By Adriana Salas
White Sands Missile Range welcomed its 33rd Commanding General during an Assumption of Command Ceremony conducted behind the Frontier Club, July 2. Brig. Gen. Timothy R. Coffin assumed responsibility from former WSMR Director Paul Mann.
Army Test and Evaluation Command Commander Maj. Gen. Peter Utley was the host for the event. During his speech he took the opportunity to welcome Coffin to the installation. He spoke of Coffin’s professional history and how his past leadership roles have made him the best leader to take over the role of commander of WSMR.
“It’s truly an honor to welcome Brig. Gen. Coffin,” Utley said. “He is inherently qualified for this command.”
“I have no doubt that you are the right Soldier for the job. I know you will do great things for WSMR,” he added.
Utley also thanked Mann for taking charge during the transition and for his continued support and dedication as a civilian employee.
“Paul you’ve just done a fantastic job,” Utley said.
This was the second ceremony Utley hosted at WSMR within a little over a month.
“You really cannot believe the majestic view of the background of White Sands,” Utley said of his return to WSMR.
Coffin arrives from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California where he served as the Deputy Commander for Joint Functional Component Command for Space for over a year. Coffin has served in the Army for 33 years. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal among others.
“It does take a large village of communities not just the WSMR community but our communities around us to work together and take care of this national treasure,” Coffin said. “The whole community has been very loving and outstanding. We look forward to getting to know each and every one of you and to participate as a team.”
Mann served as the WSMR Director for more than a month and has now resumed his position as WSMR Executive Director. During his speech, Mann spoke of the important role civilian employees have and how a civilian position should never be taken lightly.
“This is our national treasure and obviously it is a huge honor and pleasure to serve on this great team,” Mann said. “Today my passion continues for civil service and service to our nation.”
Coffin is taking over during a time where WSMR’s capabilities and testing missions are continuing to develop and expand. The ceremony ended with a meet-and-greet for Coffin, his wife Kristy, and four of seven children, Sarah, Jackson, Wade, and Becky.