Story by Debralee Best on 05/30/2019ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. Col. Kenneth W. Letcher relinquished command of Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (RIA-JMTC) to Col. Martin J. "Jimmy" Hendrix III in a ceremony here May 29.
Hendrix assumes command as the 50th commander of RIA-JMTC. The Fayetteville, North Carolina, native served in various positions prior to his assignment here including staff officer, instructor, aide de camp, executive officer, and battalion commander. He has served throughout the world at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Carson, Colorado and the Pentagon, as well as overseas in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Republic of Korea.
"Col. Hendrix, I am confident in you and your ability to build upon the center's reputation, and that you, too, will leave the center in a couple years in better shape than you found it," said the presiding official of the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Daniel Mitchell, commanding general, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, U.S. Army Garrison, Detroit Arsenal, Warren, Michigan. "In the meantime, take care of and watch over this great work force our fine industrial artisans who are among the nation's finest and most uniquely skilled and qualified to deliver the best for our sons and daughters who wear the uniform. Welcome to TACOM!"
Hendrix expressed his gratitude at his selection.
"For me, the privilege to command this historic organization is a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Hendrix. "As you're all aware, the Arsenal has been building readiness for our nation's Army for more than 150 years. Being allowed to join this team is both awesome and very humbling."
Letcher departs after serving as commander since June 22, 2017.
"It was just about two years ago that Col. Letcher took over as the 49th commander of the JMTC, but he didn't waste any time getting down to business," said Mitchell. "A goal of every commander is to leave a unit in better shape than when they got there. That's not to say that there was anything wrong here, but there is always room for improvement and the JMTC is better today because of his leadership."
During his two-year tenure, Letcher's most notable accomplishment was the establishment of the Advanced and Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, according to Mitchell. Additionally, he and the RIA-JMTC team developed partnerships with commercial industry, helping to preserve the critical maintenance and logistics expertise needed to manufacture and maintain technologically advanced weapon systems into the future.
Letcher believes Hendrix will continue the forward progress of RIA-JMTC.
"Jimmy, I know you'll work hard here to keep this organization moving forward. You come to the island and JMTC with a stellar reputation," said Letcher. "I wish you and the family well here in the Quad Cities. The groundwork is set for many new innovations. I can't wait to see what's next."
Letcher's new assignment is chief of staff for the Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan.