FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 20, 2013) -- A centuries-old tradition was carried out on Howze Field in a change of command ceremony for the 1st Aviation Brigade June 14.

Col. Brian D. Bennett relinquished command to Col. Shawn Prickett under an overcast sky with Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, serving as the reviewing officer.

In his remarks, Mangum lauded Bennett's performance as commander of the Golden Hawks brigade.

"Today, unfortunately we must bid farewell to a great Soldier, warrior, leader, coach and commander who served as the standard bearer for the past two years, leading by his very quiet and competent example," said Mangum. "(Bennett) made significant and lasting changes to our programs, ensuring we reap maximum benefit from every training dollar we spend. His body of work resulted in well-trained well-prepared Soldiers."

Bennett thanked members of his former unit for their dedication and service.

"For two years it's been a privilege to walk among this stalwart group of leaders and mentors charged with forming the next generation of Aviation Soldiers," said Bennett. "Every day has been a reminder that leadership and leaders matter. "

Bennett will move on to serve as the chief of staff for Combined Security Transition Command -- Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Prickett said he is "honored, humbled and proud to take charge" of the brigade. He added that as a result of Bennett's service, there's "little room for improvement."

Prickett, a Morgantown, W.Va. native, is a United States Military Academy graduate. He was commissioned as an Aviation officer in 1991. Prickett is a Senior Army Aviator who has served in numerous assignments, including duties at Fort Polk, La., and Fort Hood, Texas, and assignments with special operations in South Korea. Most recently, he served as the director of training and doctrine at the USAACE.

The 1st Aviation Brigade is responsible for managing commissioned and warrant officers in flight and unmanned aircraft system training, and providing administration and logistics support for Soldiers in training. The unit's storied history stems from conflict in Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf. One of the unit's three battalions is located at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and the other two are at Fort Rucker.