Passing the colors
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Capt. Melanie Appleton assumed command of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, during a change of command ceremony Friday in Heiser Hall.

Col. Rick Zampelli, AMCOM's chief of staff, thanked the outgoing commander, Capt. Tracy Lavender, for her professionalism and dedication to duty before charging Appleton to take the HHC to new heights during her command.

"This command is unique in many ways," said Zampelli. "How often is a company commander charged with the care and feeding of dozens of general officers and sergeants major, and countless colonels and senior non-commissioned officers. Not to mention working on an installation that has [such] strategic importance.

"I will tell you that while this assignment might not seem like a traditional company command, the fundamentals of being a leader are the same -- remain focused on the mission and take care of your team, and they will take care of you."

During the ceremony, Appleton accepted the unit colors from Zampelli before address the room full of Soldiers, coworkers, friends and family.

"I would like to thank [Maj. Gen. Todd] Royar and Col. Zampelli for trusting me and giving me the great opportunity to lead a unit of outstanding Soldiers and civilians -- I will not let you down," said Appleton. "I look forward to your mentorship and serving under your command."

Appleton, a Huntsville native, has served in numerous assignments during her 19-year Army career, which started in the enlisted ranks. She was selected for the Army's Green to Gold program and commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2013 from the Fayetteville State University ROTC program. She is moving over to command the HHC from Army Materiel Command Headquarters, where she served as a staff action and administration control officer with the Secretary of General Staff.

The HHC provides unit-level military training management, essential personnel services and command interest program support to Soldiers assigned and attached to Redstone Arsenal units. HHC ensures more than 800 Soldiers, including 14 general officers, receive timely, efficient and reliable personnel services and support.

Appleton and her new team support units at 28 different locations, to include Army Materiel Command and its subordinate units located on Redstone Arsenal; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology subordinate units, such as Program Executive Office (PEO) Aviation and PEO Missiles and Space; and joint organizations including the Missile Defense Agency, the Missile and Space Intelligence Center, and the 167th Theater Support Command at Fort McClellan, Alabama.

Lavender, who's hometown is Enterprise, Alabama, will remain on Redstone Arsenal while attending the Army's Intermediate Level Education/Advanced Operation Warfighting course. She commanded HHC since May 2018 and has been selected for promotion to major.