FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Aug. 14, 2020) -- The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed Col. Travis L. McIntosh as the new brigade commander and bid farewell to Col. Darrell A. Doremus during a change of command ceremony Aug. 14 at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
Doremus assumed command in June 2018, and recently returned to Fort Drum after leading the Falcon Brigade on a 10-month deployment in support of Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan.
“When I took command 26 months ago, I equated this journey to climbing a mountain,” he said. “I knew to lead this brigade would be the greatest and longest climb I ever had. As a new brigade commander, I inherited a heavy ruck sack, and every pouch was full.”
A ruck filled with multiple training rotations, arms inspections, gunneries and more, Doremus said that he was initially apprehensive of the climb.
“It was truly a daunting and heavy burden, and I did not know if I could do it alone,” he said.
Doremus credited a team of warrant officers, officers and senior enlisted Soldiers for making him a better leader and building a stronger brigade.
“Today, I finally reached the summit, and when I took off the ruck I realized it was empty,” he said. “It was empty because the challenges were completed, and every single Soldier of this brigade worked flawlessly together to help me carry that load.”
Maj. Gen. Brian J. Mennes, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander, spoke at the ceremony via video teleconference from Afghanistan. He thanked Doremus for his leadership and said that the 10th CAB made significant contributions during their recent tour, and that the effects would be long-lasting.
“I just wanted to say how proud I am of how you represented the 10th Mountain Division here,” Mennes said. “You helped transition us in a very difficult time … and helped pave the way for the U.S.-Taliban agreement. We could not have done that without the 10th Mountain Division’s CAB. I just want to say how grateful we are for your service.”
Mennes said that he was excited to welcome McIntosh and his family to the 10th Mountain Division (LI).
“I’m incredibly humbled to be a part of your team, and I wish I could be there with you every day to watch your team grow. I know you’ll do great.”
McIntosh, a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, began his career with the 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, in South Korea, where he served as an assault platoon leader and company executive officer. While stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he was assigned as command aviation platoon leader, battalion adjutant and assistant operations officer with 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
He later served as aide-de-camp to the commanding general at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and commanded the UH-60 Black Hawk Flight School XXI in the 110th Aviation Brigade.
McIntosh has deployed multiple times with the 82nd Airborne Division and 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
McIntosh said that it is a great honor to lead the Falcon Brigade, and he thanked the division leadership for welcoming his family to Fort Drum.
“There is nothing I would rather do than be here at Fort Drum, surrounded by the world’s finest aviation professionals and Soldiers,” he said. “Taking command of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade is a dream come true and I want to take this opportunity to help others’ dreams come true as well. Inspiring our next generation is one of my top priorities for the brigade. Yes, with a good number of the troops and aircraft recently returning from 10 to 11 months in Afghanistan, it places additional emphasis on carefully resetting the formation and training for future contingencies while simultaneously ensuring families have opportunities to reunite with their Soldiers. We will learn from those who recently returned, continue to train hard, and seek innovative ways for Soldiers and Family members to pursue their personal and professional goals.”
Before arriving to Fort Drum with his wife and two sons, McIntosh served as a future operations planner in Stuttgart, Germany.
“Having only been in the area and released from quarantine for about 10 days, we can already tell that the North Country community is welcoming, patriotic, and one of the most hospitable regions we’ve ever lived,” he said. “We look forward to getting to know our new neighbors, joining a church family, volunteering at the schools, and participating in community events as soon as the pandemic control measures permit.”
McIntosh said that these are unprecedented times for the military to maintain readiness during a global pandemic, but he is confident that the 10th Mountain Division (LI) can overcome any challenge.
“We train hard for unforeseen circumstances and I’m in awe at how well Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division, in cooperation with the local and state authorities, have prevented significant spread of the virus,” he said. “We are still finding innovative ways to conduct physical training, aviation maintenance, and other activities. However, I anticipate additional leadership challenges the longer the pandemic persists. We remain cautiously optimistic but are accounting for COVID-19 preventative measures in all our future training plans.”