HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. -- Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed new commander Lt. Col. Brian R. Schaap to the Viper family during a change of command ceremony July 11 at the flight line, and said goodbye to Lt. Col. Cory J. Sena as he prepares to assume duties as the 3rd CAB's rear detachment commander.

"Lt. Col Sena's focus and efforts have built a convincing mindset to deploy anywhere, anytime, under any conditions," said Col. Allan M. Pepin, 3rd CAB commander. "Continuing this distinguished legacy, Lt. Col. Schaap is the right officer at the right time to take this team through its final pre-deployment training and, as Task Force Viper, into Afghanistan for a nine-month deployment."

Colonel Pepin added that upon the CAB's deployment early winter, Lt. Col. Sena will assume command of the brigade's rear detachment.

Lieutenant Colonel Sena said that though he'll miss the unit and cherish the memories he gained as its commander, he has no doubt that the Viper battalion will persist in its excellence.

"I have no doubt… that these Soldiers and Families will continue to set the standard for excellence and make you proud each day," said Sena to an audience of about 100 people.

During the ceremony, Col. Pepin and Lt. Col. Sena led Lt. Col. Schaap through an inspection of the formation. Then, 1-3 AVN Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Sparks passed the colors, according to tradition, to the outgoing commander, who passed it to Col. Pepin, who in turn passed it to the incoming commander, who then returned the colors to Command Sgt. Maj. Sparks, thus completing the transfer of authority to Lt. Col. Schaap.

Speaking to the formation for the first time as commander of the 1-3 AVN, Lt. Col. Schaap said he was excited to again be part of a Marne formation, with all of its honor and history.

"I'm happy to be back at Hunter Army Airfield," said Lt. Col. Schaap, who was the 1-3 AVN battalion operations officer during the CAB's last deployment to Afghanistan. "I'm honored to have been selected to lead this stellar formation, who represents the best in Army Aviation."

"I am confident they will continue to excel in all they do, and I will give my all to serve, lead, and coach the Soldiers and Families of this unit into the tough challenges that lie ahead," said Lt. Col. Schaap.

The ceremony ended with Lt. Col. Schaap, in his first act as commander, leading his formation through a pass and review before Col. Pepin and an applauding crowd.