NATICK, Mass. (Nov. 24, 2015) -- Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Todd III assumed command of the Natick Soldier Systems Center mission in a Nov. 24 arrival and departure ceremony at NSSC's Hunter Auditorium.

Todd also serves as deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, or RDECOM, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Brig. Gen. William E. Cole departed Natick in the ceremony, which was hosted by Maj. Gen. John Wharton, the commanding general of RDECOM.

"It's all been about service -- service to nation, service to community," said Wharton of Cole's time at Natick. "It's been my privilege not only to be the commanding general of RDECOM, but to have you as deputy commanding general."

Wharton then turned his attention to Todd, lauding his extensive background and how it would apply to Natick.

"We're really looking forward to getting you on the team," Wharton told him. "We know you're the right person for the job at the right time. Tom, you have an important mission. I know you'll rise to that occasion."

Todd comes to Natick from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, where he was project manager, Utility Helicopters, Program Executive Office, Aviation. There, he led the UH-60M Black Hawk Program into a five-year multi-year contract, achieved program initiation approval for the Improved Turbine Engine Program and the H-60V Black Hawk Program, and fielded more than 500 UH/HH-60M and UH-72A aircraft to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Homeland Security and 35 international partners.

He and his family are happy to be at Natick, Todd said.

"We have found New England to be cold but New Englanders to be extremely warm," said Todd, reminding those in attendance that their job is "to provide American Soldiers with the best equipment in the world, hands down. You've done a great job of that."

Cole thanked the Natick community for its support of his command and wished his successor good luck.

"Brigadier General Todd, you are stepping into a great job and a great organization," Cole said. "I wish you the best, and I know you will do very well.

"To everyone here who has attended this ceremony this morning, I appreciate all that you do every day. You've inspired me, and made this job unforgettable. It has truly been a privilege to serve with you."

After the ceremony, Todd took a few minutes to reflect on NSSC and its role in an era of great uncertainty.

"We're at a unique time right now in our nation's history," said Todd, "and really what we are going to be asked to do as an Army, it makes the work here all the more important and relevant, all of a sudden. We have such a unique mission set that that should, in and of itself, create a sense of urgency amongst our team, and I hope it does. This is the only organization with the centerpiece being the Soldier. If we don't get it right, nobody will.

"We provide and we equip the man and the woman, the son and daughter of our nation. That's what makes the Army unique. It really is all about the Soldiers."