JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - After over two years in command of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, Col. D. Shane Finison handed the colors to Col. Derek Smith during a change of command ceremony at Watkins Field on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., on Jul. 15, 2022.
“Raptors take action, they do not sit idly by. I need you to continue to find something that needs to happen within your core mission; find it, kill it, and eat it. Raptor six signing off.” Finison said during his speech at the ceremony.
Col. Finison will continue his service at U.S. Army Forces Command headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C. He served as the 16th CAB commander since 2020 and led the formation through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as numerous major exercises in the U.S. and overseas.
Smith was recently assigned to an Asia Pacific Studies fellowship at the University of Washington prior to becoming the 16th CAB commander. He was commissioned as an aviation branch officer in 2001 upon graduating from Pennsylvania State University.
This is not Col. Smith’s first stint in the Raptor Brigade: He previously served as the 4-6 Air Cavalry Squadron commander, leading them during a 2019 rotational deployment to the Republic of Korea.
“It’s great to be home in the 16th CAB,” Smith said. “I look forward to working beside each one of our world-class Soldiers out on the field today.”
The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade provides world class aviation support to the ground force commander in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility and beyond.