Military Matters: Big Shoes To Fill For New 10th CAB Commander
A new man is now in charge of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Colonel Pedro Almeida handed over the brigade's colors - symbolically handing over the reins - to Colonel David Francis in a change-of-command ceremony this week.
The outgoing commander will now head to Italy to be chief of staff for U.S. Africa Command.
"It's been an honor and a privilege to carry the responsibility of command of this brigade," Almeida said.
Almeida had been the 10th CAB's commander for more than two and a half years.
In the 12 months the brigade was deployed to Afghanistan under his leadership, 10th CAB soldiers flew 31,000 missions.
"This unit is in fact, the best combat aviation brigade in the United States Army," said 10th Mountain Division Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Milley, "and Colonel Almeida - Pedro - clearly demonstrated exceptional leadership."
That's left incoming commander Colonel David Francis with some pretty big shoes to fill.
"There are always challenges associated with command," Francis said. "Continuing to maintain the legacy of this brigade will always be a challenge, because the bar is already set so high."
It's a lot of responsibility, but he knows he can handle it.
"I've spent 23 years getting ready for this job," he said. "I'm ready to go."
And, he says, so is his new brigade. Although no deployment date has been announced, the 10th CAB has been ramping up to head back to Afghanistan whenever it gets the call.
"Our mission is to be ready," he said, "and we never stop training to be ready for the next mission."
No doubt, the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade will continue to climb to glory - and fly to glory - with its new leader at the helm.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013, Watertown, NY