McCurry takes command of USAACE, Fort Rucker
1 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Brigadier Gen. Michael C. McCurry assumed command of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker from Maj. Gen. David J. Francis as facilitated by Lt. Gen. Theodore D. Martin, commander, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, during a change of command ceremony on Fort Rucker's Howze Field July 21, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris) (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAACE and Fort Rucker Change of Command
2 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Command teams and their formations march in front of the reviewing stand, where Brig. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence commander and his wife Sadie, along with Maj. Gen. David J. Francis and his wife Jodie, stand side by side during the USAACE change of command ceremony's "Pass and Review" at Howze Field July 21, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris) (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAACE and Fort Rucker Change of Command
3 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Brigadier Gen. Michael C. McCurry assumes command of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker from outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, as facilitated by Lt. Gen. Theodore D. Martin, commander, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on Fort Rucker's Howze Field July 21, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris) (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAACE and Fort Rucker Change of Command
4 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Brig. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, incoming commander, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence; Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, outgoing commander; Col. Whitney Gardner, commander of troops; and Lt. Gen. Theodore D. Martin, commander, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, "troop the line" to inspect the formation of Soldiers during the USAACE and Fort Rucker change of command ceremony July 21, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris) (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAACE and Fort Rucker Change of Command
5 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Gen. Theodore D. Martin, commander, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, speaks during the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker change of command ceremony at Fort Rucker's Howze Field July 21, 2022. Brig. Gen. Michael C. McCurry assumed command from Maj. Gen. David J. Francis. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris) (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAACE and Fort Rucker Change of Command
6 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Brigadier Gen. Michael C. McCurry, the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commander, executes his first salute at the close of the change of command ceremony after Maj. Gen. David J. Francis formally relinquished command to him at Howze Field July 21, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris) (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAACE and Fort Rucker Change of Command
7 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Whitney B. Gardner, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence chief of staff and commander of troops, salutes with the formation of USAACE and Fort Rucker flags behind him during the USAACE and Fort Rucker change of command ceremony at Howze Field July 21, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris) (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAACE and Fort Rucker Change of Command
8 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, outgoing commander, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, gives remarks on Fort Rucker's Howze Field July 21, 2022. Francis relinquished command to Brig. Gen. Michael C. McCurry. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris) (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. — Brigadier Gen. Michael C. McCurry assumed command of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker from Maj. Gen. David J. Francis during a change of command ceremony on Howze Field July 21, 2022.

Lt. Gen. Theodore D. Martin, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth commander, facilitated the ceremonial passing of the unit colors from outgoing to incoming leader.

In his remarks, Martin welcomed attendees to the combined in-person and virtual ceremony.

“Thank you for honoring not only these two great Army families but this great institution, the Aviation Center of Excellence, and these wonderful Soldiers that are represented on the field today,” he said.

Martin said he was proud of Army aviation and all it has delivered.

“There’s not a Soldier in uniform who’s spent a minute in combat that has not been the benefactor of Army aviation,” Martin said. “It’s the crown jewel of our Army.”

Martin welcomed the McCurry family to their new role, and challenged them with three imperatives.

“Ensure we have an aviation force that is ready to fight and win. I truly believe we will be in a fight before we know it,” Martin said. “Two, ensure you treat everyone here with dignity and respect. And finally, it goes without saying, the way to do this right, you need to train like your life depends on it,” Martin said.

Martin said McCurry is the “right man for the right job.”

“Mac and Sadie, I can’t wait to see where you take the Center of Excellence,” Martin said.

McCurry thanked senior leaders for the opportunity to serve. He also thanked family members or their sacrifice and support, his mentors for making the day happen, and guests for attending.

“Today is an incredibly humbling day for our family. This assignment is truly a homecoming,” McCurry said.

“As a first grader at Fort Rucker Primary School, I stood right here on this same parade field and watched my dad’s flight school class fly by in their UH-1’s. My father-in-law also earned his wings here and brought a daughter into the world at Lyster Army Hospital. And most importantly, 29 years ago, I met that daughter Sadie, in the post chapel at Fort Rucker. We’re very excited to be back here in the Wiregrass where our family journey began,” McCurry said.

He charged the Soldier and civilian workforce to always uphold Army aviation’s sacred bond with Soldiers on the ground.

“That is why we exist,” he said.

McCurry arrives at Fort Rucker from his most recent assignment as director of Force Development (G-8), U.S. Army, Washington, DC.

McCurry initially commissioned as a second lieutenant of infantry in 1988. After his college graduation he became a regular Army aviation officer and scout helicopter pilot.

He previously served as director of Army Aviation (G-3/5/7), chief of Aviation Force Development (G-8), and served on the Headquarters, Department of the Army staff as deputy director of Army Aviation (G-3/5/7). He also served as the director of Security and Assurance, Operation Warp Speed, Washington, DC.

McCurry previously served as deputy commanding general for Support, 2d Infantry Division, Camp Humphreys/Red Cloud, Korea; and commander, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Drum, N.Y. He served as deputy brigade commander, Task Force 49, Baghdad, Iraq; and squadron commander, 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and Kirkuk, Iraq.

His military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with five oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Medal with Numeral 3.

McCurry will serve as the installation senior commander, the flight school commandant, and the branch chief for Army Aviation.

Known for its sacred trust with commanders and Soldiers on the ground, the Army aviation branch focuses on exploiting the third dimension of warfare. It provides the nation an operational and tactical advantage, without peer in scale and capability, providing the air-ground team the required mobility, lethality, survivability and situational understanding to win in an increasingly complex world.

As part of the Joint combined arms team, Army aviation presents the enemy with multiple dilemmas in time, space, and tempo, enabling the combined arms team to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative by attacking the enemy from multiple directions, at times and locations of the ground commander’s choosing.

Martin commended Francis for his leadership during his long tenure at Fort Rucker.

“You get a third year at a center of excellence because you’re the right person for the right job at the right time, you’re making progress, and that’s exactly what Maj. Gen. Dave Francis and his wonderful team did here,” Martin said.

Francis ensured the training mission kept going during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic, Martin explained.

“We wish you all the best as you head off to Germany, and thank you for all that you have done,” Martin said.

Francis thanked God for the opportunity to serve, leaders and his family for their support, and the team of professionals at USAACE. During his tenure he saw the importance of engaged leadership, up and down the chain, he said.

“When leaders are engaged, we put people first, and when we put people first there is absolutely nothing we can’t do,” Francis said. “This team built the foundation of transforming Army aviation from a counterinsurgency focused force to one that will be led, trained and equipped to fight, survive and win against any future threat.”

The world is rapidly changing, and Army aviation must maintain its advantage, he said.

“We can’t take for granted our standing in the world or in our country as an Army,” Francis said. “We have to earn that right every day, through our training, developing our leaders and modernizing our equipment.”

Francis moves on to his next assignment as director, J-3 Operations/Cyber, U.S. Africa Command, Germany.