ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (August 17, 2015) -- The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command's (ATEC) Aberdeen Test Center (ATC), welcomed its new commander, Col. Morris Bodrick, during a change of command ceremony August 14 at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
ATEC's commanding general, Maj. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, presided over the ceremony, which doubled as a retirement ceremony for the ATC outgoing commander, Col. Gordon Graham. Graham's 33-year career encompassed 27 years of active duty service and seven years serving with the National Guard.
Karbler commended Graham for his leadership style and praised him for the rapport he established with the ATC team, something Karbler noticed upon his first encounter with Graham.
"On behalf of everyone you've served with in the past 33 years, I just want to tell you thanks for your great service to the nation," Karbler said. "You are a Soldier for life and will always be part of the ATEC family."
Graham, an ordnance Soldier who assumed command of ATC in 2012, was responsible for leading all ATC program management activities in the region and providing direct support for the drawdown of forces and equipment from Iraq as part of ending Operation New Dawn.
Graham's experience in ordnance, acquisition, chemical/biological defense, missile defense, training and instrumentation and deployments prepared him to lead the ATC team over the past three years.
However, Graham, whose remarks began with a prayer thanking God for his opportunities and blessings in life, said that despite the breadth of experience he brought to the position, he nor Bodrick, were qualified for the position.
"It takes a strong man to be the commander of anything. I am not qualified to be ATC commander, and he's [Bodrick] not either," said Graham.
"I think what we've come to realize is that the positions we [commanders] are being placed in are above our capabilities. But, if you find a commander who is performing above his capabilities, [know that] where we fall short, God covers the rest," Graham said.
Graham expressed confidence in Bodrick's leadership as he summarized many similarities between himself and the incoming commander, from their southern origins, being members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, earning psychology degrees, setting the example for young people to follow and achieving the rank of colonel that, statistically, too few Black officers attain.
"We [Graham and Bodrick] have the same source of strength--God," said Graham. "I think what you will find is that a commander with this mindset; he's not only capable of leading, he's capable of taking this organization to great heights."
Both Karbler and Graham welcomed Bodrick to the ATEC family as he takes on the role of ATC commander.
"Morris has a great background," said Karbler. "Morris, welcome. It's great to have you on board as part of the ATEC family and I'm really looking forward to working with you during your time in command at ATC."
Bodrick joins the ATC team from his most recent assignment as the Director, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology --Forward at the Pentagon, with duty in Afghanistan.
Over the last 25 years of military service, Bodrick has served on a variety of acquisition and ordnance assignments and has served at all echelons of leadership, one of which was the deputy director of the Technical Center under the U.S. Army Space Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command. A former product manager and test officer, he also spent time as an ordnance instructor at the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School in Alabama, and deployed during Operations Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom.
As the youngest of 11 children, family is, without a doubt, the center of gravity in Bodrick's life. He took a heartfelt moment to recognize his late mother and sister for their love and support over the years.
"I'm all about family. It means a lot to me because it's what sustains us. She [Bodrick's mom] was a great woman and I think she did a great job with her family. We love you mama," Bodrick said.
Bodrick also thanked his wife, Mary, for her unwavering support over the course of his career.
As he closed his remarks, Bodrick addressed his new workforce for the first time with the promise to be himself at all times.
"What you're getting in a commander is who I am every day," said Bodrick. "When I walk in my house, I don't have to shift gears. When I walk in my office, I don't have to morph. I am who I am."
"To my ATC family, I'm excited about this opportunity to lead you over the next 3 years and look forward to building on what you have been doing here. You are shaping how we train and how we fight in today's Army. I'll leave you with three things…we will test together, we will grow together, we will be successful together," Bodrick said.