Two Night Stalker battalions welcome new commanders

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http://sinepari.soc.mil/News/2008/June/SP-080612-01.html

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Sine Pari, June 12, 2008) – The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) welcomed two new battalion commanders in back-to-back ceremonies at Fort Campbell, Ky., on June 11.

1st Bn., 160th SOAR(A) Assumption of Command Ceremony

Lt. Col. Van J. Voorhees, Jr., assumed command of the 1st Bn., 160th SOAR. His previous assignment was as the Squadron Commander, U.S. Aviation Support, Newport News, Va.

Col. Clayton M. Hutmacher, Commander, 160th SOAR, who presided over the ceremony, said that Voorhees is the right person to take this battalion to the next level.

“Although this is Jay’s first tour as a Night Stalker, he has served with distinction in the (special operations) community,” he said. “(My family) and I look forward to serving with you over the next couple of years. Enjoy the ride; it will go by quicker than you know.”

Voorhees told those in attendance what a great honor it is for he and his family to be counted among the unit ranks.

“To finally count myself among your formation is a true privilege that is not lost on me,” he said. “I understand fully what this ceremony represents and the history of this organization.”

He recognized the Soldiers in formation, those currently deployed doing the nations business and Night Stalker families. In closing, Voorhees looked to the future of his unit.

“I anticipate and have no doubt that 1st Bn. will have ample opportunity to serve our nation in many capacities as we move forward with the Global War on Terror,” he told his Soldiers. “I stand in front of all of you today with no reservations whatsoever that we will continue to answer the call anyplace, anytime and continue to execute our no-fail missions in the true spirit and ethos that has become the norm.”

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Lt. Col. Van J. Voorhees, Jr., (center), commander of the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, just prior to accepting the unit colors from Col. Clayton M. Hutmacher (left), Commander, 160th SOAR, during an assumption of command ceremony at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 11, 2008. (160th Photo)

2nd Bn., 160th SOAR(A) “Darkhorse” Change of Command Ceremony

Lt. Col. Thomas R. Drew assumed command of 2nd Bn., 160th SOAR, from Lt. Col. John R. Evans, Jr.

Col. Clayton M. Hutmacher, Commander, 160th SOAR, who presided over the ceremony, said that Evans proved himself an exceptional commander, officer, husband and father during his time in command.

“(Evans) has led this battalion through the good times, the not so good times, he led them in combat and through the return of E Company, 160th SOAR from Korea and their deactivation,” he explained.

These are feats that do not typically fall to commanders at the battalion level, but Hutmacher said he was the right man to get the job done.

During his remarks, Evans recognized all of his Soldiers; those in formation on the field, those serving in combat around the world and those who gave their lives in the name of freedom under his command. He thanked his family and all of the Darkhorse families for what they do every day to support their Soldiers.

Finally, he addressed his Soldiers for the last time.

“To the Darkhorse Night Stalkers; It has been my incredible privilege to serve with you, fight with you, laugh with you and occasionally cry with you,” he said.

“I’ve never been so proud of them as I am today as they stand ready to follow their next leader in their ranks for I know that they will execute the mission with the same passion, dedication, and unfailing purpose for (Lt.) Col. Drew as they have for me these last few years.”

Evans welcomed the Drew family to 2nd Bn., saying without doubt that the Darkhorse family is lucky to have them taking command.

Drew thanked the regiment leadership for the opportunity to command this elite and storied combat formation.

“I have served with many of you during the Global War on Terror and have watched in awe at the heroism and professionalism you displayed on the battlefield,” Drew said to his Soldiers in formation under his command for the first time.

“I consider myself fortunate to serve with such great men and I can proudly call myself a Darkhorse Soldier.”

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Lt. Col. Thomas R. Drew (left), commander of the 2nd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, accepts the unit colors from Col. Clayton M. Hutmacher, Commander, 160th SOAR, during a change of command ceremony at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 11, 2008. (160th Photo)

I spy a MH-6M Little Bird in the background :D
 
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