The first EOD officer to hold the Chief of Ordnance title has concluded her tenure here.
Brig. Gen. Heidi J. Hoyle, also the second female only in the Ord. Corps’ 208-year history to serve as branch chief, handed over duties and responsibilities to interim COO Col. Stephen F. Elder during a relinquishment of command ceremony Monday morning in the new Ord. Training Support Facility.
Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, hosted the event in which attendance was limited in compliance with COVID-19 safeguards.
Among other key leaders on hand were Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Perry III, CASCOM CSM; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Danny K. Taylor, Ord. Corps CWO; Joseph W. Kirby, deputy to the Ord. School commandant; and Dr. Demetrious Cleotelis, Hoyle’s husband. CSM Petra Casarez, Ord. Corps CSM, orchestrated the ceremony.
Fogg, addressing those gathered, lauded Hoyle’s performance over the past two years, citing the leadership attributes she demonstrated while presiding over a diverse schoolhouse and guiding the corps through critical challenges.
“Her tenure as the 41st Chief of Ordnance (and school commandant) has been phenomenal …,” Fogg said. “She really pushed the Ordnance School and Corps to greater heights. … Heidi ensured tough and rigorous training was provided to our subordinate Soldiers and leaders while also providing solutions to some of the most complex readiness problems.”
Last year, the Ord. School trained more than 175,000 active and reserve component Soldiers and civilians in several career fields at multiple locations including Fort Lee. On the doctrinal front, Hoyle guided the corps through the complexities of completing its input for Army Field Manual 4-0, which describes how forces will be supported during largescale combat operations, a recent doctrinal shift from counterinsurgency strategies.
Fogg also noted initiatives such as Universal Maintenance Instruction for the mechanical maintenance career field. It brought simplified training to non-maintenance personnel – officer and enlisted – throughout the Army.
“It was a major undertaking and took a lot of collaboration and a lot of work,” Fogg acknowledged.
The EOD career field saw improvements under Hoyle as well. Training and safety were bolstered while an increased focus on materiel development resulted in strides toward the next generation of the advanced bomb suit. It also benefited from the addition of a commandant’s position and proponency office.
“She consistently engaged with senior leadership – multiple times on Capitol Hill – to make sure we were doing the things we needed to do to for the Army and the joint force,” Fogg said. “These efforts ultimately will save lives on the battlefield.”
Fogg also mentioned Hoyle’s praiseworthy efforts concerning the Ordnance Crucible, a three-part exercise in which EOD, ammo handler and combat repair teams from around the world display their technical skills in a competitive environment. “It was already good,” Fogg noted. “You made it better.”
Hoyle was at the forefront of development for the Next Generation Automated Test System, designed to provide testing and screening of complex electronic weapons systems.
“(We worked) many, many hours trying to make sure the system is exactly what is needed for our Soldiers,” Fogg said. “What it’s going to do is help us shoot, move and communicate better and win against any adversary while at the same time reducing our operating costs.”
Fogg went on to mention Hoyle’s efforts behind making improvements in additive manufacturing and conditioned-based maintenance; and enhancing professional opportunities and making available vital information to facilitate better career decisions among Soldiers and leaders.
“(There) are truly tremendous accomplishments across the board,” Fogg said. “Everything Heidi touched got better. She’s been an outstanding Chief of Ordnance; a trusted member of CASCOM; a force multiplier for the sustainment force; and an inspirational leader.”
Hoyle, a U.S. Military Academy graduate and 25-year-Soldier, was brief at the lectern. Forever to-the-point, she thanked her superiors, colleagues, staff and all the others who had a hand in her success. In deference to the support required to accomplish the mission, Hoyle said the team must never be overlooked.
“Having served in this position for two years, it makes me realize it takes an entire community to build a resilient and effective Ordnance Corps,” she said. “In Maj. Gen. Fogg’s remarks, he talked about me. Sir, it was not about me. It was the entire team. … You guys were the ones who enabled me to serve as a successful 41st Chief of Ordnance. Many would say you are the ‘force’ behind the ‘force’ behind the gun.”
“The force behind the gun” is in a verse from the “Ordnance Song.”
Hoyle’s next assignment will take her to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., where she will serve as the commanding general of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command.
Brig. Gen. Michelle M.T. Lechter is scheduled to replace Hoyle. She is wrapping up her duties as the commanding general of Joint Munitions Command and the Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. No date has been set for her arrival.