BY SGT 1ST CLASS TYRONE C. MARSHALL JR. – WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – The changing of command is one of the oldest Army traditions, although time passes and commanders and Soldiers change out, the honor and dedication to the profession of serving in the Armed Forces lives on.
The change of command is a significant event in a unit’s history; it marks new beginnings for not only the unit, but the incoming and outgoing commanders, as well.
The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) recently completed a series of battalion and squadron changes of command, beginning the second week of October, culminating in the changing of the CAB’s top leadership position. The “Wings of Lightning” Brigade welcomed a new commander on Sills Field at Schofield Barracks, Oct 21.
Colonel Mike Lundy relinquished command of the 25th CAB to Col. Frank Tate, who formerly commanded the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, during the ceremony.
Major General Bernard S. Champoux, commanding general, 25th Infantry Division (ID), served as the reviewing officer and praised the outgoing commander for his hard work and fearlessness in leading the CAB.
“For the past two years, the ‘Wings of Lightning’ have flourished under the peerless leadership of Col. Mike Lundy. He has a passion for Soldiers, for their families, for soldiering, for flying and for Army aviation. Mike Lundy is a warrior, a warrior leader, and an aggressive combat leader who thrives in the most complex and demanding environments. You can give Col. Lundy the most difficult missions and tasks and you know they will be accomplished, beyond all expectations, regardless of the challenge or personal hardship.”
Major General Champoux also referred to the former 25th CAB commander as “the ultimate team builder” who possessed the “fearlessness to always do the harder right.” Then the 25th ID commander turned his attention to the Soldiers on the field.
“Col. Lundy commands the best [CAB] in the United States Army because of your hard work and leadership, and because he is the best aviation brigade commander in the Army. The truth is that simple. He winces when I say that because he is a quiet professional who leads and serves for the right reasons and doesn’t worry about who gets the credit, but it’s true nonetheless.”
Colonel Lundy, the outgoing commander, reflected on his command time and some of the CAB’s milestones.
“On the field today stands a true team of teams, focused with the singular purpose of providing the very best attack, reconnaissance, assault, MEDEVAC, and heavy-lift aviation support to our Soldiers on the ground. They are the best at what they do – not because of who the commander was, but because of who they are as Soldiers and citizens of our Nation. They exemplify everything that is great about our Army.”
He continued, “They are selfless, courageous, mission focused, and dedicated to the higher calling of serving our country, and protecting and serving their comrades on the [battlefield].”
For Col. Lundy, who has served in multiple command positions within the 25th CAB, there was a hint of nostalgia as he discussed his responsibilities as a commander.
“There is no greater honor than to be charged with the mantle of command and when I stand in front of this stage today, after the colors have passed, the speeches are complete and when these magnificent Soldiers pass in review … I will certainly have a hole in my heart. But I want each of the Soldiers and leaders on the field today to know that I am very proud to have been counted amongst your ranks.”
For Col.Tate, and his family, it is once again time to serve with the Wings of Lightning.
“Having deployed multiple times with this great division and brigade, I know well the rich history of extraordinary service and sacrifice that proceeds this day. The Soldiers on this field and those that went before them have written a tale of honor and glory. And as the Division song says, ‘We can always add another story.’
He continued, “I am very proud to rejoin your ranks as we train for the challenges ahead in Afghanistan. I ask only for your loyalty and the continuation of the high standards and professionalism that have proven to be your hallmark. I can assure you that we will continue to live up to the motto of the 25th Aviation Regiment, ‘Lele Makou No Na Puali’ – ‘We fly for the troops!’”