CORPUS CHRISTI ARMY DEPOT, Texas – Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) conducted it’s first-ever Change of Command ceremony on May 29, 2020 using a social media platform.
Colonel Gail Atkins relinquished command to Colonel Joseph Parker after 22 months of serving as CCAD commander.
Foregoing the traditional ceremony with respect today’s social distancing guidelines and to protect the health and well-being of the entire workforce, the ceremony was held with the participants, family members and support staff in the Joseph P. Cribbins Conference Room.
The event was hosted, via video conferencing, by Major General K. Todd Royar, Commander for the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama,
The ceremony officially passed CCAD leadership to Colonel Parker, who will serve as the organization's 27th military leader.
Major General Royar said during his opening remarks. "I am very excited about the ceremony being done virtually. And I say that from the perspective of the fight being done virtually, I think it really highlights the resilience of CCAD and its workforce. Despite all, everything that's gone on before, CCAD is producing and they are meeting the nation's requirements. "
Although Army guidance prohibited the traditional passing of the colors, the colors were symbolically passed from outgoing Commander, Colonel Atkins, to incoming Commander, Colonel Parker.
Following the passing, Colonel Atkins expressed her regret at not being able to host community leaders and thank them in person for their support. She said, “You’ve heard many of use in uniform say it before-but this community is special and has a unique and genuine connect with its military service members and their families.”
Colonel Parker comes to CCAD after his most recent assignment as the Aviation Modernization Division Chief with the Headquarters, Department of the Army at the Pentagon.
Previous positions included: Deputy Commanding Officer of the 16th combat aviation brigade in Afghanistan, Executive Officer to the Commanding General, and First Army at Rock Island Arsenal Illinois. Commander of the 46th aviation Support battalion out of Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington. Deputy, G3 (Rear) of the 101st airborne, air assault division, Fort Campbell, KY.
"… Change is a beautiful thing for any organization. I know that Colonel Parker will work hard to lead this unique organization and I wish him the best." Colonel Atkins said.
As CCAD’s commander, Colonel Parker will oversee the operation of the U.S. Army’s premier organic industrial base for worldwide helicopter maintenance support.
During his speech Colonel Parker recounted a story of the first time he came in contact with Colonel Atkins at West Point in 1993 when he was a cadet and she was an upper class cadet. He said, “It is a privilege to take over from Colonel Atkins because she is much more than a phenomenal leader.”
Colonel Parker commands more than 3,300 employees, comprised of Army civilians, contractors, and Soldiers. He will continue to foster and build relationships between military, community and original equipment manufacturers (OEM), and oversee 800 million dollars in annual revenue.
"What you do here impacts the force and helps us keep our nation safe while we fight for freedom together,” said Colonel Parker.
“I’ve heard the saying around here that we support the warfighter. In my opinion, those who support the warfighter at CCAD are also warfighters.”
Colonel Parker shared that he was born in Corpus Christi and lived near, what was then known as, Haas Junior High School.
He closed with, “There is truly no other command for me. I am one of you. I am home. Army Strong! We are CCAD!”