By Mr. Tony Lopez (AMC)June 13, 2019
MIDDLETOWN, Iowa -- The Iowa Army Ammunition Plant welcomed a new commanding officer during an official Change of Command Ceremony, held here, June 13.
Lt. Col. Eric J. Schilling replaced Lt. Col. Stephen T. Koehler, who relinquished command of IAAAP after two years as the senior leader.
Col. Michael P Garlington, Crane Army Ammunition Activity commander, served as the officiating officer and passed the IAAAP colors to the new senior leader as well as providing opening remarks.
"The change of command is one of the most important traditions we have in our Army," said Garlington. "This symbolizes the peaceful and orderly transition of command from one individual to another. This exchange is witnessed in every command across the military from this ammunition plant -- to combat brigades, divisions and corps. Today, we honor two proven leaders, Lt. Col. Stephen Koehler and Lt. Col. Eric Schilling."
Col. Garlington praised the outgoing commander. "During his time in command, Steve led one of the broadest portfolios of capabilities in the Organic Industrial Base, which consisted of the oversight of 12 prime contracts manufacturing tank, artillery, mortars, 40 millimeter grenades and rocket warheads."
"IAAAP achieved numerous milestones under Steve's leadership," added Garlington. "Iowa Army Ammunition Plant was publically recognized for both their manufacturing and recycling efforts while remaining a vital, transparent community member. Steve's vision and partnership with the Iowa National Guard and Reserves revived land use and training at this installation; and during his time here, 12 field exercises were held. Additionally, IAAAP was lauded as the Organic Industrial Base's best-run Armament Retooling and Manufacturing Support program for new munitions and funding for new technologies."
During the conclusion of Garlington's remarks he referred to incoming senior leader. "Eric Schilling signs on as Commander with the right experience and knowledge to continue to drive IAAAP forward so that the Warfighter never needs to wonder if the ammo will be there. The Army chooses leaders carefully and wisely. Your selection was no accident; and I have no doubt you will excel in this new position. Always remember, American lives directly rely on how well you execute your business here. Eric, the command is now yours!"
As the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant's 42nd commander, Schilling leads an organization that produces and delivers medium- and large-caliber ammunition for the Department of Defense.
Prior to his new assignment, Schilling served as the Deputy Director, TRADOC Capability Manager - Explosive Ordnance Disposal. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1990 as a tracked vehicle mechanic and was commissioned through the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School as an Ordnance Officer in 2001. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in public administration from Upper Iowa University and Master of Science in administration from Central Michigan University.
"I'm extremely humbled and thankful," said Schilling in his remarks as incoming commander. "I am excited to be here, this is a great opportunity and one that I have not experienced. I have not worked in the organic industrial base, I'm ready to get started and be part of the team and the storied history of the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant."
Koehler will be the Deputy Commander of the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas.
During Koehler's remarks, he reflected on his time as the IAAAP Commander and his emotions for the day. "I am fortunate, grateful and excited," he said. "I am grateful for the people of Southeast Iowa; the people of American Ordnance; the government staff; my parents and my brothers; and my son and my fiancé. I've often said I won't miss the job, I will miss the people. I am going to miss this job and I'm obviously going to miss the people here."
In November of 1940, 19,000 acres were acquired by the government in the Middletown, Iowa, area. Construction of the Iowa Ordnance Plant began in January 1941, and the first item rolled off the production line in September of 1942.
In 1963, the plant was renamed the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, and in 1998, American Ordnance, LLC, became the operating contractor. AO performs load, assemble and pack operations at the Middletown facility.
Both IAAAP and CAAA are subordinate installations of JMC, headquartered at the Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. Joint Munitions Command manages ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots that provide ammunition to all military services, other federal agencies, as well as to allied nations.
Joint Munitions Command produces small-, medium- and large-caliber ammunition items for the Department of Defense. JMC provides the Joint Force with ready, reliable and lethal munitions at the speed of war sustaining global readiness. JMC munitions products provide lethality to the Warfighter to train and win.