HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - After 11 years with the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, and seven as the command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Stidley transferred authority of the brigade to incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Blair, during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 13, on the flight line at Hunter Army Airfield.

"It's hard to wrap up 11 years into a 7-minute speech," said Command Sgt. Maj. Stidley. "There are so many people I want to thank and acknowledge. It's all bittersweet. Of course I'm sad because I have to leave a place my Family and I have grown to love, but I know the brigade is going to be in good hands with Command Sgt. Maj. Blair."

The ceremony took time to recognize Command Sgt. Maj. Stidley's accomplishments during his time with the 3rd CAB. Command Sergeant Major Stidley served two years as a first sergeant in 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd CAB, and two years as the 1/3 Avn., 3rd CAB, command sergeant major before becoming the brigade command sergeant major.

"I saw a plaque the other day which reads, 'NCOs are the backbone of Army Aviation.' If that is true, and there is no doubt in my mind it is, then Rick Stidley is the backbone of this brigade," said Col. Don Galli, commander of the 3rd CAB. "As we say goodbye to Command Sgt. Maj. Stidely, we welcome Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Blair. I am so proud that he has been chosen for this prestigious position. I know first-hand of his leadership abilities. Command Sergeant Major Blair is the right man for the job."

Unlike other incoming leaders, Command Sgt. Maj. Blair is no stranger to the 3rd CAB. During the last two years Command Sgt. Maj. Blair served as the battalion command sergeant major for 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd CAB, leading them through their deployment to Afghanistan.

"I look forward to continuing to serve as a Dog Face Soldier in the Falcon brigade, the best multi-functional combat aviation brigade in the Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Blair. "My goal is to ensure we continue the tradition of deploying, engaging and destroying the enemies of the United States and to bring everyone home."

Command Sergeant Major Stidley's next assignment is at Fort Rucker, Ala., serving as the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence command sergeant major.