LIMA — “The Army Goes Rolling Along.”
The official song of the U.S. military’s largest branch rang especially true on Wednesday as Lt. Col. Matthew Hodge relinquished his position as commander of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center to Lt. Col Travis Adkins.
At a Change of Command ceremony that included a symbolic passing of the colors, Adkins officially began his three-year tenure at the JSMC, a privately run, government-owned facility most famous for manufacturing the M-1 Abrams Tank.
“It’s a great honor for me to follow Col. Hodge,” Adkins said. “He did great things here, and I can tell he built an outstanding team here. I’m excited about the opportunity to continue to build on all the great things he’s accomplished.”
Adkins is no stranger to the JSMC. A native of Paulding, he spent four years as the facility’s program integrator for the M-1 Abrams Tank and the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. Most recently, Adkins served as an executive officer and assistant product manager for Ground Combat Systems in Warren, Michigan. The northwest Ohio product said he is enthusiastic about returning to his roots.
“I’m very excited to be back,” said Adkins, who moved back to the area with his wife, Chrissy, and children, Leila and Travis. “Returning to the Lima community has been a blessing for our family, and we are grateful for the opportunity.”
Adkins began his military career in 1998 when he was commissioned to field artillery. He has served in various capacities through the years, and completed tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and more.
Based on his past experiences, Hodge said he feels Adkins is well-equipped to take on the commander position.
“He’s served [at the JSMC] before, so he knows the lay of the land,” Hodge said, “so I think he’s ready to take it to the next level.”
Hodge described the JSMC commander position as “being a landlord.” General Dynamics Land Systems controls the processes and hires employees, he said, while the government ensures the company is providing quality products. With three years experience as JSMC commander, Hodge has some advice for Adkins.
“Be ready for anything,” he said. “You don’t know what problem you’re going to have when you come in during the day, but you’ll always have one. But he’ll get through it. He’s a great officer.”
Adkins said he is ready to accept the challenge.
“This is a lot of responsibility, but I’m excited about the challenges it brings,” he said. “The products we make here are what keep our soldiers alive. We have a great team here that are dedicated to providing our soldiers with the absolute best combat vehicles so they can fight, survive and win on the battlefield.”
The Army goes rolling along.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.