STORCK BARRACKS, Illesheim, Germany - After a nine month rotation, the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division officially transferred authority to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division on Friday November 1, 2019.
The cold November morning marked the 5th iteration of the Rotational Air Forces mission for Atlantic Resolve. Since April 2014, U.S. Army Europe has led the Department of Defense's Atlantic Resolve land efforts by bringing units based in the U.S. to Europe for nine month rotations. The mission allows U.S. Army units to train and integrate with European counterparts across the continent, while also deterring adversarial aggression.
Distinguished guests from across Germany and Eastern Europe were in attendance as the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade lowered its colors. Simultaneously, the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade raised their unit colors signifying the assumption of the Atlantic Resolve mission.
Throughout the rotation, the 1st CAB succeeded in strengthening existing partnerships and building new ones across the continent. "We participated in nine major exercises across Europe, while supporting 21 different nations. We flew over 14,000 hours, drove 144,000 miles, and transported 8,000 people on our aircraft, including congressional delegations, senior U.S. military leaders and top level officials from our NATO allies," said Col. Bryan Chivers, commander of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. "Although the measurable impacts are great, the non-quantifiable impacts are even greater... a lasting peace and stability throughout Europe."
Chivers added that 1st CAB Soldiers' hard work and dedication made for a successful mission and contributed to long lasting partnerships between the U.S. and NATO allies. "I am extremely proud of all they have done for this mission, and all they have done for the United States of America, and the NATO alliance."
In addition to all of the training, the 1st CAB supported the historic D-Day 75 events in France. Chivers called it a "truly humbling experience," as soldiers from the brigade were able to participate in ceremonies and interact with World War II veterans.
With 1st CAB's list of distinguished European accomplishments, 3rd CAB arrives ready to carry on the historic mission. "3rd Combat Aviation Brigade has trained hard and long in preparation for this operation," said Col. Michael McFadden, commander of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. "The Marne Air team stands ready to assure our allies, deter aggression, build allied and partnered interoperability, and continue to build readiness of the 3rd CAB."
As the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade departs, the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade begins another chapter in the Marne Division's European story... a story that began nearly 100 years ago on the fields of France.