WEST FORT HOOD — Col. Scott A. Spellmon assumed command of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command during a ceremony Wednesday outside the command’s headquarters.

James Amato, a civilian, was executive director of the command before Spellmon’s appointment.

“I’ve only known Mr. Amato for a short while, but in that time you can see what a treasure he’s been for this organization,” Spellmon said.

Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commander of the command’s higher headquarters, the Army Test and Evaluation Command in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., hosted the ceremony. Amato will join Dellarocco in Maryland, where he will serve as the director of the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity.

In the two months under Amato’s leadership, Dellarocco said the organization performed hundreds of system tests, which assisted the Defense Department in making critical decisions about the continuation of programs used by war fighters.

“I trusted him to execute in the absence of a general officer and he did so in an absolutely superlative manner,” Dellarocco said.

Amato served in the commander’s top position after Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin moved to serve as deputy commander of the 1st Cavalry Division.

New commander

Spellmon was previously assigned to Fort Hood from 1987 to 1990, where he served as a platoon leader and company executive officer for the 8th Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. He said he is excited to start his new position.

“The systems and procedures that our Army uses to ensure that our equipment, our organizations and our materiel meet the needs of our soldiers in the field, it’s not something that every officer has an opportunity to participate in over the course of their career and certainly that is no different for me.”

Despite a job that’s new to him, Spellmon said he learned a lot during the past few weeks when he met with command leadership of the Army’s only independent operational tester.

“It did not take long for me to realize ... that this is absolutely fascinating work, how hard and critical this business is for our Army and soldiers in the field and that this organization has an incredibly strong reputation,” he said.

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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