ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The hundreds who gathered May 19 for Patrick J. O'Neill's appointment to Senior Executive Service received a single sheet of paper.

The paper had a photo of a U.S. Army Soldier in combat with the title "Why AMSAA Exists."

O'Neill was promoted March 27 to U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity technical director. He is the 25th SES appointee in the organization's history.

O'Neill focused on AMSAA's commitment to Servicemembers during his remarks at the APG Post Theater. He asked all active-duty personnel and veterans in the audience to stand to be recognized.

"This piece of paper has an image that symbolizes why AMSAA exists," he said, referencing the handout. "We exist to make things better and safer for our Soldiers."

O'Neill referenced the hard work of his colleagues since starting his Army civilian career in 1984. He said AMSAA had a critical role in the 1980s during the development of the "big five" weapons systems -- Abrams, Bradley, Apache, Blackhawk and Patriot.

"Soldiers need us. That's why I work so hard," he said. "I'm proud of what AMSAA does. We serve the Soldier. We make equipment better. We make it easier for the Soldier. We make equipment better to save Soldiers' lives and to protect America."