POWIDZ, Poland - The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division officially cased its colors as the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, affectionately known as the "Iron Eagles," assumed responsibility over the aviation component of Atlantic Resolve in a historic Transfer of Authority Ceremony at the 33rd Air Base, Powidz, Poland, Sep. 12, 2022.
Held inside a large aviation hangar, a Polish Air Force C-130 cargo plane and MI-17 helicopter set the backdrop while the Iron Eagles' aerial might arrayed front and center for the ceremony. The Polish and American flags waved in unison as the renowned "Old Ironsides" and "First Team" patches were showcased in the morning sun.
Maj. Gen. John V. Meyer III, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, presided over the ceremony. Local community partners, both military and civilian, observed as the Air Cav cased their colors for a ceremonious return home and the Iron Eagles uncased their colors, symbolizing the official start of their rotation. Only brigade and battalion command teams participated in the formation of troops. Having already redeployed most of its force, 1ACB's senior leaders remained behind to complete the final task of casing their colors for the journey home to Fort Hood, Texas.
The TOA Ceremony has taken place in Illesheim, Germany, since 2014 for rotational aviation units to Atlantic Resolve. For the first time in history, a Regionally Aligned Forces Combat Aviation Brigade is headquartered in Poland. This move was strategically enacted to reassure our Allies and Partners across Europe and deter aggression from adversaries seeking to destroy the bonds of friendship.
"As I travel around Europe, I'm frequently asked why we are here," Meyer addressed the formation, "We're here because we volunteered. Each and every one of us raised our right hand and took an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That's why we are here…because we volunteered. Our country needed us to deploy to Eastern Europe to defend freedom, assure our allies, and deter aggression. That's why we are here."
The Air Cav's mission has finally come to an end.
"For the Soldiers of the Air Cav, thank you for being part of the 'Big Red One,'" Meyer resumed. "Thank you for your service to our nation and for defending freedom. It has been an honor to serve with you."
The Iron Eagles' mission begins now.
Meyer concluded, "For the Soldiers of the Iron Eagles. Welcome to the "Big Red One" and Fifth Corps. We are proud to serve alongside you and continue defending the values that make our nation great."
Following Meyer, Col. Timothy R. Jaeger, the 1ACB commander, addressed the audience and his Troopers.
"The transfer of authority between the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade and the Iron Eagle Brigade marks a change in units but not a change in dedicated support to assure our allies and partners and deter our enemies who may wish to do harm to those who share our common values," Jaeger said.
For nine enduring months, 1ACB has lived and trained with allied and partner militaries across 11 distinct NATO countries to build interoperability and enhance the "Stronger Together" Ethos. They executed real-world MEDEVAC missions while providing multi-functional aviation support in Europe's four Tier 1 and three Tier 2 NATO exercises.
Following Jaeger, Col. John A. Morris III, the 1AD CAB commander, addressed the Polish community and his Iron Eagles.
"What a great day to establish a new tradition! Today, we establish a new tradition and forge a new partnership with the community of Powidz, Poland," Morris said. "For the first time, we will headquarter a Regionally Aligned Forces Combat Aviation Brigade within these grounds."
It now falls to the mighty Iron Eagles and its premier aviation capabilities to support and train our NATO partners across Europe.
"The uncasing of our colors here today signifies the beginning of a new and exciting mission together. It serves as a powerful reminder of our commitment to Poland, the greater European community, and the NATO alliance," Morris said empathetically. "We are thrilled to be here and look forward to serving with you."
Morris concluded with a promise to partners and a command to the soldiers. "Iron Eagles, we have our mission. Build readiness, increase lethality, and stand with our Polish and NATO partners as we deter any adversary that would seek to tear us apart."
The Iron Eagles will operate primarily out of Poland but has forward operating stations in other countries, such as Germany, Latvia, and Romania. The brigade is aligned under the mission command of the 1st Infantry Division Forward. 1ID is the mission command element for Atlantic Resolve as of July, 2021.
U.S. Army Europe and Africa has led the Department of Defense's Atlantic Resolve land efforts by rotating units from CONUS to Europe since April, 2014. There are four types of U.S. Army Atlantic Resolve rotations – armored, aviation, sustainment task force, and division headquarters. Rotational units conduct bilateral, joint, and multinational training events across more than a dozen countries. Atlantic Resolve is funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, which enables the U.S. to enhance deterrence, increase readiness, and support NATO.
Learn more about Atlantic Resolve.
For more information about 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation, please contact Capt. William Stroud, Brigade Public Affairs Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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