NATICK, Mass. -- In his final town hall meeting as senior commander of the Natick Soldier Systems Center, Brig. Gen. John J. McGuiness reminded the NSSC workforce Aug. 30 of their special role in the Department of Defense.

"Those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Special Operators, civilians, contractors … they come home because of what you do," McGuiness said. "Who else in DoD does this work? The answer is, consistently, no one.

"You are unique, you are professional, you are dedicated, you are motivated, you are compassionate in what you do. It shows in everything. It shows in the output (of) equipment, and it speaks volumes. So I personally want to thank you for what you do."

Before he handed over responsibility for NSSC to Dr. Jack Obusek in a Sept. 14 ceremony, McGuiness took the opportunity to say a public goodbye after 16 months at Natick.

"This will be my last town hall meeting, unfortunately, and I'm sure I'm going to miss you all," said McGuiness, who will take over as Program Executive Officer, Ammunition, and senior commander at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. "In my opinion, it's the people that drive this installation."

McGuiness spoke of the happenings at NSSC since the last town hall May 3, presented a number of awards, recognized deployed and retiring members and new employees, and listened to updates from tenant organizations. He made special mention of the retirees, who had logged a cumulative 540 years of government service.

"You need to be thinking constantly about the succession," McGuiness said. "Who's next? Then using your time here not only to execute the mission but to mentor and coach and teach and bring people up so that the level of excellence that we have here … there's never a dip. That should be a responsibility of all of us."

McGuiness said that he and his wife had "a wonderful experience" at Natick.

"I just want to say, really, from both of us, I can't thank everybody enough for welcoming us with open arms and the support that everybody has given us," McGuiness said. "It's just been great.

"I didn't know … the amount of goodness, (that was) here, the quality of you all, the commitment, the professionalism, and what you bring to the war fight. And for that, I want to thank you."