Combat Aviation Prepares for Balancing Act
August 15, 2008
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- An overcast August morning proved to be the perfect backdrop to say goodbye to one commander and to welcome another during a change of command and reflagging ceremony on Hunter Army Airfield, Aug. 8.
In addition to the change of command ceremony, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment reflagged to become the First Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment to mark their reassignment from the 3rd Infantry Division to the 10th Mountain Division.
The unit is scheduled to deploy to Iraq in October and be assigned to Task Force Lightning. Following their return from Iraq, the battalion and their more than 400 Soldiers and 24 AH-64D Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters will move to Fort Drum, N.Y., home of the 10th Mountain Division. In turn, the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry will take 3/3 Aviation's place as part of the 3rd Infantry Division.
Lt. Col. Michael Corson, 3-3 Aviation, said a sad but proud goodbye to the Tigershark Soldiers and Families.
Corson spent the past two years as the commander of 3/3 Aviation in the only job he said he ever wanted in the Army.
"I don't feel a great deal of joy," Corson said about leaving the battalion. "I am seeing a battalion that I was with for two years go off shortly to Iraq and do the mission our nation is asking us to do. I had a part in that and I am very proud of this battalion."
The transformation will aid in balancing the bases. Instead of there being a disparity of heavy and light brigades both in the 3rd and 10th divisions, respectively, aviation brigades will be weighted differently to reflect medium combat aviation brigades. He said the swap should not change what the 10th CAB at Fort Drum is accomplishing now.
"They already have another Kiowa squadron," said Corson. "It's a lighter aircraft and probably has a better use in urban areas (such as Iraq). When we add the Apache battalion to the brigade it will give us a little more flight time and a little more power."
Incoming Commander Lt. Col. Michael Slocum is impressed and said he is looking forward to being a part of the Tigershark Family and promised he and his wife Kim will give 100 percent to the Soldiers and the Families of the 1/10 Avn.
"The team is set and together we will support each other both here and abroad," Slocum said. "The most impressive thing that I have heard about this battalion is how good the Soldiers, NCOs and warrant officers are.
Their commitment to excellence, devotion to duty, and can-do attitude precede them."
With the transition, Corson said the Families are more than likely focused on the deployment.
"I think it's like eating an elephant," said Corson about moving. "You have to eat one bite at a time."
Corson and his Family will move to settle down in Virginia, and he in turn is preparing for an unaccompanied 12-month assignment to Saudi Arabia.