Col. Eric D. Little is currently the Deputy Commander for Operations at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. | Photo courtesy WSMR
White Sands Missile Range, N.M. – As White Sands Missile Range Commander Brig. Gen. David C. Trybula gets ready to exit WSMR, he recalled some of the highlights during his time on post, he touched on some of the challenges faced and talked about the future of WSMR.
Trybula detailed highlights that were accomplished thanks to the extraordinary efforts of all Team White Sands Teammates.
Trybula said he and Jill, his wife, enjoyed being part of the wonderful community that is WSMR.
“Our fondest memories of WSMR will be the incredible people that comprise Team White Sands and the extraordinary support from key individuals across the region that enable Team White Sands each and every day. It is through the unification of these efforts that we maintained our humanity during COVID while safely accomplishing our national security mission, ensuring that we are ‘Testing the Future, Changing the World”! This is a testament to the tireless efforts, dedication, and discipline of each and every teammate across Team White Sands.”
“Few people have such a high stake in national security as the service members, civilians, contractors, and families at White Sands Missile
Range,” Trybula said.
“The stakes are ensuring our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Guardians are equipped with nothing less than weaponry and technology that is fully certified and tested before being placed in their hands. Their lives and the security of our Nation depend on it.”
During his time at WSMR, the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Space Force, and NASA tested a great many systems to support readiness today and tomorrow, accelerating the momentum of the largest modernization effort by the Army in a generation.
He highlighted the Integrated Battle Command System Limited User Test; the operational assessment of the Initial Maneuver Short Range Air Defense System; NASA’s Commercial Crew Transport System, developmental testing of the Precision Strike Missile, Navy’s rail gun, and Air Force munitions; activation of the Army’s first two Iron Dome Air Defense Batteries; the annual Positioning, Navigation and Timing Assessment Exercise; and a plethora of stockpile reliability tests.
Trybula praised Team White Sands Teammates stating “the result of these efforts increased the lethality, maneuverability, and survivability of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardians.”
While the first thing that comes to mind when WSMR is mentioned is testing, Trybula was clear that the contributions to national security are much more.
“Just a few miles down the road is our sister Service and neighbor Holloman Air Force Base with whom we share a common border and long running relationships. This partnership has enabled Holloman’s role as the premier training site for F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots, and for MQ-9 Reaper pilots and sensor operators.”
As for the future and our way ahead, Trybula said WSMR is the critical crossroads for national security modernization – WSMR is where we are ‘Testing the Future, Changing the World’.
“Multi Domain Operations (MDO) is changing how the Army and Joint Force fight and WSMR is a cornerstone in testing, experimenting, and training for MDO. We saw this with the Air Battle Management System 2 live fire last summer and will see it again this fall with Project Convergence 21. The importance of and the demand for WSMR will only grow over the next decade as our Nation’s need to both test and train in ever more realistic environments increases.”
Trybula’s next assignment is as Deputy Commanding General, Combat Capabilities Development Directorate; and senior commander, Natick Soldier Systems Center, U.S. Army Futures Command, Natick, Massachusetts.
Replacing Trybula is Col. Eric D. Little, who is currently the Deputy Commander for Operations at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.
“Col. Little is the absolute right choice to lead White Sands Missile Range forward,” Trybula said. “I leave knowing the critical testing here will continue and White Sands will continue ‘Testing the Future, Changing the World!'”
Little received his commission in 1993 through ROTC at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Commissioned as an aviation officer, he completed the Initial Entry Rotary Wing and Aviation Officer Basic Courses in June 1994 and was assigned to 1st Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment at Camp Coiner and Seoul Air Base, Republic of Korea, where he served as battalion assistant S-4 and a UH-1 platoon leader.
Upon completion of the UH-60 Qualification Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in 1995, he was assigned to 4th Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) as a UH-60 platoon leader, POL platoon leader, and assistant S-3.
In 1998, he attended the Aviation Officer Advanced Course at Fort Rucker followed by assignment to 3-58th Aviation Regiment (ATS) in Wiesbaden, Germany, with duties as assistant S-3 and battalion S-1. COL Little then assumed command of C Company, 5-158th Aviation Regiment in Giebelstadt, Germany, in 2000.
Upon completion of command, he was assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado, as the deputy G-3 Air for the 7th Infantry Division. In 2002, he assumed command of Stetson Troop, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, deploying the troop to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
Returning from Iraq, Little was assigned to Fort Carson as the G-3 Air for the 7th Infantry Division. In 2005, he transitioned to USASMDC/ARSTRAT with a primary duty to stand up the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, and later served as the J37 for that command.
In 2006, he moved to Quantico, Virginia, as a student at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Upon completion, Little was
accepted as a Functional Area 40, space operations officer. He completed the Space Operations Officer Qualification course in late 2007 and returned to Colorado Springs with an assignment to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, serving in the 1st Space Battalion as an Army Space Support Team leader and later as commander, 1st Space Company. He then served as executive officer to the deputy commanding general, USASMDC/ARSTRAT.
In 2010, Little deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, as the deputy director of Space Forces, U.S. Central Command. In 2011, he returned to Peterson AFB for a six-month assignment to the G33, USASMDC/ARSTRAT. He then attended the Joint Forces Staff College enroute to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, with duty at the Joint Navigation Warfare Center, U.S. Strategic Command.
In 2014, he attended the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, with subsequent assignment to U.S. Army Pacific as the director, Strategic Programs Division where he was responsible for Space, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities, and Special Technical Operations.
In July 2018 he assumed command of the 1st Space Brigade at Fort Carson, Colorado. He became USASDMC’s deputy commander for operations in July 2020.
Little earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Colorado, a Master of Arts in public administration from Bowie State University, a Masters of Military Studies from the Marine Corps University, and a Master of Arts in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the Joint Forces Staff College, the Space 300 Course, the Space Operations Officer Qualification Course, and the Combined Arms Service Staff School.
His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal (one oak leaf cluster), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (three oak leaf clusters), the Air Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Senior Aviator Badge, the Master Space Badge, the Air Assault Badge and the Parachutist Badge. He is qualified in the UH-1, OH-58, and UH-60 aircraft.
A Change of Command ceremony is scheduled for May 20. Invitations will be sent out for the small gathering. The ceremony will be livestreamed and can be watched via WSMR’s Facebook page.