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Plant 42 changes leadership

Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, 412th Test Wing Commander, transfers leadership of Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 to Dr. David Smith during a Change of Leadership Ceremony at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, 412th Test Wing Commander, transfers leadership of Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 to Dr. David Smith during a Change of Leadership Ceremony at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Dr. David Smith, Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 Director, provides his remarks following a Change of Leadership Ceremony at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Dr. David Smith, Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 Director, provides his remarks following a Change of Leadership Ceremony at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, the 412th Test Wing Commander, Col. Dwayne Robison, the outgoing Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 Director, and incoming Director Dr. David Smith stand at attention during a Change of Leadership Ceremony at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, the 412th Test Wing Commander, Col. Dwayne Robison, the outgoing Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 Director, and incoming Director Dr. David Smith stand at attention during a Change of Leadership Ceremony at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Col. Dwayne Robison, the outgoing Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 Director, provides his remarks during a Change of Leadership Ceremony between Robison and Dr. David Smith at Plant 42, in Palmdale, California, July 1. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Col. Dwayne Robison, the outgoing Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 Director, provides his remarks during a Change of Leadership Ceremony between Robison and Dr. David Smith at Plant 42, in Palmdale, California, July 1. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, 412th Test Wing Commander, provides remarks during a Change of Leadership Ceremony between Col. Dwayne Robison and Dr. David Smith at Operating Location Air Force Plant 42, in Palmdale, California, July 1. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, 412th Test Wing Commander, provides remarks during a Change of Leadership Ceremony between Col. Dwayne Robison and Dr. David Smith at Operating Location Air Force Plant 42, in Palmdale, California, July 1. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, California --

Air Force Operating Location Air Force Plant 42 changed leadership hands during a Change of Leadership Ceremony at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, July 1.

Col. Dwayne Robison relinquished leadership to Dr. David Smith in a ceremony presided over by Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, the 412th TW Commander.

“The image I want all of you to see in your brains…is that image of an amazingly strong human; strong in mind, strong in body and strong in heart, and in this case, an amazingly strong senior leader as well, that’s critically holding the weight of his duty on his shoulders,” Higer said about Robison.

During his time as the Plant 42 director, Robison led a multi-functional team supporting more than 8,500 contractor and government personnel providing airfield operations, security, law enforcement, fire protection, communications, logistics and civil engineering services to a 5,832-acre, government-owned, contractor-operated business and industrial complex.

Plant 42 has played a significant role in the history of the Aerospace Valley. The sprawling facility is home to the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works division and the birthplace of notable aircraft such as the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, and where Northrop Grumman is currently manufacturing the nation’s next generation stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider. All of the NASA’s space shuttle orbiters were also built at the plant.

Prior to being named director of Plant 42, Smith had previously served as the Installation Support Director at Edwards AFB. Smith has had a long and storied career with the 412th TW, Edwards and the Air Force where started as a B-52 Stratofortress navigator and later on as a civilian. He has even served as a Regimental Air Liaison Officer attached to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California.

He recalled, that as a child, he dreamt about being a part of the Aerospace Testing Universe, and now with his new assignment as Plant 42 director, he said it was “absolutely humbling.”
“I’m humbled to back-fill an outstanding leader in Col. Robison,” he said. “I’m excited about this opportunity because I stand on the shoulders of giants.”