FORT SILL, Oklahoma (April 8, 2021) -- Ordnance Training Detachment – Sill welcomed its new commander Maj. Robert Gracia, and said goodbye to outgoing Maj. Carlos Arriaza during a change of command ceremony April 7, at the Graham Performance Enhancement Center auditorium.
Arriaza retired after more than 25 years of service, including time as an enlisted Soldier. He had been at OTD-S for 29 months.
Gracia was most recently with the 181st Infantry Brigade (Multi-functional training) at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
The OTD-S staff’s mission is to train advanced individual training Soldiers to become Military Occupational Specialties 94M Radar Repair, and 94S Patriot (missile) System Repair technicians.
OTD-S falls under the administrative control of 1st Battalion, 78th Field Artillery here, but is part of the 73rd Ordnance Battalion at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and under the 59th Ordnance Brigade at Fort Lee, Virginia.
Lt. Col. Caleb Lewis, 73rd Ordnance Battalion commander, presided over the event. He highlighted Arriaza’s accomplishments and welcomed the Gracias.
Lewis said the change of command was sad, but exciting, too.
“Sadness from seeing a really great commander (Arriaza) leaving … and excitement for Maj. Rob Gracia, who is once again picking up a guidon and commanding a formation,” he said.
Lewis said Arriaza created professional Soldiers day in and day out. “The credit goes to Carlos’ adroit ability to drive necessary detachment-level change, which we require from all our leadership.”
He also built teams and managed training initiatives brought from the top, as well as grass roots efforts, Lewis said. “That’s no easy task.”
Lewis noted Gracia’s many positions that he’s held since joining the Army in 2007. “Bottom line: He’s bringing a lot to the fight … I’m looking forward to working with you.”
During the ceremony, 1st Sgt. James Masi handed the detachment colors to Arriaza symbolizing the last time the major would hold it next to his heart, said ceremony narrator Sgt. 1st Class Joel Roberts.
Arriaza then passed the colors to Lewis transferring not only his authority, but legacy, accomplishments, and history of the unit. Lewis then handed the colors to Gracia signifying the transfer of leadership. Gracia returned the colors to Masi for safekeeping.
Gracia thanked Lewis for the opportunity to command in the battalion.
“Soldiers, civilians, and contractors of OTD Sill, thank you for making the transition as seamless as possible,” said Lewis. “I look forward to receiving your recommendations to improve our organization, to make realistic, modern, and challenging training.
“Our program is full of low-density (behind the scene) MOSs and I assure you that the Soldiers you train, you will most likely rely on your next rotation down range,” Gracia said.
He went on to thank his parents, who were in attendance, and his wife, Leila.
Later, Gracia described his leadership style as empowering.
“We come together as a team and talk about what my vision is and how we’re going to achieve that together,” he said. “If that means I can back off and my troops can lean forward and get things done that’s great. If they need a little more direction, that’s fine, too.”
Arriaza was gracious in his comments and he thanked numerous Soldiers
“I am blessed to have a great team … and it’s an honor to serve,” he said. “It has been a privilege to know each one of you.”
“I am proud of your achievements, endurance, and drive,” he said. Many times OTD-S has set the standards for Training and Doctrine Command units to follow.
“Rob, you will be leading the best,” he said. “I have no doubt that you will continue the legacy of this detachment taking it to new heights.”
Arriaza said he plans to stay in Oklahoma for a while, then relocate to Fredericksburg, Texas.