Story by Mark Schauer on 06/20/2019YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz.-- Lt. Col. Alicia Johnson assumed command of U.S. Army Yuma Test Center (YTC) on June 20 from outgoing commander Lt. Col. Timothy Matthews in a ceremony held in front of the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) Heritage Center Museum.
Hailing from the Army Evaluation Center (AEC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Johnson pledged to continue the work that has made YTC the Army's premier test center.
"I really believe in the mission," she said. "I believe we make a difference getting capabilities out to the warfighter and are a critical part of the process. What we do here matters."
Having served as the military deputy director in the Survivability Evaluation Directorate at AEC, Johnson helped create full-spectrum survivability test and evaluation requirements for Army programs. As such, she knew of YTC's reputation prior to being slated for command.
"I had never been to Yuma before, but I had heard of Yuma. I know all the kinds of work done here at a very top level."
Earlier this spring, Johnson spent a week at the proving ground, meeting YPG Commander Col. Ross Poppenberger and visiting the vast test ranges and meeting the personnel that make testing virtually every piece of equipment in the ground combat arsenal possible. She said she was impressed by the breadth of YTC's instrumentation and the experience of the workforce.
"It's a tremendous workforce. There is so much expertise and specialization here. Even being familiar with the mission, talking with people about the work and innovation they are responsible for is beyond impressive."
A native of Texas, Johnson entered active duty in 1997. She served a tour in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, and was twice deployed to Afghanistan. She holds a Master's degree in Human Resource Management from Webster University and is currently pursuing a second Master's in System Management.
"I believe my mission is to align with Col. Poppenberger's vision, remove obstacles for the workforce, and tell the world about all the great things we are doing here. I want to be a champion of Yuma Test Center."
Outgoing commander Lt. Col. Timothy Matthews thanked the YTC workforce for their devotion and stressed that the test center is in good hands with Johnson.
"YTC's successful outcomes are entirely the result of the expertise, passion, and dedication that the workforce brings to all they do," he said. "I appreciate you all, and am confident you will support Lt. Col. Johnson and every commander who comes after her in the same manner. Your support makes a big difference for our mission and for the Warfighter."
After accepting the command guidon, Johnson expressed her belief that YTC's best days are yet to come.
"We have capabilities no one else has. We are going to remain at the forefront of the Army's next wave of modernization efforts. More people are going to start tapping in on that and testing here."