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USAACE welcomes new Aviation Branch CSM

Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory M. Chambers accepts the Army Aviation Branch Colors from Maj. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, as he assumes responsibility as Branch CSM from Command Sgt. Maj. Eric C. Thom at a ceremony March 24. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory M. Chambers accepts the Army Aviation Branch Colors from Maj. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, as he assumes responsibility as Branch CSM from Command Sgt. Maj. Eric C. Thom at a ceremony March 24. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: March 31, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 31, 2016) -- The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence conducted a formal change of responsibility for its senior enlisted leader in a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum on Fort Rucker March 24.

Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, community members, family and friends gathered to bid farewell to outgoing command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Eric C. Thom, and to welcome Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory M. Chambers as the new Branch CSM.

Maj. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, hosted the ceremony, and in his opening remarks he acknowledged the mixed emotions in the room.

“It’s always a somber occasion when we change responsibility … because we’re saying goodbye to a great Army leader and great Army family, but it’s also a joyous occasion because we’re welcoming a new team,” Lundy said.

The Aviation Branch CSM is responsible for the welfare and standards of Army Aviation Soldiers, and serves as the primary adviser to the commanding general on all matters pertaining to Aviation Soldiers and NCOs, including training and leader development, that impact readiness across the Branch and the Army.

As the audience looked on, the Army Aviation Branch Colors were passed from Thom to Lundy to Chambers, symbolizing the transfer of responsibility and authority from the outgoing to the incoming command sergeant major.

Lundy welcomed Chambers, along with his family, who arrived at Fort Rucker from his previous assignment as CSM of the U. S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Lundy said he felt confident Chambers will take the Branch to new heights.

Chambers acknowledged the support of his wife, Rebecca, and sons Dylan, 14, and Ryan, 8, who were in the audience, and thanked Lundy for the opportunity to serve as the branch CSM.

“I am honored and humbled to assume this very responsible position, and will do my best to take care and lead our enlisted force in this vital and lethal arm of the combined arms team,” Chambers said.

Chambers urged Soldiers to remember Army Aviation’s purpose, to support the commanders and Soldiers on the ground.

“They trust us to get it right every time, and in our business that trust has to be with every Soldier, NCO and officer that flies, maintains, controls and trains personnel that touch our aircraft,” Chambers said.

Chambers served in various leadership positions in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), including as CSM, 4-160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Fort Lewis, Washington; as CSM for Task Force 1-160th SOAR (Abn.) and regimental CSM, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

His previous assignments include 3-123rd Aviation Regiment, Fort Ord, California; 2-2nd Aviation Regiment in South Korea; and 765th Transportation Battalion at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Lundy praised Thom for two years of leading by example during a time when the Army and the Branch faced challenges, and for leaving the Branch in a better place. He commended Thom’s wife, Sam, for her volunteerism and support to families.

“Eric Thom never forgets about Soldiers and never lets any other leader around him forget about Soldiers, and that’s what sergeant majors do,” Lundy said.  “Thanks for being my right-hand man, thanks for being that confidante that could always be there and most importantly thanks for taking care of our Soldiers. We’re going to miss both of you.”

Thom lauded his comrades as a “great team” of sergeants major who serve as the “backbone of the enterprise.”

“Anything good for Aviation that happened during my tenure here had their fingerprints all over it,” Thom said.

Thom’s next assignment is the Chief of the Sergeant Major/ Command Sergeant Major Branch, Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

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