De Soto — Lt. Col. Richard A. Jackson took command of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant near DeSoto on Friday, saying he plans to build on the plant's impressive record of quality and safety.
In a change-of-command ceremony attended by about 250 people, outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Richard M. Hart, received the Legion of Merit recognizing his tenure as commander of the plant since August of 1990.
The plant produces nitroguanadine, which is a principal explosive component of triple-base propellant.
Brig. Gen. Frank F. Henderson, deputy commanding general for procurement and readiness, also awarded Hart with a certificate recognizing the Sunflower plant's contributions to Operation Desert Storm.
The change of command became official with the traditional "exchange of colors," in which Hart passed a symbolic flag to Jackson, representing the passing of the commander's responsibilities for the unit and its personnel on to his successor.
AFTER THE exchange of colors, Henderson praised Hart's accomplishments at the Sunflower plant, and challenged Jackson to maintain the same levels of quality, safety, environmental consciousness and conservation.
Jackson told the crowd he was proud and enthusiastic to take command of the Sunflower plant. He also becomes commander of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant in Baraboo, Wis.
Jackson cited Hart's accomplishments as commander of the plant, saying: "Safety, environment, quality. You did it all. We will continue to build on your good work."
JACKSON HAS held a number of command and staff positions both overseas and in the United States. He was a platoon leader in the 2nd Engineer Battalion, and was assistant division chemical officer for the 2nd Infantry Division, both in Korea. In Germany, he commanded the 69th Chemical Company, 1st Armored Division, and served as the regimental chemical officer of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Most recently, he was division chemical officer for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was with U.S. forces in Operation Desert Storm from August 1990 to April this year.
His military awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal.
Jackson and his wife, Suzanne, have a 3-year-old daughter, Caitlin.
Hart's next tour of duty will be as a member of the faculty at Fort Leavenworth's Command and General Staff College.
The Sunflower and Badger plants are government-owned, contractor-operated installations. At the Sunflower plant, the operating contractor, Hercules Inc., employs approximately 700 people, and the U.S. Army employs two military people and 23 civilians.