WEST FORT HOOD, Texas -- Family and friends gathered to welcome a new command sergeant major taking over as standard bearer of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command in a ceremony here Monday.

Command Sgt. Maj. William A. Justice arrived after serving as command sergeant major of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Justice takes the place of Sgt. Maj. Danny G. Boivin, who has been with OTC since Sept. 6, when he stepped up as OTC interim senior enlisted leader.

Boivin will return to the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he will oversee training and safety during airborne operational drop tests, as the senior test parachute jumper.

Brig. Gen. William D. "Hank" Taylor, commanding general of OTC, deferred honors to the Noncommissioned Officer Corps before officiating the ceremonial passing of unit colors between Boivin and Justice.

Praising Boivin, Taylor said, "I have had the privilege in the last four months of serving by my side, an absolute warrior in Sergeant Major Danny Boivin. He took on the mission to come here in September and to serve by my side and he came absolutely without hesitation.

"The command has not missed a beat with having my airborne partner here. Sergeant Major Boivin's incredible professionalism and operational experience was so important for us at a time when we were executing operational tests, truly, all over the world."

Taylor began telling the history of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps, beginning with the Continental Army in 1775.

"Since that beginning, the Army's noncommissioned officers have stood apart from NCOs throughout the world," he said. "All of us leaders and commanders always know that we can count on our noncommissioned officers to be our teammates, but also to help us uphold the standards. That is why I believe we are truly the greatest Army in the world. And our primary reason for that is that our NCOs stand apart from all the armies in the world as the best in the world.

"NCOs lead Soldiers," Taylor continued. "NCOs ensure Soldiers' welfare. NCOs will always accomplish the mission. One of the greatest things I love is 'The NCO Creed.' And it goes in there, 'The NCOs live the Army values.' And they ingrain those values into our Soldiers under their charge. NCOs take responsibility; set the example; and always lead from the front."

Taylor then remarked how Justice made a short trip from across Fort Hood where he has been the CSM of the "Black Jack" Brigade.

"A Cavalryman by trade, Command Sergeant Major Justice has successfully led at all echelons; serving twice as a battalion Command Sergeant Major, the National Training Center Operations Group CSM, and recently as the 2nd ABCT, 1st Cav "Black Jack" CSM.

"OTC is a unique organization," Taylor continued, speaking directly to Justice. "And I am convinced the operational experience you bring to the fight makes you uniquely qualified to be our Senior enlisted leader. Under your charge, and as the standard bearer for this command, I am confident that our Soldiers and our Civilians will continue to carry the highest standards as we operationally test every piece of equipment that the Army is going to field."

During his time making remarks at the podium, Justice said, "First, and foremost, I would like to thank God for this day; his grace, his love, and all his blessings that make days like today possible."

With his wife Tina present, he expressed excitement about continuing to serve the Army at OTC, within the Central Texas Community.

Justice said behind every Soldier is a strong support network of family and friends that allow them to do what they do.

"Mine starts with my wife," he said. "Thank you Tina, for your love and support and for once again being up to the challenge of what is put in front of us."

To Taylor, Justice said, "I will work every day to earn the trust that you've placed in me, sir."

To the OTC team of nearly half Soldiers and half Army Civilian employees, Justice said, "This team of military and civilian professionals has made my transition to the team smooth, and has made Tina and I feel very welcome."

He said after spending the last few weeks with the OTC family, he realized the importance of the operational testing mission.

"This mission will be unlike any I have had in my career," Justice said. "I believe there are many great callings in this professional of arms we are a part of, however, I can think of none greater than to be charged with ensuring the equipment that we put in the hands of America's sons and daughters provides the capability that they need to execute their missions for our country."

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OTC is subordinate to the Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and is the Army's only independent operational tester. Testing and Army, Joint, and Multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, OTC uses typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer -- the American Soldier.