New commander takes over at depot
July 30, 2013 — A new commander who has been described as having strong leadership and team building skills has taken over duties at Sierra Army Depot.
Duties were transferred from Lt. Col. Christopher Dexter to Lt. Col. Robert C. Slosson in a change of command ceremony Wednesday, July 24 at the depot in Herlong.
Major General Michael Terry, commanding general for the Army Tank Automotive and Armament Command Life Cycle Management Command hosted the event.
Terry said, “When an organization loses a great leader, the Army always works to get it right. The Army seeks to replace that person with another outstanding officer with the right skill set and leadership ability to take the organization to the next level. This is absolutely the case as we bid farewell to the Dexters and welcome the Slosson command team to Sierra Army Depot. The Army selected the right person to lead this organization.”
Slosson, who goes by Charlie, or as Terry pointed out, “sir,” has an excellent reputation and is also a tremendous, well-tested leader, according to Terry.
He said most importantly Slosson knows how to build teams and take care of people
The transfer of responsibility was signified during the ceremony when Dexter passed the depot flag to Terry who then handed it to Slosson.
Lori McDonald, depot public affairs officer, said, “The change of command ceremonies are steeped in tradition, rich in military history. These ceremonies pre-date the Norman Conquest of England and are a formal symbolic passing of responsibility, authority and accountability of command from one leader to another.”
According to McDonald, the ceremony is best described by a quote from Victor Hugo, “Change your lead; keep intact your roots.”
Family members of both Dexter and Slosson were in attendance and keeping with tradition, they were given bouquets of flowers, which were presented by children from the Child Youth and School Services and Children Development Center.
Dexter’s wife, Mona, received a bouquet of dark, pink full-bloom roses, which McDonald said shows thanks for all she has done to support her husband and the depot.
A bouquet of daisies was presented to Dexter’s mother, Patricia, to signify a knowing gratitude for the support of her son during the years.
Yellow budding roses were presented to Slosson’s wife, Kimberly, welcoming her to the depot. His son, Beck, received a commander’s coin and his daughter Gwen, received daisies to signify the friendship that will grow during her time affiliated with the depot.
Terry also highlighted Dexter’s accomplishments during his two years at the depot.
“Today we bid farewell to a tremendous leader … Chris Dexter’s most important qualities and achievements during his time as depot commander are his heart, his passion for people and his efforts to maintain workload and, during these times, having to right-size the workforce.”
According to Terry, Dexter worked hard to minimize impacts to employees and families especially during these times of fiscal uncertainty.
“This was a difficult task that required outstanding leadership and intense planning. I’m proud to say (Dexter) executed this extremely important mission with excellent results, never losing focus of why he serves to take care of people, while ensuring mission accomplishment,” Terry said.
He described Dexter as a driving force in the depot’s workforce safety and business development programs and was extremely active in promoting the depot’s excellent capability and talented work force. Dexter was a key leader in the development and enhancement of relationships with strategic partners, allies and sister services and set the standard of excellence in maintaining a superior and solid workplace safety program.
In addition, Terry said Dexter’s hard work and dedication have been instrumental in raising more than $70 million in additional revenue for the depot in the last two years.
He said, “Before I took over this command I never even spoke in these type of numbers, it’s fantastic.”
The change of command ceremony also provides the outgoing commander with the opportunity to say goodbye to those who have been under his or her command and for the new commanding officer to meet personnel.
Dexter said there are more than 1,500 employees and contractors on the depot. Each one plays a critical role in the depot’s success and recognized the accomplishments by major organizations.
He said, “Sierra has been one of the best experiences of my career. I wouldn’t trade anything for the last two years. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity for command, better people to work with and a better community to be a part of. I’ve loved the last few years,” he said.
City and county officials, community members and depot employees were in attendance and at the end of the ceremony, many lined up to shake hands with Dexter and say goodbye to his family.
Terry also recognized the work of the depot employees.
Since 1942, depot workers have faithfully executed their mission to provide service and support to America’s soldiers. What began as a reserve storage depot for general supplies and inert materials transitioned through the years to take on petroleum and water project stock missions.
Terry said, “You’re a great team of professionals who provide the best possible support for our soldiers serving around the world in harms way.”
The depot’s value to the Army and the nation was highlighted again in 2011 when the Secretary of the Army designated it as the center of industrial and excellence for petroleum and water distribution systems.
Terry thanked the employees again for all they do and led those in attendance in a round of applause for the employees.
“We’re proud of who you are and what you do to make our Army the best equipped quality force in the world. Your efforts have ensured the safety and welfare of our most precious resource, our soldiers. You never missed a beat and always ensured our soldiers had what they needed to engage and defeat our adversaries.”
The 40th Infantry Division Band Detachment of Sacramento provided music during the ceremony and the members from the First Nevada Civil War Detachment served as the Color Guard.
SIAD employee Jon France sang the national anthem and chaplain Michael Beck gave the invocation.
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