PEO Aviation welcomed back one of its own to lead the Apache Helicopters Program during a change of charter ceremony November 4 at the Bob Jones Auditorium.Col. Joe Hoecherl assumed responsibility as the Apache Program Project Manager from Col. Jeffery Hager, who served as the program manager the past four years. Maj. Gen. Neil Thurgood, Deputy for Acquisition Systems Management hosted and presided over the event.Before handing over leadership of the project office to Hoecherl, Thurgood addressed the audience of more than 400 people which included several local government officials.As he talked about Hager's accomplishments during his four years as the Apache PM, Thurgood went beyond the materiel aspect of the mission and explained what it meant from an operational perspective. He said the work accomplished through the Apache program was more than the aircraft, itself, but also the Soldiers it supports so they can return home from combat to enjoy life events such as Christmas mornings, baseball games and piano recitals."That meant there was a Soldier on the ground, in contact with the enemy, who had the confidence in the aircraft to make a radio call, and (that) brought a young man or young woman home," Thurgood said, highlighting the team effort it takes to make that happen. "Those aircraft were made by this team, led by that commander, supported by industry partners."Thurgood also said that while the wickets are really important, the character of the leader is what makes organizations successful, and Hager possessed the qualities and character of a great leader.Hager, who assumed PM duties in 2012, said he hit the ground running and hasn't stopped since. From hitting the full-rate production decision his first week, to delivering the first Echo model into combat in Afghanistan, to testing and preparing for version four upgrades, it was the people and the teamwork that enabled the organization to be successful."This Apache change of carter is more about the team than it is about the individual talking to you right now," he said. "The team did everything in a collective manner. I've said that for the last four years, and Joe, I know they'll support you as well."Hoecherl, beginning his third stint with PEO Aviation having served here previously in 2004 and 2011, thanked the aviation leadership for the opportunity to serve and to "return to the PEO Aviation family.""I am honored and humbled by the trust and confidence that the Army has shown by giving me the opportunity and responsibility to lead this organization," he said. "Many of you in the audience have been very instrumental in guiding and leading me in giving me this great honor. My sincere thanks to each of you."Hoecherl enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1984, received his commission in 1992 and began his aviation service as the Assistant S-3 in 1-2nd Aviation Regiment (Attack) at Camp Mobile, Korea.The Apache Program Office is responsible for all duties and functions associated with being the Army's central point of contact for all materiel system matters pertaining to the AH-64.