A historic change of command took place today at the Rock Island Arsenal, as for the first time ever, a female and African-American was named Commander of the Arsenal’s Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center (JMTC).
Colonel Shari Bennett took over as the 51st Commander of the JMTC, taking over for the outgoing Commander, Col. Martin Hendrix. Hendrix spoke before the incoming Commander Bennett, and he said his team is in good hands with Col. Bennett taking command.
“The team already loves you Shari,” Col. Hendrix said during his speech. “You’re going to do a fantastic job. You’ve got a great team here. I really look forward to hearing what you guys do over the next couple of years. Enjoy it, it flies by really quickly.”
The new Commander Bennett said it means a lot to her to be named the first female and African-American Commander in the JMTC’s 159 year history.
“It’s such a remarkable day for me and my family because commanding at any level in the army is a privilege, and the ability to command at this level is an absolute privilege,” Commander Bennett said. “I stand on the shoulders of all of those women who have come before me, all of those black officers that have come before me and paved the way. I stand on the shoulders of giants, of women who have led at every echelon, who have proven that women are not just capable but women are critical to the military these days.”
The change of command ceremony was originally planned to be held outside, but due to weather, the ceremony was moved inside to Heritage Hall. All families and soldiers were still able to attend.