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New command team assumes lead of Aviation, USAACE, Fort Rucker

Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center commanding general, passes the colors to Brig. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, during a Change of Command and change of responsibility ceremony on Howze Field March 20. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center commanding general, passes the colors to Brig. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, during a Change of Command and change of responsibility ceremony on Howze Field March 20. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

The incoming and outgoing command teams, along with Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown (center), U.S. Combat Arms Center commanding general, salute during the ceremony. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

The incoming and outgoing command teams, along with Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown (center), U.S. Combat Arms Center commanding general, salute during the ceremony. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: March 28, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 28, 2014) -- Hundreds of Soldiers stood in formation as members of the Fort Rucker and Wiregrass communities looked on to welcome a new command team to the installation.

Brig. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, assumed command from Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric C. Thom, Aviation Branch command sergeant major, assumed responsibly from Command Sgt. Maj. James H. Thomson Jr. during a change of command and change of responsibility ceremony on Howze Field March 20.

Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center commanding general, was on hand to welcome the new command team and express his confidence in and provide his support to their leadership.

“I will tell you there is a wealth of operational combat experience between both of these leaders,” he said during the ceremony. “They have incredible vision and key attributes that are going to make a huge difference here and across our Army.

“These attributes will serve the Army Aviation community well as they take the reins of this extraordinary command,” he continued. “I know that (they) will build up the tremendous momentum generated by the previous command team, and lead the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker brilliantly while continuing to strengthen the great relationship with the community that already existed.”

Lundy comes to Fort Rucker from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he served as the deputy commander for the Combined Arms Center.

“He’s the smartest guy in the Army on training and he set standards there that are going to be tough to match,” said Brown. “He’s had an absolutely huge impact on the force, and he’s perfect to come to a center of excellence where he can use that knowledge of training to help train the next generation.”

Lundy began his military career when he was commissioned as an Aviation second lieutenant in 1987 from McNeese State University. From there, he completed his Basic Rotary Wing Training and the OH-58D transition.

He’s served in many leadership positions across multiple continents, including as a company executive officer and platoon leader in Giebelstadt, Germany, and has served in multiple deployments, including Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield while attached to the 4th Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

“(My Family) is truly honored and humbled … to be joined by this great team. This is truly a team of professionals fully focused on producing the best Aviation force in the world,” said Lundy. “This is a team of professionals who know we have to be good stewards and great neighbors because the American people expect us to.”

Thom comes to Fort Rucker after serving in the Pentagon as the Headquarters Department of the Army G3/5/7 Aviation Directorate sergeant major.

“Perhaps this is why he’s smiling so much,” joked the lieutenant general. “By virtue of where these men are today, however, they proved a long time ago their investment in the Army, and what we do every single day for our Soldiers and our nation, but more importantly for what we stand for.”

Thom entered the Army as a cannon crew member, and has held many leadership positions across multiple countries, including deployments to Honduras, Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea. He’s served as the command sergeant major for 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry, Task Force Pale Horse, as well as the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Thunder.

“I’m both humbled and honored to have been selected as the Branch command sergeant major, but getting here is just the beginning,” he said. “The real accomplishment is building the team and working through all the challenges that arise when you get here.

“I want everyone here to remember that this is our Branch,” Thom continued. “I don’t care if you’re a Soldier or civilian, a private or a colonel – we are Army Aviation. We are part of this team – something larger than ourselves – and everyone on this team has a job to do.”

As Mangum gave his thanks and final goodbyes, he also expressed his confidence in the new command team.

“I’m thrilled to relinquish command to Brigadier General Mike Lundy. Renown across our Army and Army Aviation, Mike and Paula are just the right leaders at just the right time to take this great post and this magnificent team of Army Aviation to the next level,” he said. “To command Sergeant Major Eric Thom, you and Samantha are the perfect fit to fill the Thomson’s very big shoes. I know you’ll make a huge difference in the lives of our Soldiers and their Families.

“Angel and I wish you the very best, and hope you enjoy your adventure here as much as we did,” he said to the new command team. “I did my best to leave (my foxhole) better than I found it.”

Mangum will go on to serve as deputy commanding general and chief of staff for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va ., and has been selected for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/122808/

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