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U.S. Army Soldier & Biological Chemical Command
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: August 8, 2001
No: 01-46

Soldier Systems Center welcomes new commander

Natick, MA -- The Soldier Systems Center, known locally as Natick Labs, welcomed the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command's (SBCCOM) new deputy for acquisition and readiness, and Soldier Systems Center commander during a change of responsibility ceremony in front of the Administrative Building Aug. 6.

Col. James Kennon, who has been selected for promotion to brigadier general, accepted the charter for deputy of acquisition and readiness from Maj. Gen. John Doesburg, SBCCOM commander. At the same event, outgoing deputy for acquisition and readiness Brig. Gen. Philip Mattox retired after serving 31 years in the Army, the last 13 months at Natick.

Kennon entered the Army in 1969, serving eight years as a noncommissioned officer and chief warrant officer before becoming commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1978. He and his wife, Hazel, moved to Natick from his latest assignment in Fort Lee, Va., where he was chief of staff at the Combined Arms Support Command.

"Both Hazel and I are excited to be here," Kennon said. "My personal motto is 'All my heroes are soldiers.' You can count on us supporting the soldier."

Doesburg said Kennon is someone who has served the Army as a follower and a leader, and has an impressive record.

"I can't say enough about his credentials. He's a soldier who came through the ranks and came here to make a difference," Doesburg said. "He'll continue the legacy of Natick, Mass."

The event was also a farewell for Mattox. Doesburg presented him with the Distinguished Service Medal for his time in service, a framed map of the United States with SBCCOM locations and their coins, retirement certificate and glass-encased honorary retirement flag.

Doesburg also presented Carol Mattox with the commander's award for her service to the community as an Army spouse.

"He came in at a time when there was change," Doesburg said. "We needed his insight and vision and dedication to change so we as a team can benefit our soldiers and warfighters."

Mattox thanked all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines for their sense of duty and quality of work they accomplish daily. He also thanked the leadership and the work accomplished here in the past year.

"Carol and I have had so much fun in New England. It's been a great ride," he said, while giving regard to Kennon. "James is an immensely talented officer. He brings fresh eyes and ideas that are helpful. We welcome you with open arms. You're going to enjoy it."

Natick is part of the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM). For more information about SBCCOM or the Soldier Systems Center (Natick), please visit our website at