FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Soldiers and civilians of the 1st Aviation Brigade look to continue the work started by their previous commander as a new leader takes command.

Col. Brian D. Bennett assumed command of the large and diverse unit from Col. Kenneth J. Biland, who commanded the unit since 2009.

Bennett was previously the chief of the tactics division for Directorate of Training and Doctrine here. He said he was honored to take command of such a storied unit.

“I’m truly humbled to lead this organization and tackle the mission with the leaders in the field,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to being able to work with the surrounding communities.”

Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, said he expects Bennett to continue the work started by his predecessor and to advance the mission of the 1st Avn. Bde. into the future.

“Brian is no stranger to Fort Rucker,” he said. “Coupled with the sadness of saying farewell, my heart warms that I can welcome an outstanding command team in (the Bennetts).”

Biland next takes on the duties of deputy commander for the Combat Readiness/Safety Center here. He said his time as the 1st Avn. Bde. commander was well-spent and that the Soldiers and civilians were to thank for most of the unit’s success.

“The courage and sacrifices demonstrated by American Soldiers remain the foundation of our Army,” he said. “We have no static displays on the field today, but our credentials are our Soldiers.”

Biland continued by saying how much commanding the brigade has meant to him and his Family and that he hopes the standards set under his command will continue under Bennett.

“Two years ago, after taking command of the 1st Avn. Bde., I said I could think of no better honor nor any more meaningful duty than training and developing our future Aviation Soldiers and I still believe that today. It has been a great honor and tremendous privilege for me to command this storied brigade for the past two years. It is incredible to look back and see where we’ve been and how much you, the Soldiers and civilians, have accomplished over those years.”

Crutchfield praised Biland for his accomplishments and wished him well in his new position.

“You’ve accomplished some pretty incredible things,” he said. “The warriors of the 1st Avn. Bde. perform their real-world mission daily and they do it with the highest degree of professionalism. Under Ken’s leadership he led this team, through staff coordination at USAACE, to eliminate to Aviation training backlog. That means officers, instead of staying here 22 months, stay only 12 months. Where they would have to deploy five times, they now only have to deploy four times. That’s groundbreaking and it hasn’t happened at Fort Rucker in years. All these things are what a commander does.”