INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The Defense Department's small caliber ammunition production facility bid farewell to one commander and welcomed another at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant here, July 13.

Lt. Col. Shane Upton relinquished command of the organic industrial base facility to Lt. Col. Eric Dennis. Upton has been the commander since July 23, 2014. He was reassigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., as the chief of sustainment.

Col. Sean Herron, commander of McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Oklahoma, and the ceremony's host, praised Team Lake City and Upton for the plant's accomplishments.

"Shane, the message I want to leave with you today is that you stepped up and addressed the challenges of command and that you made a difference in your time here," Herron said. "You led this organization to achieve continued excellence, while supporting our warfighters every single day."

Among the accomplishments, Herron cited the completion of a $434 million modernization program that improved security, safety, manufacturing and infrastructure; standardizing quality assurance procedures with contractor partners thereby improving quality management and oversight to ensure warfighters get quality ammunition and documenting safety site plans for 17 explosives facilities, the last of which will be finalized in August.

"I could go on and on, but my point is that Lt. Col. Upton was relentless in his pursuit of making Lake City a better, safer and more secure installation," Herron said.

Addressing the 130 family members, government employees, contract employees from Orbital ATK, tenant units and friends, Upton praised the work done by Team Lake City.

"On many occasions over the past two years, I found myself out in the production areas and was continually amazed at the dedication and professionalism of this one of a kind team," Upton said.

"Lake City is many things to many people: a family tradition, a historical landmark, a world-class capability, and a mesh of old and new -- but a common thread runs through all those lucky enough to have worked here or entered its gate -- a common thread of purpose and knowledge that what is made here is critical to our national defense and is essential to the training and readiness of the finest all volunteer fighting force the world has ever known!"

Upton said he had mixed emotions about leaving LCAAP and his adopted hometown of Kansas City, but he was pleased to turn it over to Dennis, who he has known since they served together as captains at the U.S. Army Ordnance School at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland.

"Your excellent reputation and leadership will continue to move the team forward into the future," Upton said. "I offer to you -- cherish this time and enjoy the team, they are truly world class."

Dennis came to LCAAP from the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Center -- San Joaquin in California, where he spent the past two years as the executive officer. He worked under the command of Brig. Gen. Richard Dix, who was the commander of Defense Logistics Agency Distribution at New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. Dix is now the commanding general of the Joint Munitions Command, headquartered at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.

"I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to join an amazing team like Team Lake City," Dennis said.

"You have a reputation of professional excellence that I have repeatedly heard about wherever I went. It's a privilege to become part of such an outstanding organization. I look forward to the next two years together -- working with all of you and learning from all of you."

LCAAP is a subordinate command of McAlester Army Ammunition. It is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility run by Orbital ATK. It is one of 16 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial bases under the U.S. Army Materiel Command.