White Sands Missile Range Test Center Commander Col. James Winbush officially said farewell to the installation during a Relinquishment of Command ceremony and Assumption of Responsibility ceremony held at the Post Theater May 21.
The event, which was hosted by WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin, was also held to introduce incoming Test Center Commander Frank D. Chavez.
“The key part of leadership is not just what you can pass up the chain but your role to deflect and defend… you also provided support and guidance. Leaders allow their subordinate leaders to lead. People like to do business here at White Sands, I attribute that to Winbush and his leadership,” Coffin said of Winbush.
“We have complete faith and trust in Frank and Becky. It’s with great confidence and trust that James can turn over his command to you,” Coffin added.
Winbush has worked for WSMR since July of 2012. Since then, Winbush has been a part of 428 laser missions, 2,589 Fast Burst Reactor operations, and 453 applied environment operations, among several others.
“He gave guidance, he gave direction, and he pushed the organization forward into new heights. The results have left a lasting impact on the installation that will be a legacy for years to come,” Coffin said.
During the ceremony Winbush was also awarded with the Legion of Merit for his contribution to the range.
“You don’t know the capabilities at White Sands until you come work here,” Winbush said.
Winbush and his wife, Sharlene, will be leaving for Washington, D.C. where Winbush has accepted a position at the Pentagon.
“So much for going to sunny Florida and relaxing on the beach,” Winbush said.
Winbush took a majority of his time on stage thanking individuals he has worked with closely and highlighting their qualities.
“I get to call some plays but you guys execute and you’re simply the best at it,” Winbush said.
Chavez, who served as the executive director for the Test Center, will be taking over Winbush’s position provisionally. Chavez has been working for the installation in several different capacities for 37 years.
“I’m proud to stand in front of you and be your director, not many civilians get to participate in this role,” Chavez said.