NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodBell County


Executive director who designed, tested gear for U.S. Army retires after 40 years

Posted at 8:19 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 21:19:16-05

KILLEEN, Texas — If you served in the U.S. Army in the past 40 years, odds are the gear you used was either designed or tested by John Diem and his team at Operational Test Command.

”I’ve been in the Army about 31 years and Mr. Diem has been part of either the actual testing of or overseeing of most of the equipment that I have used in my military career,” said William A. Justice, former command sergeant major of OTC.

From his work on tanks and the Apache helicopters to small arms and state-of-the-art communications technology, Diem has made sure that soldiers have the best and safest gear out there.

”I have gotten to be part of testing everything from networks to rockets and tanks. Pretty much everything that went to a soldier, I got to be part of it,” said John Diem, Retiring Executive Director of U.S. Army Operational Test Command.

Those who have served in combat over the last few decades have seen the effects of Diem’s work on the battlefield.

”I would say that no doubt, his work has led to the accomplishment of many missions and saved many lives.” said Justice.

With big shoes to fill, Diem has some advice for his replacement.

”Love this job. Your mission is unlike any other. It is the best job in the Army...” said Diem.

From his OTC team to the folks he worked with at A&M Central Texas, everyone's got a message.

”You have been one of the finest people I have known in my time in the Army and I appreciate everything you have done from me and my wife,” said Justice.

”John, we wish well in your retirement and thank you for everything you have done,” said Russ Porter, VP of Research at Texas A&M Central Texas.

”We wish him well but if he thinks he has gotten rid of us, he’s mistaken," said Marc Nigliazzo, President of Texas A&M Central Texas.

Deem is retiring from OTC but his research and dedication will continue as he moves on to be part of the legacy at Texas A&M University.