WEST FORT HOOD, Texas – Friends, family, and workers of the unit charged with testing equipment to make sure Soldiers fight with the best gear possible held its change of command ceremony Thursday.
“My son George is an Infantryman deployed to the Horn of Africa,” said incoming U.S. Army Operational Test Command Commander Col. George C. Hackler. “I sleep better at night now, knowing that OTC is here ensuring that our Soldiers receive the best equipment.”
Hackler thanked OTC’s higher headquarters’ ceremony host for the opportunity to serve at OTC.
He told Maj. Gen. James J. Gallivan, commander of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, “It is obvious in my short interactions here, that everyone in this command truly believes in the mission and does everything they can to make sure it happens. I have been utterly impressed with the workforce here.”
Hackler said he is looking forward to working with Fort Hood’s community partners of Florence, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Belton and Gatesville.
Hackler also recognized his wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law, telling them, “Once again I have asked you to pick up, leave your friends, quit jobs, you flew halfway across the country.
“No complaining, no hesitation, everyone gets up and goes, and I know this one has been rough, but I appreciate your love, your support. We would not be where we are at right now without your dedication and hard work; so, thank you.”
After touting outgoing Commander Brig. Gen. David W. Gardner’s success at accomplishing 149 equipment tests during his tenure, Gallivan said, “His actions enabled Soldiers and leaders to have an active role and clear voice in providing operational feedback to the requirements community, acquisition community and Army senior leaders on the readiness of material solutions to enter the force.”
Gallivan spoke of the 24 critical technologies being delivered to Soldiers by 2023 that Army senior leaders talk about.
He rattled off a few significant tests, including the Abrams main battle tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicle upgrades, Mobile Protected Firepower, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the Infantry Squad Vehicle, Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Leader Manpack Radios, and the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, to name just a few.
“As we speak,” Gallivan said, “Today, the Army’s Integrated Personnel System limited user test is underway at over 20 locations in the lower 48; the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia – they’re on the line of departure as we speak to test the Army’s replacement for the 113 (Armored Personnel Carrier) – the AMPV (Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle). The Army National Guard in Wisconsin is on the line of departure right now to test the UH-60V Blackhawk!
“That’s happening as we sit here today. That’s what OTC does for your Army.”
The ATEC commander said Gardner strengthened ties and continued to foster partnerships with Texas A&M University, the University of Texas Center for Agile Technology, and Texas A&M Center for Applied Technology.
During his time at the speaker’s podium, Gardner praised the workforce, comprised of almost 800 Soldiers, Civilians and Contractors that serve at OTC.
“Despite one of our greatest challenges – Covid-19 – the members of OTC have still found a way to support testing of every Army modernization significant effort, every program under defense oversight, and every system that will find its way into the hands of our Army’s Soldiers soon,” said Gardner.
“The OTC workforce has conducted these tests despite an increased speed of modernization. OTC has been able to accomplish all of this because of the quality of our people.”
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
As the Army’s only independent operational tester, OTC enlists the “Total Army” (Active, National Guard, and Reserve) when testing Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer – the American Soldier.