4th Battalion Night Stalkers welcome new commander

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2010/July/100719-06.html

JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD, Wash. – The Night Stalkers of 4th Battalion 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) welcomed their newest commander last week.

Lt. Col. Michael Hertzendorf relinquished command to Lt. Col. Heath Niemi during a ceremony on July 15.

Niemi has served in a variety of positions within the 160th since being assigned to the regiment in 2000, including 1st Battalion company commander and regiment operations officer. He served as the regiment executive officer prior to taking command.

“Members of 4th Battalion, you look great. And as always, you set the standard,” said Niemi, addressing his troops for the first time as battalion commander. “I am humbled and honored to serve with you, and I look forward to meeting each of you and your families.”

Niemi assumed command from Hertzendorf, who has spent nearly 15 years as a Night Stalker.

Col. John Thompson, regiment commander, presided over the ceremony. He spoke highly of the outgoing commander’s legacy, both in the regiment and in the special operations community at large.

“Mike Hertzendorf’s record, not only as a warrior but as a leader, is quite impressive. He has deployed in more capacities than anyone in the regiment,” said Thompson. “… He is known throughout the special operations community, and everyone he has come in contact with praises his mission focus and abilities as a combat commander.”

During his final moments before his troops, Hertzendorf expressed the difficulty he discovered in writing his outgoing speech. He explained that he simply could not convey the accomplishments of his Soldiers in words.

“To understand their success, you had to be there,” said Hertzendorf. “You’d have to have been in the environment, felt the emotion, the stress, the fatigue, the excitement, the joy, and the sorrow; all that goes along with being a Soldier and a Night Stalker serving in combat in today’s Army.”

He left his Night Stalkers with a few parting words borrowed from the Night Stalker Creed.

“It has been a true honor and a privilege to stand in the ranks with each and every one of you, and to serve with the memory and pride of those who have gone before us. For they loved to fight, fought to win, and would rather die than quit. Night Stalkers don’t quit.”

Hertzendorf’s next assignment will be as Chief of Staff for the yet-to-be formed Army Special Operations Aviation Command.

The 160th SOAR(A) remains actively engaged in multiple theaters of operations around the world including Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Lt. Col. Heath Niemi accepts the battalion colors from Col. John Thompson, commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) as he assumed command of 4th Battalion, 160th SOAR(A), from Lt. Col. Michael Hertzendorf during a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 15. (Photo courtesy of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne))

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Lt. Col. Mike Hertzendorf reviews his troops one final time before relinquishing command of 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) during a ceremony held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 15, 2010. (Photo courtesy of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne))
 

Swill

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Two great commanders right there, my friends. Nothing but good things to say about both...
 
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