WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. – Col. Earl B. Schonberg Jr. became the 61st commander of the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal during a change of command ceremony held here July 21 where Col. Milton G. Kelly relinquished command.
Typically, change of command ceremonies take place in front of a large crowd of military officials, state and local leaders and the majority of the arsenal workforce but, due to COVID-19 restrictions, this ceremony was live streamed with a few family and close friends viewing in person.
U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command commanding general, Brig. Gen. Darren L. Werner officiated the ceremony over video teleconference. Werner praised the arsenal’s performance under Kelly’s command.
“Two years ago, Col. Kelly took command of Watervliet Arsenal and he’s done an exceptional job managing this highly specialized workforce comprised of more than 760 Army civilians,” Werner said.
Under Kelly’s leadership, Watervliet implemented several improvements to processes and facilities and reached a record high on-time delivery rate in more than two years April 2020.
Werner noted that Kelly and the Watervliet Arsenal workforce, “have a lot to be proud of. Together, you made a lot of smart decisions that, although not easily implemented, have drastically improved Watervliet Arsenal operations.”
Kelly reflected on the arsenal’s achievements under his command, “It is my hope as I leave here today, that I have made a positive impact on the arsenal and the people. Take the lessons learned and our successes and sustain them to set your next commander up for success.”
Werner also praised incoming commander Schonberg, “Col. Earl Schonberg is one of the best, and his track record shows it. Schonberg’s depth of experience gained while serving in numerous staff leadership positions, as well as his previous command experience, make him an ideal leader to guide Watervliet Arsenal.”
Schonberg said he was honored and proud to be leading an arsenal that has provided critical support to our nation’s warfighters for more than 207 years. Schonberg ended his remarks with his vision for Watervliet Arsenal.
“We will continue to build upon past successes and reach new heights together,” Schonberg said. “We will continue the legacy focusing on readiness, modernization and our people. We will work together to improve our delivery to ensure our warfighters have the tools they need, on time, every time. We will continue to modernize our facilities and equipment taking full advantage of the latest manufacturing technology. We will invest in our talented workforce by ensuring they have the training and skills they need to be masters of their craft.”
Kelly will transition to his new role as the Supply and Distribution Chief for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility and is the oldest continuously active arsenal in the United States, having begun operations during the War of 1812. Today's arsenal is relied upon by the U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannons, howitzers and mortar systems.