A Change of Charge Ceremony marked the departure of Commander Anthony Holmes and the arrival of Commander Colin Monk as new leader at the helm for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division, Detachment White Sands.
In both instances, the Navy chose the right man for the job, said Capt. Rafael "Ray" Acevedo, Commanding Officer for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division, during an outdoor ceremony in front the Navy headquarters at WSMR.
Acevedo said Holmes has continued the tradition of leadership excellence at WSMR in achieving impressive results.
"Throughout his tenure, Commander Holmes skillfully guided the WSMR team through a turbulent fiscal environment, civilian hiring freeze, and financial carryover constraints while advancing a diverse portfolio of programs during critical periods of land-based construction, research, development and test and evaluation of combat weapons systems and capabilities."
"Commander, on behalf of everyone at Port Hueneme Division, we thank you for your outstanding leadership," said Acevedo.
"And while we are sorry to say goodbye, we also have the opportunity to welcome Commander Monk," said Acevedo.
"We are extremely pleased to have him join our team and look forward to having his vast knowledge and education available here at the detachment. Commander Monk, welcome aboard," Acevedo said of the Monk, who was commissioned in 2003 through the Naval ROTC program at Tulane University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.
His most recent assignment was with PMS-312, the In-Service Aircraft Carrier Program Office where he was the Deputy Assistant Program Manager for Cybersecurity.
In his parting remarks, Holmes focused on the tremendous support he enjoyed from fellow servicemembers and community members in achieving the Navy's vital mission at WSMR where he noted its history of testing dating back to the atomic bomb at Trinity Site that has altered the course of history and help solidify peace.
"It didn't get done overnight," said Holmes. "It took folks like everyone here doing what you do every day. Everyone here today, everything you do makes a difference … I hope I made a difference in your life, because you make a difference in mine."
In his first remarks as the new commander, Monk turned to praise his predecessor who he said "has poured his heart and soul into the detachment - and it shows."
Monk said he is excited to be at WSMR to help lead the acceleration of technology to counter the growing threats to the nation, and knows that the 25 Sailors and 73 civilian employees he leads are up to the task.
"The team out here has a long track record for solving problems. We deliver game-changing technology to the force. It is a distinct honor and privilege for me to be a part of this team."
The Navy at WSMR:
The Navy has been a part of the WSMR test community since June 14, 1946, when a naval detachment was established to participate in research and testing of captured German V-2 rockets. Those tests included the use of a V-2 as a booster rocket on Feb. 24, 1949, to help launch a WAC Corporal rocket to an altitude of 250 miles, marking the first time a manmade object traveled in space.
Today, the mission of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division, White Sands Detachment includes land-based live fire-testing of naval weapon systems, missiles, guided munitions and lasers, missile and rocket assembly, research rocket launch operations and assemblies, and launch of ballistic missile target vehicles.
Naval facilities include the LLS-1 Desert Ship, Missile Assembly Facility, south and north range rocket launch sites, south and midrange gun sites, and other test sites.