By Mr. Darryl Howlett (AMC)November 17, 2010
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - A crisp, fall day greeted Brig. Gen. Gustave F. Perna and his family on their first day at the Joint Munitions Command and Joint Munitions & Lethality Life Cycle Management Command.
In an Assumption of Command ceremony Nov. 16 at the historic Rock Island Arsenal, Perna took charge of both the Joint Munitions Command, headquartered at the Arsenal, and the Joint Munitions & Lethality Life Cycle Management Command, headquartered at the Picatinny Arsenal, Picatinny, N.J.
Perna assumed command from Jyuji Hewitt, who had served as JMC executive director since August when he assumed responsibility from JMC/JM&L LCMC previous commander, Brig. Gen. Larry Wyche.
Hewitt returned to his position of deputy to the commander, JMC.
"I am truly excited about living in the dynamic Quad Cities. I look forward to being a part of the strong partnership between this community and the Arsenal," Perna said. "After serving three tours in Iraq, I have seen firsthand the critical nature of your support to the warfighter."
Perna said he knew the command's importance in supporting the Department of Defense's mission.
"Today, I am proud to assume command of an organization that excels in providing such support - an organization that maintains a global presence wherever U.S. forces are stationed or deployed," he continued. "I feel privileged to be a part of continuing the JMC's mission - with this talented and dedicated civilian and military workforce."
The ceremony included the traditional flag-passing, military band playing, artillery firing and heartfelt speeches.
Hewitt told the audience of about 250 the importance of providing ammunition to the troops.
"At the Joint Munitions Command, we recognize the critical role we carry out for the Department of Defense," he said. "We provide safe, reliable, and lethal ammunition to warfighters every day. When an artillery battery fires its salute rounds at momentous occasions like today or at the National Mall on the 4th of July, or in combat, that boom is our calling card. It shows what we do, and inspires us to work hard to keep our brave men and women in uniform in the fight.
"It is the efforts of not only the workforce here at the headquarters, but also at the remote locations throughout the United States with a skilled, professional workforce of military, government civilian, and industry partners producing, storing, shipping, receiving, and demilitarizing ammunition."
Lt. Gen. James H. Pillsbury, deputy commander, Army Material Command, Fort Belvoir, Va., presided over the ceremony and noted what made the day special.
"A short time ago, Mr. Hewitt took over as executive director of JMC. What does (that) mean' It means he continued to support two wars, continued modernizing our industrial base and implemented LMP," he said. "He did it seamlessly, no hiccups at JMC."
Pillsbury also welcomed Perna to the Quad Cities and the JMC, JM&L LCMC and AMC families.
"Two weeks ago, Gus Perna was in Iraq. He was the prime driver in the drawn down in Iraq. He led the way in moving thousands of items down to Kuwait. He knows how to support Soldiers. Gus, take charge, do good things, and keep your people safe."
Perna thanked Hewitt for his service and introduced himself to the JMC and JM&L LCMC workforce.
"Mr. Hewitt, you faced a challenging task, and you have done an outstanding job. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you, and I look forward to serving with you as you return to your duties as deputy to the commander. During the three-and-a-half months you served as executive director you never missed a beat, and I commend you for it," he said. "To the employees of the JMC, thank you for your tremendous commitment and service to the U.S. forces, the Army and our great nation. This organization is a critical link to supporting mission success. I look forward to serving with you."
From its headquarters here, JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. Government agencies, and allied nations.