Capt. Peter K. Smedberg
10th Combat Aviation Brigade PAO
Col. David J. Francis passed the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade’s colors to Col. Michael C. McCurry during a change of command ceremony Thursday at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
Francis took command of the brigade in July 2012, nine months after the unit had returned from a yearlong deployment to Afghan-istan.
During his tenure, the brigade finished fielding the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter, completed High Altitude Mountainous Environment Training in Colorado and numerous other training exercises in other states, and participated in the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. Most recently, the brigade returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XIV.
“The confidence and ability to execute the myriad of missions these Soldiers perform is no accident,” Francis said. “They train hard, and they train to standard.”
Francis will move to Fort Rucker, Ala., to become deputy commander of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, where his son, Zachary, is currently stationed and training to become an Army aviator.
He reminded those in attendance that it was the aviators and Soldiers before them and their many accomplishments that were truly being recognized during the ceremony.
“Yesterday, Brig. Gen. (Michael L.) Howard, (10th Mountain Division (LI) acting senior command-er), asked me what I was most proud of after a tour as a brigade commander in the 10th Mountain Division,” Francis said. “Without a doubt, the answer to that question is that I am most proud of the Soldiers of the 10th CAB.”
McCurry, who served here as an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter troop commander in the 1990s, said he feels great honor to be selected to lead the 10th CAB.
“My Family is returning to the North Country,” McCurry said. “We were here 17 years ago. In fact, our daughters were born here in Watertown, and we will be returning back (to the place) they were born to graduate high school.
“This is really an exciting time for us,” he added.
McCurry noted the U.S. is still involved in conflict overseas.
He said the brigade’s focus now will be resetting its equipment, fielding the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial System and training for its next mission, wherever that may be.
“We are at the tip of the spear,” he said.