By Sgt. Thomas MortJune 25, 2015
KATTERBACH, Germany -- The 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, officially cased its colors for the last time, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Hanger Two.
The 3rd Bn., 158th Avn. Regt., 12th CAB, is inactivating as part of the Army Aviation Restructuring Initiative, which is designed to reorganize and reposition aviation assets across the Army. This initiative implements many cost-saving measures and allows the Army to maintain readiness and modernization across the force.
"Today we commemorate the storied history of the battalion spanning over 47 years. From the fields of strife in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, this battalion has been called out to combat and rose to the challenge given by our nation," said Lt. Col. Mark C. Johnson, battalion commander.
The ceremony evoked a mix of emotions from the audience and the Soldiers in formation. Command Sgt. Maj. Paul G. Hutchings, the battalion Command Sergeant Major, put the event into perspective.
"This is something that is part of change, we gotta get used to it in today's Army," said Hutchings. "We're coming out of a war, we're going from an Army at war to an Army of preparedness."
Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Mark C. Johnson, commended the Soldiers and Families of the Stormriders for their hard work and commitment to the unit.
As we depart today, I challenge you, Stormriders, to carry forth the legacy of those who have served before you. Thank you for your service. Wings of Victory! Challenge! Stormriders!" said Johnson.
Sgt. Daniel S. Etheridge, an aviation operation specialist, who is in charge of flight operations within the battalion, spoke about the inactivation from his point of view.
"It's pretty sad to see this unit deactivate. I had some pretty good times with them. They're a really good functional unit. They're all about family and coming back and taking care of each other so it's gonna be really sad to see them go," said Etheridge.
Today's color casing marks the third time that the illustrious unit has been inactivated since its inception in 1968.
The 3rd Bn., 158th Avn. Regt. was constituted July 25, 1968, in the Regular Army as the 158th Aviation Battalion. It was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, and activated at Fort Carson, Colorado. With 12 campaign streamers, the battalion has served with distinction in Vietnam, Cyprus, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Lebanon. Most recently, the battalion deployed to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Italy and the Netherlands.