POWIDZ, Poland — The 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade officially cased its colors as the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division assumed responsibility over the aviation component of Atlantic Resolve in a Transfer of Authority Ceremony at the 33rd Air Base, Powidz, Poland, May 10, 2023.
Held inside the Polish C-130 aviation hangar, an American AH-64E , HH-60M and UH-60M, and MQ-1C set the backdrop for the ceremony. The national flags of Poland and the United States waved in unison as the formations of troops brilliantly displayed the renowned "Rock of the Marne" and "Old Ironsides" patches.
Maj. Gen. David M. Hodne, commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division, presided over the ceremony. Local community partners, both military and civilian, observed as the Iron Eagles cased their colors for a triumphant return home to Fort Bliss, Texas, and the Falcon Brigade uncased their colors, symbolizing the official start of their European Assure, Deter, and Reinforce rotation.
"Since assuming their mission in August 2022, the 1st AD CAB executed over 8,000 flight hours and 15 multinational exercises in nine countries supporting Operation Assure, Deter and Reinforce," Hodne said. "The Iron Eagles have showcased themselves as one of the premier CABs in the U.S. Army.
The Iron Eagles' mission has finally come to an end.
"The manner in which the 1st AD CAB responded decisively reminds all of us the importance of maintaining readiness as a force," Hodne said. "Iron Eagles…you deploy to Fort Bliss, Texas, knowing you've done all that we asked of you to the highest standard."
The Falcon Brigade's mission begins now.
"I am pleased to welcome and am confident 3rd CAB will expertly support TF Ivy and V Corps' mission to reinforce NATO's eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises to increase the readiness of TF Ivy, our allies, and partners," Hodne concluded. "The manner in which you flowed into theater demonstrated your professionalism, your skill, and your will to get the job done. You will accomplish all missions."
Following Hodne, Col. John A. Morris III, the 1st AD CAB commander, addressed the audience and his Troopers.
"Over the past nine months, we have lived and trained alongside our friends and allies across Europe, Morris said. "Our purpose was simple, forge new partnerships, build readiness, increase interoperability, and enhance the bonds between ally and partner militaries. I stand before you humbled. Not only by the extraordinary efforts of every Iron Soldier that has dedicated the past nine months to this mission but by the overwhelming number of friends and partners we have trained with while here in Europe."
Following Morris, Col. Eric Vanek, the 3rd CAB commander, addressed Maj. Gen. Hodne, the Polish community, and his Falcon soldiers
"The Transition of Authority affirms that the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade has successfully arrived in the European theater for the most righteous of missions," said Col. Eric Vanek, 3rd CAB commander. "The Falcon Brigade brings trained, disciplined, and highly skilled Soldiers who are steadfastly dedicated to our mission and our allies and partners. We are ready to fight."
It now falls to the mighty Falcon Brigade and its premier aviation capabilities to support and train our NATO partners across Europe.
Vanek concluded with a firm reminder to all foreign aggressors." 3rd CAB, the United States Army, and our Allies will never be intimidated, never be threatened, and never be beaten. We are postured to assume our mission, expand interoperability, and build critical relationships."
The Falcon Brigade will operate primarily out of Poland but has forward operating stations in other countries, such as Germany, Latvia, Romania, and Turkey. The brigade is aligned under the mission command of the 4th Infantry Division Forward. 4ID is the mission command element for Atlantic Resolve as of February 2023.
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.
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