FORT RUCKER, Ala.--The 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment's Chieng (Great Bronze Gong) echoed at the commencement of the May 14 change of command ceremony where Lt. Col. Mikael R. Ash assumed command from Lt. Col. Allan M. Pepin of the largest battalion in the Army with about 2,500 Soldiers.

Ash is now responsible for 1st Bn.145th Avn. Regt., which was first activated on the battlefields of the Vietnam War and whose mission is to conduct Soldier Professional Military Education, Leader Development and Special Skills training to develop disciplined and competent warriors.
This unit also provides 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band and Funeral Detail Honor support to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker.

According to Col. Richard M. Beckinger, 1st Aviation Brigade commander and host commander of the day's ceremony, there could have not been a better qualified officer selected to lead the 'Old Warriors' in continued success.

"Lt. Col. Mike Ash, your professional attributes and challenging prior assignments of Fort Bragg, Bosnia and Iraq have clearly prepared you for this command," Beckinger said. "I challenge you to build on the success that Al and his team have accomplished in taking 'Old Warriors' to a greater height for our Soldiers."

An excited Ash approached the podium and told Soldiers how he felt about the newly accomplished milestone during the May 14 ceremony.

"I look forward to the road ahead of us and our command time together," he said.
Though Pepin closed the Fort Rucker chapter of his military career for now, he moves forward to support and defend the nation as the commander of the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Fort Campbell, Ky.

Praises of Pepin's success as the battalion's now former commander could be heard during Beckinger's remarks.

"Al, you should be justifiably proud of your many accomplishments," he said. "You have created a team and environment that produces the best Aviation warfighting officers and leaders in the world."