The 30th ADA Brigade trains air warriors: enlisted, warrant officer, officer and international students, in such missions as the Patriot missile defense systems.
Payne, said there is no place in the Army he'd rather be now than at the 30th ADA Brigade.
"I am deeply honored, privileged and humbled to be given this opportunity and, the truth, to be able to share this day with you," said Payne, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1990.
Payne, who previously served here as the 3rd Battalion, 6th ADA commander, said he and his wife, Lisa, were happy to be back.
"We feel like we have come home, and look forward to rekindling old friendships and making new ones," said Payne, who, grew up in Canutillo, Texas.
Payne said he was pleased to be able to follow Simley in command.
"You have done such a fantastic job with the brigade," he said.
In his speech, Spillman highlighted Simley's accomplishments during his two years of command. This included getting the maximum scores in Training and Doctrine Command accreditation. "That is no simple task," Spillman said.
Simley also significantly improved training to new ADA Soldiers by using technology, and he retooled the courses so they complied with the Army's new training methodology, the commandant said.
"The training that we provide to our new ADA Soldiers is the best that it's ever been," Spillman said. "I've seen the results and they are directly attributed to Mike Simley's superb command of the brigade and the superior leadership and instruction provided by his noncommissioned officers, warrant officers, officers and civilians."
Spillman also noted Simley was active as a volunteer with such organizations as the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and the Special Olympics.
"[He has] truly a servant's heart and Mike and his team have done a lot for the community," Spillman said.
Spillman thanked Simley's wife, Melita, for her kindness and grace, and her dedicated support of the brigade and the community.
Simley will become the assistant commandant of the ADA School. In his remarks, he thanked his family, many came from across the country to be here, as well as numerous individual Soldiers from his headquarters staff, command team and post leaders.
He said he was proud of the battalions in formation who "have consistently produced disciplined Soldiers who live the Army Values, are physically fit and that immediately contribute to the operational force."
In addition, they have trained and certified three Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) units for combat, and are preparing for another certification mission shortly, Simley said.
This fall a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Senor (JLENS) unit will stand up in Maryland to protect the National Capitol Region, he said. At Fort Sill, the first Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system course will begin in October.
Simley said he has known Payne for 24 years, and that Jim and Lisa will take the brigade to the next level of excellence.