White Sands Missile Range welcomed Naval Surface Warfare Center White Sands Detachment Commander Lt. Commander Anthony C. Holmes Aug. 1. Prior to his arrival at WSMR, Holmes served at Dahlgren, Virginia, as a project manager and a baseline manager.
Where are you from and where is home for you?
My home of record is Denison, Texas, birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Who are your family members?
I have two sons, one is 21 and the other is 14.
When you were younger what did you aspire to be?
For many years I aspired to be an architect but I think that changed when I learned about the atomic bomb. I was fascinated by the tremendous amount of energy released by a relatively small amount of mass due to fission. I figured I might want to do something based in math or physics when I grew up but I never thought I would end up in the same area where the first atomic bomb was detonated.
What led you to join the Navy?
After graduating high school I ended up going to the Navy recruiter to see what options were available and learned about the Naval Nuclear Power Program. I had a solid foundation in math and science so I did pretty well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and Nuclear Field Qualification Test. It seemed like a good fit so I went for it.
What have you learned from previous leadership roles?
I learned a long time ago as a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy that “you manage things but you lead people.” Everything we do is about the people. What we do here, the capability we put forward, the successes we have here would never happen without the people who make it happen. People want to succeed, let them. Good leaders encourage and empower their people, give them the right training and tools to do their job, remove barriers to their successes, hold them to a high standard and back them where appropriate.
Leaders don’t always have the right answers. Many times it’s about asking the right questions so an informed decision can be made, many times with limited or no information, but balancing risk and reward. It’s okay to say “I don’t know, but I will find out.” Knowing your limitations as well as your strengths are key.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank who helped guide you to where you are today?
There are a number of officers, Chief Petty Officers and civilians who have helped mentor, guide and open doors for me along the way. I’ve been very lucky. When I wanted to run, they let me run as fast and far as I wanted to go. I gained a little something from each and every one of them along the way, which helped shape who I am today.
What do you and your family like to do for fun?
I took my boys zip lining for the first time, a month ago, and I had one of the best times ever. In the summer it’s all about being in the water. In the winter it’s all about snowboarding. I’m looking forward to hitting the nearest slopes in a few months.
What do you like to do for fun?
Hiking, biking, reading, barbequing and riding in my jeep.
How do you feel about coming to WSMR?
I feel particularly lucky to be here. It wasn’t originally in my plans but I was asked to transfer early from my last command to come to WSMR and I’m very happy it worked out that way. There’s really nothing better than being in the middle of where future combat weapons capability get tested before being deployed to the warfighters. It really is about rocket science out here.
What do you hope to accomplish while you’re here?
I was taught a long time ago “leave it better than what you found it.” That’s always been my goal wherever I’ve gone. I’m here to do my part to contribute, lead, develop our people and execute the test missions for the programs we support in the best way possible.
I will want to look back on this tour and say I made a difference in a positive way.