Fort Stewart News

3rd ID Commander, Maj. Gen. Leopoldo Qunitas passes the 3rd CAB colors to Col. Mark Johnson as he assumes command of 3rd CAB on Hunter Army Airfield June 9. The passing of the brigade colors symbolizes a transfer of authority from one commander to the next.

Photo by Sgt. William Begley

Falcon Brigade welcomes new commander and command chief warrant officer
Staff Sgt. Kellen Stuart, 3rd CAB Public Affairs
Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Soldiers of 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade held a change of command and change of responsibility ceremony on Hunter Army Airfield June 9.

The Falcon Brigade warmly welcomed Col. Mark Johnson as the new commanding officer as well as Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brent Melland as the command chief warrant officer while bidding farewell to Col. Jeff Becker and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Timothy Smail.

The 3rd Infantry Division commander, Maj. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas spoke of leadership that Becker has provided over the last two years.

“Col. Jeff Becker’s guidance and command presence has allowed the CAB to reach new heights,” said Quintas. “Jeff, I don’t think I’ve seen a combat aviation brigade, in all of our army, getting after readiness like you and your leaders have done over the past two years. This unit has never missed an opportunity to build and sustain combat readiness—not only for themselves as a premier aviation unit but for the entire Marne division.”

Becker will be leaving the Falcon Brigade to continue his service as the Director of Aviation at the US Army Forces Command Headquarters at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“To the Marne Team—the finest teammates that anyone could ask for. [It’s] a rare circumstance for every single leader to be willing to bend over backward to help the other succeed and then give credit to another, you are all the classiest and most professional leaders in our Army,” said Becker.

Quintas took the time to recognize Smail’s contributions to the Falcon Brigade.

“Tim thank you for your outstanding service as a dedicated technical and tactical expert and leader,” Quintas said. “Your senior mentorship to our rising aviators have been absolutely critical to this CAB’s success over the last two years as the brigade increasingly focused its training toward the decisive action training environment.”

Quintas also welcomed the Melland family, who recently arrived from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

“I’m naturally confident that you’ll continue to build upon the work of Tim Smail as this outfit prepares for its future mission,” he said.

The Johnson family joins the brigade from the Army War College.

“Today we change leadership in this brigade, what does not change is the phenomenal fighting spirit, discipline and professionalism of this brigade,” said Johnson. “Respected for commitment to mission accomplishment, renowned for your unrelenting dedication to the ground forces, the Falcon Brigade carries forth a rich tradition of fighting and winning wherever it is sent. I look forward in leading you in this endeavor.”