DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center's Maj. Doug Williams
DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center's Maj. Doug Williams (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (April 20, 2021) – It was a military welcome home parade in the nation’s capital that sparked Doug Williams’ interest in the Army.

Williams, now Maj. Doug Williams, is 13 years into his own military career as an Army Acquisition officer, finishing a two-year assignment at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center. He still remembers the day that he set him on the path of service to his country.

Only 5 years old when the “massive” military victory parade occurred welcoming home Soldiers and Airmen from the Gulf War, Williams spent the day playing amongst all the armored vehicles and helicopters.

“I was completely enamored with what I saw,” Williams said. “I think it was a combination of that and growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s – the G.I. Joe war movies, that sort of thing. Serving in the Army has always been a passion of mine, especially to be an officer. That was always plan A – I didn’t have a plan B.”

Plan A is still working out for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte graduate, who said that the diversity of assignments is what keeps him in uniform. That is more than evident in the work that he is doing at DEVCOM AvMC, supporting the Army Hypersonic Project Office and the Rapid Capabilities & Critical Technologies Office.

Ask anyone at DEVCOM AvMC why they do what they do and they will most likely tell you that their motivation is to support and protect the Warfighter. But for Williams, the work takes on a different meaning.

“You are an advocate for the user, having been the user, and I think that’s important,” Williams said. “My younger brother is in the operational military and a lot of the AvMC capabilities that we are working toward have a direct effect on the capabilities that will support him. It touches home because I know what I am doing affects family but also the Warfighter community, which I am a part of.”

Williams said that he has benefited from the opportunity to learn from subject matter experts and that “having a much more senior group of people that you work around – the experience and knowledge that you’re able to glean from others is immense. The people that you work with will often have decades of experience and that’s something that the green suiters really do not get because we move so often. It is really nice to be able to lean on those people that do have that institutional knowledge, especially when you are talking rocket science.”

As his time at AvMC draws to a close, Williams had some words of advice for fellow Soldiers who might also find themselves in an unfamiliar world of research and development.

“Come in with an open mind,” Williams said. “How we approach success might be different than how you do it inside the program executive office or even the operational Army. Apply your programmatic or contractual knowledge to help support the team. That’s where you can provide a lot of value – how we can take the amazing ideas that are being nurtured within AvMC and transition those into realities and deliverables to the Warfighter.”

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The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.