3rd CAB changes command - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

3rd CAB changes command

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Unprecedented recognition and no combat casualties suffered will combine to represent Col. Don Galli's 34 months as commander of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade.

That time with the unit came to an end Wednesday in a change of command ceremony at Hunter Army Airfield in which Galli turned the 3rd CAB over to Col. Allan Pepin.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve here,'' said Galli. "These tremendous soldiers are all heroes to me. Our soldiers made a difference in Afghanistan because they did two things incredibly well. They started fights and they finished them.''

Galli's command also saw significant decoration, including 13 unit and individual awards in 2010 alone when the 3rd CAB was named Best Aviation Brigade of the Year and Best Aviation Battalion of the Year.

"I think what you need to know is the soldiers accomplished everything we did,'' said Galli, who will become chief of staff at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker. "All I did was be a part of what they were about. But this is a brigade that made history in Afghanistan and they did it in many different ways.''

Including one way that was as impressive as all the awards combined and all together remarkable for 3,500 soldiers in a combat zone.

"Most importantly,'' said Galli, "Everybody came back and that  I'm very proud of.''

Pepin now is proud to take over a unit in which he was once a lieutenant, and to carry forth the legacy of excellence Galli leaves behind.

"This is the finest day of my aviation career, to have the obligation and the responsibility to serve great soldiers like Marne soldiers,'' said Pepin, who comes to the 3rd CAB from Fort Campbell, where he commanded the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. "I feel like I'm coming home. It's a great history and I'm absolutely proud to be a dog-faced soldier.''

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