FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – The 2nd Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment Regulators bid farewell to Lt. Col. Alissa A. McKaig and welcomed Lt. Col. Jacob E. Roper in a change of command ceremony June 10 at Libby Army Airfield.
Col. Tammy L. Baugh, commander, 1st Aviation Brigade, Fort Rucker, Alabama, credited McKaig's leadership of the Regulator battalion with the rapid growth of the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) training program here.
"The organization you see here today has transformed quicker than any I have seen in my entire career," Baugh said.
Several years ago the battalion was charged with streamlining the overall timeline for training unmanned aircraft systems operators and maintainers. While several ideas were suggested of what progress looks like and when it was likely to happen, the common thread was none of these ideas were put into action, she said.
"That all changed two years ago when McKaig took command," Baugh said. "She assessed the situation, focused her unit, and pulled the best out of the team she had. The results were amazing."
Currently, the battalion operates the largest UAS training center in the world with 10 programs of instruction, over 125,000 square feet of training space, four hangars and three runways here. Each year, the battalion trains approximately 2,000 service members, including Initial Entry Training and MOS transition students, for RQ-7 Shadow and MQ-1 Gray Eagle operator and repairer qualification.
McKaig led the Regulator battalion's efforts to produce several advanced, detailed and intensified courses enriching the curriculum.
While establishing and conducting new courses in the UAS training program, COVID-19 brought delays which created a population of students waiting in hold-over status.
As a result, the battalion’s ministry team created a course to train hold-over students in basic Soldier skills, occupational education and personal development until their class rotations started.
"This training program reduced the number of misconducts," Baugh said. "More importantly, it kept the Army's newest Soldiers engaged, excited and motivated to be a part of the Army team."
The hold-over training program has proven successful and will soon be adopted by other schools within the U.S Army Training and Doctrine Command, she added.
"Alissa, you have a lot to be proud of," Baugh said. "You truly transformed this formation; they are focused and fierce."
McKaig said she reminisced over her past 24 months of command while preparing for the ceremony noting it was by far the fastest and most rewarding time of her Army career.
"I can't help but think, ‘Boy, did I strike gold with this assignment!’" she exclaimed.
McKaig, overwhelmed by gratitude, said she is proud to call the 2-13th Aviation Regiment family.
"I would like to use my time to recognize all the individuals who contributed to our success," she said.
Along with all the contributors, she generously thanked Maj. Gen. Anthony Hale, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence & Fort Huachuca, and the USAICoE team for giving the 2-13th Aviation Regiment a place to thrive.
"Your leadership was essential in enabling our battalion to continue our mission," McKaig said. "I want to thank you and the entire Fort Huachuca community for the continued support of the 2-13th Aviation Regiment and welcoming us to the Fort Huachuca family."
Incoming commander, Lt. Col. Jacob E. Roper, hit the ground running in his first address to Soldiers.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the future is unmanned," Roper said. “The future starts right here in the Regulator battalion, with the best men and women the United States of America has to offer.
"I am confident that together we will continue to make our nation proud," he said.
"Regulator 6, signing on. Swift and deadly. Scouts out."
Editor’s Note: For more photos, see the entire album at https://www.flickr.com/photos/us_army_fort_huachuca/albums/72157719448493045.
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Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command, and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 964 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, critical components to the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.
We are the Army's Home. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca.