FORT HOOD, Texas - The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, and four of its battalions changed command, here, July 7.

Col. Douglas Gabram, of Cleveland, who commanded the 1st ACB for over two years, with a year-long deployment to Iraq, relinquished command to Col. John Novalis II, from Williamsport, Pa., on Cooper Field in front of the 1st Cav. Div. headquarters building.

Gabram led the 1st ACB on a deployment to Iraq where they conducted combat operations in support of their ground brethren and during two volatile stages of the mission - the troop drawdown and the first election led by a sovereign Iraq.

During his address, Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, commander, 1st Cav. Div., lauded Gabram and his team for a job well done - especially for their work in Iraq.

"During your (1st ACB's) deployment to Iraq ... your actions were truly impressive. And your individual and collective accomplishments - simply awe-inspiring," said Allyn.

"Doug (Gabram), although your possessions where many, your aircraft powerful, [your] position a great one, and the prestige that came with all that - high indeed, you've aptly led the "Warriors: and poured greatness in the organization with humility, a focus on service and quality characteristics that held true to our Army Values and the Warrior Ethos," he said.

Although Allyn had a multitude of kind words for the outgoing commander, Gabram insisted it was the team that brought success to the 1st ACB over the past two years, not his efforts alone.

"Maybe the most important thing you did was build teams that others wanted to be part of. And you did it all with style and pride," said Gabram to his former battalion commanders.

"When the big "First Team" patch, painted on the front of the aircraft, landed in the [landing zone], you knew it was done right, with high standards and discipline," Gabram said. "And our enemies did know, and will continue to know, if they run they're going to die tired."

Gabram's next assignment will lead him to Washington, D.C., where he will be the executive officer to Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.

Novalis comes to the 1st ACB directly from the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., and is eager, yet humbled, to lead the historic Air Cav.

"There is no higher honor than to command Soldiers, especially while we, our nation, are at war," said Novalis.

"I'm humbled and excited for this opportunity. I'm truly proud to wear this uniform and the "First Team" patch," he added.

Novalis had a message specifically for his Air Cav Soldiers before he ended his remarks.

"To the Soldiers of the Air Cav Brigade, I will make you one promise. I will lead you with passion and give a hundred percent effort each and every day. You look great and you all represent the finest collection of aviation warriors the Army has - war fighters second to none," Novalis said.

The following battalion commanders and command sergeants major also changed command:

Lt. Col. Charles Dalcourt, commander, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Douglas Brockhard. Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Smoots took over responsibility of 1-227th from Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Soliz.

Lt. Col. Ralph Litscher, commander, 2nd General Support Aviation Bn., 227th Avn. Regt., 1st ACB, relinquished command to Lt. Col. William Huff. Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Soliz took over responsibility of 2-227th from Command Sgt. Maj. Dwight Altheide.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Metzger, commander, 3rd Assault Helicopter Bn., 227th Avn. Regt., 1st ACB, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Blake Alexander.

Lt. Col. Randall Haws, commander, 4th Attack Reconnaissance Bn., 227th Avn. Regt., 1st ACB, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Jeff White.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16