Outgoing White Sands Missile Range Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy R. Coffin relinquished command of WSMR to incoming WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Eric L. Sanchez during a change of command ceremony Aug. 25 outside the Frontier Club.
Coffin, whose retirement ceremony preceded the change of command, thanked everyone for travelling to WSMR for both ceremonies.
“I’m so proud to have spent these last 35 years with this organization we call the United States Army,” he said. “It’s with pride that I wear this uniform.”
U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command Commander Maj. Gen. Daniel Karbler started off by talking about the venue for the event, which was held at the ninth fairway outside the Frontier Club with the mountains in the background.
“This venue this morning for a retirement and change of command ceremony, as I was sitting there with the national anthem, the mountains and the flags and the band…it’s just amazing the beauty here,” Karbler said.
Karbler thanked Coffin and his wife Kristy for their service and commended them on their ability to balance service and Family.
“Tim and Kristy for your Army career you have really set the standard for how to bring up a great Army Family. On behalf of the chief thanks for your service, the Army is losing a great professional,” he said. “Tim your persistence, your leadership here at White Sands has truly made a difference.”
Karbler went on to say that changes of command are more about continuity than they are about farewells. “I’m really glad to have you on board, you are the right guy Eric,” he said. “White Sands Missile Range will be very fortunate to have your expertise as well as your leadership.”
Sanchez, a 1987 Distinguished Military Graduate of New Mexico State University, welcomed everyone with a warm “Bienvenidos” welcome. He said it was great to be back in New Mexico. “Teresa and I are really excited to get back here and reconnect with old friends and make new friends. I want to start by thanking God for giving me these opportunities that I’ve had as a commander,” Sanchez said.
During his introduction he thanked Karbler for the confidence he’s had in him.
“I will not let you down,” Sanchez said. “I’ve been amazed over the last few days at the professionalism, expertise, enthusiasm and dedication of Team WSMR. We have over 200 missions between now until the end of the calendar year that are going to go on here at White Sands. We are truly relevant in what we are doing and we continue to do great things out here, and we will continue to do that.”
“I’m committed to maintaining the current momentum that Tim has created here at White Sands and enhancing relationships with our neighbors both civilian and military; working together to find new innovative ways to meet our customer’s needs and support new and emerging technologies in the future. At the end of the day we must remember, whether it is Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen or Marines that we are outfitting…it’s all about the people. There is a lot of technology here at White Sands but it is the people that make it all happen,” Sanchez said.