Third ID Aviation Brigade Gets New Commander - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/29/06

Third ID Aviation Brigade Gets New Commander

He led them through countless missions in Iraq, and today the Third Combat Aviation Brigade said goodbye to one commander as they welcomed the next.

The Third Infantry Division band kicked off the festivities as the brigade waited to welcome their new commander.

"It's always good to have change, get new leadership in there and rotate out leaders with fresh ideas, continuing to excel the unit forward," said outgoing commander Col. Ronald Tuggle.

After two years in charge, Col. Tuggle is moving on, but he won't forget the soldiers who flew more than 80,000 hours, 13,000 attack and reconnaissance missions in the skies over Iraq, and thousands of medical and supply flights.

"While out flying, our crews received many calls for ground patrols, because the soldiers knew our frequency and call sign as well as they know their own company and headquarters frequencies," Col. Tuggle said.

Change was the key word when it came to Col. Tuggle's time at the top of the Third Combat Aviation Brigade. They added Blackhawk, Chinook, and Apache helicopters, and increased battalions from three to five.

Now, four of those five battalion commanders are changing command at the same time as Col. Tuggle. The unit colors passed on to the next man in charge.

Col. Daniel Ball now leads this brigade of fighting men and women into the next phase: learning new equipment, training for their next mission, their next deployment. It's a transition Ball believes the entire brigade is ready for.

"CG spoke earlier this week of the Marne Express," he said. "Sir, the team is on board and ready for the ride. We fight from above...Falcon Brigade."

Col. Tuggle now moves on to the Pentagon, where he will join the Joint Staff in Charge of Plans and Policy on the Middle East desk.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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