Meet Col. George C. Turner Jr. New Commander of White Sands Missile Range

Image Meet Col. George C. Turner Jr. New Commander of White Sands Missile Range

Otero County New Mexico is home to three US military installations. Holloman Air Force Base, White Sands Missile Range, and Fort Bliss Military Reservation are in western Otero county all converging on the outskirts of Alamogordo, the County Seat. At 6,627 square miles, it is the third largest county in New Mexico and thirty-fifth largest in the United States. Only 10% of the land area is privately owned. Two of the U.S. Army’s largest bases, Fort Bliss and the White Sands Missile Range, are located in Otero County.

White Sands Missile Range is simply the widest and largest military base in the United States of America. It covers almost 8300 square km and spreads over five different counties. It is located in the southern part of New Mexico. The close proximity to Fort Bliss and its 2400 square km range form a huge area exclusively used for military tests. The base is operated by the United States Army. Its primary mission implies testing all the weapons the Army can benefit from. NASA also used this place for a landing site during the Space Shuttle operation. Some of the most popular operations that take place there include satellite tests before launching, flight tests and missile testing.

White Sands Missile Range held a Change of Command ceremony at the Organ Mountains Parade Field, where guests bid farewell to Brig. Gen. Eric D. Little as he relinquished command to Col. George C. Turner Jr., the new commander.

During the cool morning, Maj. Gen. James Galivan, the Commander of the Army Test and Evaluation Command, welcomed guests and employees to the ceremony. He appreciated the picturesque mountains and the serene ambiance of the surroundings. He encouraged everyone to take a moment to breathe and enjoy the scenery, weather, and company.

"Today, we witness the transfer of authority of United States Army White Sands Missile Range into the hands of George Turner, and we bid farewell and celebrate the accomplishments of Eric Little and the team while Eric was in command here," said Galivan.

Addressing the White Sands Missile Range community for the first time in November, Turner expressed how it was another great day to be an American soldier. He then shared his pride in serving as the 38th Commander of White Sands Missile Range, as well as the Deputy Commander for Developmental Testing for the Army Test and Evaluation Command.

"I look forward to leading this great team alongside Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Cordery and Mr. Vincent Liddiard as we do great work to increase our warfighting capabilities and capacities for Army 2030 and Army 2040," said Turner.

Turner also thanked Little for his excellent leadership, "you have successfully added to the strong foundation that was laid here in 1945. I wish you and your family the very best at Space Command."

Colonel George C. Turner, Jr. is the 38th Commander, White Sands Missile Range and Deputy Commander for Developmental Testing, US Army Test and Evaluation Command. He assumed duties in November 2023.

In this position, Colonel Turner leads developmental testing and evaluation efforts at echelon in order to enable modernization and innovation priorities for Army 2030 and Army 2040. He provides oversight for the Army’s six premier testing commands: Aberdeen Test Center, Maryland; Dugway Proving Ground, Utah; Electronic Proving Ground, Arizona; Redstone Test Center, Alabama; White Sands Test Center, New Mexico; and, Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

Colonel Turner most recently served as the Chief of Staff for G-3/5/7 Force Management, Headquarters, Department of the Army in Washington, District of Columbia. Prior to this position, he served as the Programs Division Chief for G-3/5/7 Force Management, Headquarters, Department of the Army in Washington, District of Columbia. Prior to that position, he was the Ministerial Advisory Group – Defense, Chief of Staff in Kabul, Afghanistan.

He has served in a variety of Armor and Force Management assignments. These assignments include 1-37 Armor, 3rd Infantry Division, later re-flagged to 1-63 Armor, 1st Infantry Division in Vilseck, Germany; 2-72 Armor, 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey, Korea; G-3 Force Management, US Army Central Command at Fort McPherson, Georgia; G-3 Force Management, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia; G-8 Force Development, Headquarters, Department of the Army in Washington, District of Columbia; and, G-3 Force Management, US Army Pacific Command at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

Colonel Turner’s deployments include OPERATION ABLE SENTRY in Macedonia; OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM in Iraq; OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan; and, OPERATION FREEDOM’S SENTINEL in Afghanistan.

Colonel Turner was commissioned as an Armor Second Lieutenant. When he was promoted to Major, he was selected as a Functional Area 50 Force Manager.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from The College of William and Mary, Virginia; a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia; and, a Master of Strategic Studies from the US Army War College, Pennsylvania.

Colonel Turner’s military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and Parachutist Badge.

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