Spartans continue legacy with new commander
July 18, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 18, 2013) -- The 1st Battalion, 223rd Aviation Regiment received a new commander July 10 at Howze Field when Lt. Col. Todd H. Marshburn assumed command of the Spartan battalion.
Marshburn assumed command from Lt. Col. Demetrios J. Nicholson in a formal ceremony where Nicholson remarked on his time with the winning team and told the new commander to have fun with his new command.
"It's always exciting to hand off the reins to someone with excellent qualifications. He is a great leader and has a great reputation," said Nicholson. "The unit was a great unit before I took command and I know it will continue to be one after today."
Col. Kevin Christensen, commander of 110th Aviation Brigade, said that Nicholson was a natural team builder and it was that strength that defined the success of his command.
"He commanded the most diverse battalion in the 110th Aviation Brigade," he said. "He built a team of professionals … that is simply unmatched in any unit, in any service, anywhere in the world.
"His accomplishments are recognized well beyond those of us in the Wiregrass area," continued Christensen on Nicholson's achievements. "His unit has made a lasting impact on Army Aviation and our continued success in combat that is made possible by the foundation of Aviation flight and leadership skills that was instilled in every single Soldier he trained."
Christensen said that he knows the legacy of Aviation training excellence is in good hands.
"Marshburn is a leader with solid Aviation leadership and flight credentials who will guide this unit forward and will continue to train the best combat Aviators," he said. "I look forward to seeing their accomplishments with what he does with the next generation of combat Aviators who will earn their wings under his command."
Marshburn graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1994 and trained as a UH-60 pilot at Fort Rucker.
He has been deployed across several different continents, to countries including South Korea, Egypt and Iraq, and has held leadership positions such as flight platoon leader, assistant battalion operations officer, battalion logistics officer, battalion intelligence officer and was also an instructor at West Point.
He said that he had been dreaming of taking command of the Spartans since he was in flight school.
"I am honored and privileged to serve with you," he said to his troops. "I can say without hesitation that I share your passion and your enthusiasm. I am truly proud to call myself a Spartan and stand among you."
The challenges and successes of command are not the only things he has been looking forward to.
"The start of flight school is so diverse and has a lot of missions that I have done in my career," said the new commander. "This is a great opportunity to see Fort Rucker from many different angles. I am excited and enthusiastic about this opportunity; I have big shoes to fill. I am glad to be back in Alabama, it is a great place."
Annually, more than 2,700 U.S. and allied military student pilots fly more than 110,000 flight hours in the battalion's 27 graduate and undergraduate programs of instruction.
The battalion's mission is to coordinate and conduct flight instruction and operations at Cairns Army Airfield and Knox Army Heliport to provide the Army and its allied forces with professionally trained CH-47, C-12 and maintenance test pilot Aviators.
Additionally, it conducts initial entry rotary wing contact and instrument training in the TH-67 Creek, while evaluating and performing quality assurance to include instrument flight examiner training, and provides general Aviation and crash rescue support throughout the southeastern U.S.