Brigadier General John J. McGuiness assumed command of Natick Soldier Systems Center in a ceremony held May 10 at Hunter Auditorium. McGuiness also became U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command deputy commanding general.

Brigadier General Harold J. Greene relinquished command of NSSC. Greene had also served as RDECOM deputy commanding general. He will become Program Executive Officer, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors.

The change-of-command ceremony was hosted by Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, Commanding General, RDECOM.

"John and I have served together before, and I am just excited to have him join the team up here today," said Justice of McGuiness. "Take the time to teach him your history, your mission, your culture, your heritage as he takes over the reins here."

McGuiness comes to NSSC after serving as Deputy Commanding General for Regional Support, NATO Training Mission/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. Prior to that, he served in several acquisition positions. He earned the 2009 Secretary of the Army's Award as Project Manager of the Year.

A United States Military Academy graduate, McGuiness began his career as an infantry officer. He has earned the Combat Action Badge, Expert Infantryman's Badge, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. The Newburgh, N.Y., native and his wife, Gail, have two children, James and Lindsey.

"I am excited to be here at Natick," said McGuiness, noting that he had worked with many of its employees as Project Manager for Soldier Equipment. "From day one, the professionalism, the dedication and the true compassion for Soldiers was evident.

"I promise you that I will walk the center every, single day with one thought in my mind: How can I make this place better so that you can do your job for those Soldiers and members of the Joint Force so they can do their jobs better."

McGuiness becomes the first general officer residing at Natick for eight years. Greene had lived in Maryland while working out of Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

"This truly is a historic occasion," said Justice, "because we are going to install as a commander here an officer who will take residence in New England once again, a fact that's truly worth noting."

Greene, a Boston native, said he had enjoyed his time at Natick. He added that he was impressed with its workforce from the start.

"The scientists and engineers working here are producing products that our Soldiers are using on the battlefield as we speak - all day, every day," Greene said. "That equipment has continually improved the last ten years, and it's due to the hard work of the exceptional workforce here at the Natick Soldier Systems Center.

"In the last ten years, we've been in conflict, and it's demanded a lot of those who develop equipment for our Soldiers. They need to react rapidly to stay ahead of an adaptive enemy. The team here has done that exceptionally well, ensuring that the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman had the best equipment possible."

McGuiness reminded those in attendance of the ultimate reason that they had all gathered together.

"As we celebrate today, let's not forget the deployed young men and women around the world in defense of freedom," McGuiness said. "It's a tribute to them, also. We're all here to support them."