FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- The 2916th Aviation Battalion, 916th Support Brigade, conducted a change of command ceremony here, July 24.
Lieutenant Col. William Garber III took command of the 2916th after receiving the unit colors from 916th Commander Col. Matthew Ruedi. Outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Fernando Guadalupe, bid farewell to the organization he led for two years.
Garber arrives from an assignment as Joint Operations Center commander and deputy director of operations for Joint Special Operations Command. During his remarks, he thanked leadership and the Soldiers of the 2916th standing in a formation on the helipad.
"We have a challenging two years ahead of us and I'm looking forward to tackling all of them with you," Garber said in reference to his role here.
Ruedi described the 2916th as a unique unit in the Army, being the only active duty aviation battalion in the service composed purely of UH-72 Lakota helicopters.
"The mission is to support the National Training Center at Fort Irwin with general aviation support and air medical evacuation," Ruedi said. "They also provide full spectrum aviation operations during rotational unit training along with mission command for Bicycle Lake Army Airfield and professional management oversight of aviation contract maintenance."
Ruedi praised Guadalupe and his wife Ivette for their leadership with the unit.
"They truly set the example as expert and caring professionals and their accomplishments are long and obvious through 18 NTC rotations and 24/7 operations," Ruedi said.
Guadalupe expressed his appreciation for the people in the organization he commanded.
"To the Soldiers, civilians, contractors, families of 2916th Aviation Battalion -- it has been my honor and privilege to serve each of you as your commander," Guadalupe said. "Thank you for allowing Ivette and myself to be part of your lives. You have enriched our lives and made these two years in the desert absolutely exceptional for us."