ILLESHEIM, Germany -- The 3rd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, officially cased its colors here, Tuesday, June 23, 2015, in preparation for its relocation to Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

The battalion will reform as the first attack reconnaissance battalion permanently assigned to Alaska.

"Today's ceremony represents a historical time period. For two decades this organization has been represented across the entire world with the stamp of Storck Barracks, Illesheim, Germany. They have done it in Afghanistan and Iraq, across Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean, and for that, we are celebrating today," said Lt. Col. John H. Cochran, the battalion commander.

The 12th CAB is currently restructuring 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.

"The Quick Strike Soldiers standing before us today have many accolades to their credit," said Vincent H. Torza, commander of 12th CAB. "The execution of the many and varied tasks associated with the deployment (to Kuwait and Iraq) and the subsequent flawless redeployment are a testament to the excellence of the Soldiers and leaders of this battalion."

Maintaining a strong Army is vital to U.S. national interest. For more than 150 years, Alaska has been regarded as the most important strategic military location in the world.

"So to my Soldiers, remember, you are the legacy, you are the future, and we look forward to all the great things you're going to accomplish," concluded Cochran.

The 3rd Bn., 159th Avn. Regt., has been an effective entity within the 12th CAB, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The flexibility and resilience of the battalion during the height of the Iraq war characterized the 3rd Bn., 159th Avn. Regt., as a steadfast unit. In 2012, the battalion deployed to Kuwait for the first time in support of Operation Spartan Shield. The unit was the aviation contingency force for all of U.S. Army Central Command area of operations.