The Fort Rucker community welcomed Brig. Gen. Stanley E. Budraitis as the incoming deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, in a virtual ceremony conducted on Howze Field Aug. 14.
The deputy commanding general serves as the principal assistant to the USAACE commanding general. He is responsible for functional training management and organic units assigned across Fort Rucker, and tenant units based at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
In this role, Budraitis advises the commanding general and principal staff members on all Aviation training and is responsible for synchronizing the Aviation Enterprise to ensure the best trained, best equipped and ready aviation warfighters are available across the Aviation branch.
Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general welcomed the Budraitis family.
“This day has been a long time in coming. In fact, it’s been almost a decade since we’ve had a brigadier general that held the post of deputy commanding general here at Fort Rucker. And I can’t think of a better choice than Stan Budraitis to take this challenge on,” Francis said.
Budraitis has commanded aviation and ground units, served as advisor to the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command commander, and assistant adjutant general of the Mississippi National Guard leading through multiple natural disasters and other domestic challenges, Francis explained.
Budraitis arrives at Fort Rucker at “yet another inflection point for Army and Army Aviation,” Francis said, as the Army pivots from 20 years of Counterinsurgency Operations to Large Scale Combat Operations against near-peer and potentially peer competitors.
The largest post-Vietnam modernization effort is currently underway, with Future Vertical Lift among the top Army modernization priorities, Francis explained.
“These aircraft--the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft and the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft, and their enabling capabilities such as Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Air Launched Effects, Modular Open System Architecture, Long Range Precision Munitions and more, is all funded and coming at record speed,” Francis said.
These modernization programs will bring “leap-ahead technology, the likes of which we have never seen in our Army,” he said.
The path forward includes changes to leader development, to include “career long assessments that enable us to develop leaders with the knowledge, skills and behaviors that will enable them to lead, fight and win in complex, ambiguous environments of the future,” Francis said.
Large Scale Combat Operations will require the total force—active, National Guard and Reserve- to be successful, according to Francis.
“Stan has operated in active duty and National Guard positions and brings a wealth of experience and perspective that will benefit the total aviation force, 51 percent of which resides in the National Guard and Reserves,” Francis said.
“So Stan, as we bring you on active duty yet again, Jody and I could not be more excited that you and Desha will be on board to lead Army Aviation into the future,” Francis said.
Budraitis, who hails from Mississippi, is a master Army aviator with more than 2,000 flight hours in the UH-1, OH-58 and UH-60 helicopters, and has served at every command level from Lieutenant to Brigadier General. He most recently commanded the 66th Troop Command where he provided mission command to 2,600 Soldiers.
His key staff positions include Senior Army National Guard Advisor to AMCOM; S3 Operations Officer and Executive Officer at 185th Theater Aviation Brigade; Aviation Plans Officer, 7th Special Forces Group, Bagram, Afghanistan; and S3 Operations Officer and Executive Officer, 1-185th AHB.
He previously commanded the 1108th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group; Hagler Army Airfield, Camp Shelby, Miss.; and the 2-185th Airfield Operations Battalion.
Budraitis is a graduate of the resident U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA, and a certified Title 10/ Title 32 Dual Status commander. He completed the Joint Firepower Course at Nellis Air Force Base; the Joint Air Operations Command and Control Course at Hurlburt AFB, and others.
His past deployments include to Afghanistan and Kuwait. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Army Commendation Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.
Budraitis thanked his family, leaders and the community for their support.
“What a great Army day today is for my family and me. But as an American, practically every day is a great day, and having the honor to serve each day in the greatest, most lethal and most powerful Army in the history of mankind is a great privilege.
“By whatever standard you measure our great nation, whether economic power and individual opportunity, military might, or our nation’s benevolence to the world promoting peace, democracy, and freedoms around the globe--though not perfect, America is without a doubt the greatest nation that has ever existed,” he said.
Budraitis said he is passionate about service.
“I love being a Soldier and being around Soldiers. It’s truly inspiring,” Budraitis said. “Joining the Army is in the top three decisions of my life, and I can’t be more proud than to be called a Soldier in the United States Army.”
He thanked Maj. Gen. Francis for his leadership and vision, and for supporting the branch across all components.
“Maj. Gen. Francis, sir, thanks for giving me the privilege to lead and develop America’s most complex, most resilient, and most lethal weapon system--our aviation Soldiers. All of our Soldiers are critical whether they are in a control tower, a command post, an Army aircraft, or maintaining our complex aircraft,” he said.
Budraitis described Army Aviation as a “finite maneuver force with infinite mission requirements,” and he emphasized the priorities of people, readiness and modernization for the Army and Army Aviation.
“What we do here at Fort Rucker is critical for our Army and our nation as we prepare for Large Scale Combat Operations against any near-peer adversary,” Budraitis said. “Our Army has an insatiable appetite for Army Aviation.”