Col. Santee Vasquez became the 20th commander of Crane Army Ammunition Activity during a change of command ceremony on July 13. The change of command ceremony is a military tradition that symbolizes a peaceful transition of power and recognizes the outgoing commander’s accomplishments while welcoming the incoming commander to the organization.
Vasquez, who is taking the reins at Crane Army after serving at the U.S. Army’s Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, addressed her excitement to work with CAAA’s civilian workforce and eagerness to contribute to projects on the horizon aimed at modernizing and improving the activity.
“It’s no secret that Crane Army is a massive part of establishing our nation’s munitions readiness,” Vasquez said. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside you as we provide readiness for today’s warfighter and the warfighter of the future.”
Leadership from Crane Army’s higher headquarters presided over the ceremony. Brig. Gen. Gavin J. Gardner, the commanding general of Joint Munitions Command, led the event as CAAA’s outgoing commander, Col. Stephen Dondero, transferred command to Vasquez.
Gardner took to the podium to congratulate Vasquez and outlined the impressive experience and leadership skills that she will bring to Crane Army.
“I have had the pleasure of watching Santee Vasquez ably lead organizations and formations in both peacetime and in combat,” said Gardner. “If there is anyone prepared to lead Crane Army, it’s her.”
Gardner also said Dondero’s dedication to Crane Army and accomplishments during his tenure were admirable and that his next post would be lucky to have him as commander.
“For the last two years, Steve Dondero has been instrumental in our efforts to modernize our Organic Industrial Base,” Gardner said. “You have a lot to be proud of with what you and the team have accomplished here. You may be leaving the command, but your impact on CAAA and JMC is one that will last.”
Dondero thanked CAAA for its hospitality and said the workforce should be proud of their unmatched work ethic and experience.
“For the last two years, I have had the honor of working with some of the most experienced, hardworking and enterprising folks I’ve met,” Dondero said. “The dedication that everyone here has to the warfighter is something that will stick with me throughout my career.”
About Crane Army
Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is one of 17 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial bases under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants. Established Oct. 1977, it is located on Naval Support Activity Crane.