REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The Program Executive Office for Aviation changed leadership during a change of charter ceremony Jan. 24.

Maj. Gen. William "Tim" Crosby relinquished the charter to Brig. Gen. Bob Marion, who was promoted in a ceremony earlier in the morning. Crosby, who served as PEO for Aviation since 2008, retired today after almost 35 years of military service. The Honorable Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, presided over both ceremonies.

"We have marked changes of leadership with ceremonies to pay tribute to the outgoing leader and impress upon the new leader," said Shyu during the ceremony. "He must build on the legacy of his predecessors' achievements and lead his team through these turbulent times."

Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade increased the demand for aviation assets and made it clear that Army aviation is the critical enabler in the battlefield. Shyu recognized Crosby for his determined leadership over the years, emphasizing that it is because of his guidance that there is a solid trust and inseparable link between Army aviation and the ground forces they support.

"Our aviation systems are the most admired in the world. Everybody wants what we have," said Shyu.

During Crosby's tenure, the Army fielded approximately 1,070 rotary wing aircraft and 3,070 Unmanned Aircraft Systems across the services. He championed acquisition streamlining and reform and led the Army's first Soldier-Focused Logistics Management Team, revolutionizing the acquisition process and established a single point of oversight and accountability and presented one face to the Soldier. SFL evolved into what is now known as Life Cycle Management.

"It really boils down to having great people," said Crosby. He attributed the success of PEO Aviation to the workforce, adding, "Soldiers may not know your faces, but they know that they have a product they can trust."

During his tenure, Crosby championed several principal modernization efforts, including the CH-47F Chinook, AH-64E Apache, UH-60M Black Hawk, the unprecedented growth of Army UAS, whose rapid addition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to innovations such as communications relay and the use of manned-unmanned teaming, a revolutionary game changer in the battlefield.

"Tim recognized the need to build into our acquisition strategies the ability to upgrade as technology progresses and led his large, complex portfolio and team with both discipline and a great spirit and humor," said Shyu. "PEO Aviation has the best and most well managed portfolio in the Army. I can always depend on Tim for getting the job done and giving me the unblemished truth of things."

Marion assumed responsibility as the Army's top aviation acquisition officer responsible for purchasing and managing the life cycle of all of the Army's aviation weapon systems and equipment -- rotary wing, fixed wing, and unmanned aircraft systems -- and providing executive level management to more than 3,000 military, government civilian and contractor employees. He is charged with an annual average budget of more than $7.5 billion, the largest procurement budget in the Army.

"Bob is an excellent choice to lead this program executive office and build on its achievements," said Shyu. Shyu came to know Marion well during his most recent assignment as her Assistant Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management. He is also familiar to PEO Aviation, having served most recently as the Project Manager for Cargo Helicopters where he had a number of achievements, including the successful negotiation of the second CH-47F Chinook multi-year contract.

"My commitment is to continue with the tradition of taking care of Soldiers," said Marion. "I promise to bring the same passion and dedication to serving Soldiers and providing thorough analysis in my decision making. You can count on this organization because of the culture Maj. Gen. Crosby has established."

Crosby received several awards during his retirement ceremony, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Order of Saint Michael Gold Award, a congratulatory letter from the commander-in-chief and the Presidential Certificate of Appreciation. He received several letters of appreciation from congressional and state representatives, which were presented to him at his retirement dinner on Jan. 22.

The Program Executive Office for Aviation is the Army manager for eight project offices including: Apache Attack Helicopters, Utility Helicopters, Cargo Helicopters, Armed Scout Helicopters, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Fixed Wing Aircraft, Aviation Systems, and Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aircraft. The organization's primary responsibility is to efficiently and effectively manage cost, schedule and performance of the Army's aviation assets.

Established in 1987, PEO Aviation's top priority is to reduce the burden on the Soldier, enabling the unit commanders to complete their missions successfully, focus on training, and take care of their people.