YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz.-- Command Sgt. Maj. Jamathon K. Nelson assumed the highest enlisted leadership position at YPG in late March in a change of responsibility ceremony presided over by U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) Commander Col. Ross Poppenberger.

Hailing from the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group at Fort Meade, Md., Nelson stressed safety and the vital importance of YPG's test mission to the warfighter in remarks following the ceremony. He also pledged to foster the same camaraderie between the military and civilian workforce that outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Prosser was widely praised for, as well as continue the expanded community outreach efforts he spearheaded.

"My number one mission is messaging," he said. "I need to let others in the Army know what we do here and why it is important."

In remarks to the audience, Poppenberger emphasized that less than one percent of the Army's enlisted ranks achieve the rank of Sgt. Maj., describing them as "the best of the best."

"Only the finest NCOs and Officers are selected for command positions," said Poppenberger. "I know Command Sgt. Maj. Nelson is well-prepared to continue the outstanding work Command Sgt. Maj. Prosser has done here and move us forward as a team."

For his part, in farewell remarks, Prosser thanked YPG's Soldiers and workforce for their efforts during his tenure. He also expressed special appreciation for local military support groups such as the Yuma 50, describing Yuma as one of the most military-friendly communities he had encountered during his Army career.

"The only advice I would give to anyone coming into this job is to get your hands dirty right away," he said. "You're not going to upset people by asking a lot of questions. Many people haven't been asked about what they do and how they do it for a long time, and will appreciate you're showing interest and asking what they need to make things better."

Poppenberger stressed that YPG's mission is vital to the success of the Soldiers who defend the nation and deter potential adversaries.

"Our nation has over 187,000 Soldiers deployed in over 140 countries around the world," said Poppenberger. "They need to know that their equipment works as it is designed. The end state is that YPG validates that our equipment performs to maintain overmatch of our adversaries and enables us to win on the battlefield."

Nelson said he was enthused about the new position and YPG's highly skilled personnel.

"I look forward to working with everybody," he said. "I promise to always give 100 percent."