U.S. Army Operational Test Command welcomes new command sergeant major
During the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Command Sergeant Major change of responsibility event May 5, 2023, incoming OTC Command Sgt. Maj. Joe E. Johnson Jr. receives the unit’s colors from OTC Commander Col. George C. Hackler as outgoing OTC Command Sgt. Maj. Martin M. Conroy (right) stands at attention until passing the colors is complete. Passing of the colors by Hackler symbolizes delegating authority and entrusting Johnson with the responsibility and care of the organizational colors. (Photo Credit: Mr. Tad Browning, OTC Lead Audiovisual Production Specialist) VIEW ORIGINAL

WEST FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — A new Command Sergeant Major took over the reigns as standard bearer Friday for the unit responsible for testing all new and modernized Army equipment.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joe E. Johnson Jr. arrives to be OTC’s 21st senior enlisted leader after serving the same role with the 3rd Chemical Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Johnson takes the place of Command Sgt. Maj. Martin M. Conroy, who has been with OTC since Oct. 9, 2020.

Conroy will move into retirement with a ceremony planned for May 25 on the installation.

U.S. Army Operational Test Command welcomes new command sergeant major
During the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Command Sergeant Major change of responsibility event May 5, 2023, OTC’s outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Martin M. Conroy, receives the symbolic “last round fired” from a cannon salute provided by the storied 3rd Cavalry Regiment. (Photo Credit: Mr. Tad Browning, OTC Lead Audiovisual Production Specialist) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Thank you for two-and-a-half years of caring for our Soldiers, our Civilians and our Families,” said OTC Commander Col. George C. Hackler, to Conroy and his wife Claudia.

“Thank you for ensuring our Army Soldiers will receive the right equipment as they deploy to combat.”

Hackler told the estimated crowd of 200 how Conroy marched on during the COVID-19 pandemic as a driving force to keep the equipment testing mission moving.

“His foresight and thoughtful leadership allowed the command to stay focused, to keep everyone safe,” said Hackler.

U.S. Army Operational Test Command welcomes new command sergeant major
During the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Command Sergeant Major change of responsibility event May 5, 2023, OTC’s senior military leaders stand ready for ceremonies to begin. From front to back stand incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Joe E. Johnson Jr. arriving after serving as senior enlisted advisor of the 3rd Chemical Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; OTC Commander Col. George C. Hackler; and outgoing OTC Command Sgt. Maj. Martin M. Conroy, who will move into retirement with a ceremony to take place at OTC May 25. (Photo Credit: Mr. Tad Browning, OTC Lead Audiovisual Production Specialist) VIEW ORIGINAL

“He has led OTC through a very busy time as the Army modernizes, and we have not failed a mission. During his tenure we’ve conducted 149 test events in Europe, in Alaska and the Pacific — all around the United States.”

Some of those equipment tests include the Joint Assault Bridge, Leader Radio Manpack, the Infantry Squad Vehicle, and Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle to name a few.

“I’m not going to name all 149 tests,” Hackler said to laughter. “That just names a few and goes to show how much Marty’s leadership has impacted the Soldiers in the Army.

“All of those things are being used today and they will be used into the future.”

Hackler then introduced Johnson, saying, “The great thing about the Army is when they take a teammate, they always bring one back in too, and I’d like to be the first to welcome Joe and (wife) Darlene to the OTC Family and Fort Hood.”

U.S. Army Operational Test Command welcomes new command sergeant major
During the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Command Sergeant Major change of responsibility event May 5, 2023, incoming OTC Command Sgt. Maj. Joe E. Johnson Jr. (right) does a “high five” with outgoing OTC Command Sgt. Maj. Martin M. Conroy as they pass each other to and from the speaker’s podium. (Photo Credit: Mr. Tad Browning, OTC Lead Audiovisual Production Specialist) VIEW ORIGINAL

Hackler then charged Johnson with his upcoming mission.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Johnson I will ask a lot from you while you are here,” he said.

“Make sure OTC is ready to test. Work with the test unit to ensure that they are ready to test. Lead our NCOs Corps. Guide and mentor me, and most importantly, take care of Soldiers and Civilians and Families.”

“We are responsible for preventing discovery in combat,” Hackler added. “Soldiers have confidence in their equipment because OTC tested that equipment in realistic combat environments.”

As Conroy took the podium, he thanked everyone — present and past — for their support.

“We take our mission very seriously here at OTC,” Conroy said.

As for OTC’s testing mission, Conroy turned his remarks to Johnson, his replacement, and said, “This job can be frustrating at times. There’s no instant gratification. This process is long and drawn out, but for a good reason. You’re not going to conduct an OT test one month, and then see that equipment out in the field the next month.”

Next, Conroy reflected on his first operational test.

“The Joint Assault Bridge at Fort Riley, Kansas — it took just shy of 2-and-a-half years for me to see the first semi-trucks rolling down Interstate 14 while I was coming in to work, with Joint Assault Bridges on the back of their trailers just about three or four months ago.

“And then about a month ago, we got to see those same JABs out in the field with Soldiers training with them.”

He chalked up another success as he picked up “Army Times” one day.

“Another small victory was reading in the Army Times that the 3rd Infantry Division was receiving their first batch of Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles that we tested last summer,” he exclaimed.

“Although the process may be slower than we may like, it is comforting to know that a piece of equipment that goes to full rate production and issued to our American sons and daughters has gone through the rigorous operational testing of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command.”

U.S. Army Operational Test Command welcomes new command sergeant major
During the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Command Sergeant Major change of responsibility event May 5, 2023, incoming OTC Command Sgt. Maj. Joe E. Johnson Jr. takes his turn speaking at the podium. Johnson said, “I promise in this role I will ensure OTC professionals have the support needed to take care of their families and accomplish the mission.” (Photo Credit: Mr. Tad Browning, OTC Lead Audiovisual Production Specialist) VIEW ORIGINAL

As with most incoming leaders, Johnson’s remarks were thoughtfully brief.

“It is my sincere honor and distinct privilege to stand before you today as the United States Army Operational Test Command’s 21st Command Sergeant Major,” said Johnson. “I thank Colonel promotable Hackler for his trust and confidence in me to serve in this role, and my bride Darlene for her enduring support. Without you I would not be here.

“I promise in this role I will ensure OTC professionals have the support needed to take care of their families and accomplish the mission.”

“I thank Colonel promotable Hackler for his trust and confidence in me to serve in this role, and my (family) for their enduring support. Without you I would not be here.”

“I promise in this role I will ensure OTC professionals have the support needed to take care of their families and accomplish the mission.”