PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - The office of the Product Manager for Mortars received a new leader here July 10.

The organization bid farewell to Lt. Col. John Lewis and welcomed Lt. Col. Norman Hilton to the PM Mortar family during the change-of-management ceremony.

Lewis also retired from the Army after 21 years of service.

During the ceremony, Project Manager for Combat Ammunition Systems Col. Ole Knudson highlighted Lewis' accomplishments at PM Mortars. He noted the improved and increased mortar capabilities that Lewis and his mortar team have fielded to U.S. forces over the last several years, which have dramatically increased the fighting capacity of our deployed forces.

Lewis has also worked on developing the Precision Guidance Kit. PGK is a revolutionary capability that adds precision to artillery rounds, enabling first round fire for effects and defeating targets much quicker and with less collateral damage.

For his service to the Army, Lewis received the Legion of Merit, as well as congratulatory letters from the Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army Lt. Gen. N. Ross Thompson and Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command Commanding General Brig. Gen. Larry Wyche. Lewis also received a retirement certificate and certificate of appreciation from President Barack Obama.

Additionally, his wife, Jean Lewis, received a certificate of appreciation, commander's award for public service and a military spouse medal.

Hilton is no stranger to Picatinny Arsenal. He served as an assistant product manager at Program Executive Office for Soldier here from 2005 to 2007. He has also served at both the Training and Doctrine Command headquarters in Fort Monroe, Va., and the Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga. These experiences will play a vital role as Hilton assumes the project manager for Mortar position.

"I am deeply honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to lead such a fine organization. I look forward to working with you and to take on the many challenges ahead of us," said Hilton. "We will continue to improve the 'Fox Hole' to ensure we equip the warfighter with an improved firepower capability to carry out their mission."