Aberdeen Proving Ground has a new top commander, as Maj. Gen. Robert L. Edmonson II took the reins of Harford County’s largest employer and key military installation Friday with an exchange of a banner and two bouquets.
Edmonson officially took his place as commander of U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground from Maj. Gen. Mitchell L. Kilgo, who has held the post since June of 2019.
Edmonson’s most recent assignment was the Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Edmonson has served nearly 30 years with the Army and has previously deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to a statement.
The change of command is a regular ceremony at the installation, one marked with the presentation of red and yellow roses for the outgoing and incoming commanders respectively. Kilgo handed CECOM’s banner to Edmonson, formally relinquishing command to him.
Edmonson joked that a good commander “will be measured by first by the length of time they spend delivering their opening remarks,” and accordingly delivered a brief address to the audience. He congratulated and thanked Kilgo and past commanders of the installation, several of whom were in attendance. He also thanked Kilgo’s family, who made his transition to APG easier, as well as his own for supporting him.
“This is a pivotal time in our Army’s history,” he said. “Our adversaries are not waiting, and neither will we. People first; winning matters; Army strong.”
Kilgo lauded the personnel at APG for being supremely competent, and the local community for being welcoming, but also for supporting him, personally, through challenging times. His brother — a father-figure in Kilgo’s life — died in February 2020 of heart issues, so the Major General turned to the community to help him get through the ordeal, he said.
“If it wasn’t for my family here, I would have came apart, but they gave me the support I needed,” he said. “You all, CECOM global, this community, APG, I leaned on you to help me get through that.”
More than anything else, Kilgo said he was proud of the people who work at APG and the work they have done to ensure security for the nation and foster an inclusive workplace.
“It is comforting to know that, even as I leave this command in Rob Edmonson’s extremely capable hands, our existing leaders’ ongoing dedication to the soul of CECOM will never waver,” he said.
Attendees at the event were masked in accordance with APG’s indoor mask mandate. Because Harford has tipped into the “substantial” risk-level for community transmission of COVID-19, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the installation requires people to wear masks indoors.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges to the installation, Kilgo said — challenges that extended into Friday’s ceremony. Kilgo planned to invite his family, but plans changed with the virus’ spread. Still, some of Kilgo’s family members watched the change of command ceremony virtually, as did over 200 others.
“I told them all they could not come today, because I did not know where this Delta variant was going,” he said.
Kilgo will become the Deputy Inspector General of the Army.
In June, Col. Timothy Druell formally transferred command of APG’s garrison to Col. Johnny Casiano. Druell, who like Kilgo came to APG in June 2019, was heading to South Carolina for a new posting as protection chief with Army Central G36 at Shaw Air Force Base. Casiano is a 26-year Army veteran who also served in Afghanistan and Iraq.