By Staff Sgt. Nathan Hoskins
1st Air Cavalry Brigade public affairs
The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, and four of its battalions changed command July 7 at Fort Hood.
Col. Douglas Gabram, who commanded the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade for more than two years, with a yearlong deployment to Iraq, relinquished command to Col. John Novalis II on Cooper Field in front of the 1st Cavalry Division headquarters building.
Gabram led the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade on a deployment to Iraq where it conducted combat operations in support of their ground comrades and during two volatile stages of the mission: the drawdown of military personnel and the first election led by a sovereign Iraq.
During his address, Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, 1st Cavalry Division commander, lauded Gabram and his team for a job well done - especially for their work in Iraq.
"During your deployment to Iraq … your actions were truly impressive. And your individual and collective accomplishments – simply awe-inspiring," Allyn said.
"Doug (Gabram), although your possessions where many, your aircraft powerful, (your) position a great one, and the prestige that came with all that - high indeed - you've aptly led the "warriors and poured greatness in the organization with humility, a focus on service and quality characteristics that held true to our Army values and the warrior ethos," he said.
Although Allyn had a multitude of kind words for the outgoing commander, Gabram insisted it was the team that brought success to the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade over the past two years, not his efforts alone.
"Maybe the most important thing you did was build teams that others wanted to be part of. And you did it all with style and pride," Gabram said to his former battalion commanders.
"When the big "First Team" patch, painted on the front of the aircraft, landed in the (landing zone), you knew it was done right, with high standards and discipline," Gabram said.
"And our enemies did know, and will continue to know, if they run they're going to die tired."
Gabram's next assignment will lead him to Washington, D.C., where he will be the executive officer to Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
Novalis: 'No higher honor'
Novalis comes to the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade directly from the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., and is eager, yet humbled, to lead the historic brigade.
"There is no higher honor than to command soldiers, especially while we, our nation, are at war," Novalis said.
"I'm humbled and excited for this opportunity. I'm truly proud to wear this uniform and the "First Team" patch," he added.
Novalis had a message specifically for his soldiers.
"To the soldiers of the Air Cav Brigade, I will make you one promise. I will lead you with passion and give a 100 percent effort each and every day. You look great and you all represent the finest collection of aviation warriors the Army has - war fighters second to none," Novalis said.
The following battalion commanders and command sergeants major also changed command:
Lt. Col. Charles Dalcourt, commander, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Douglas Brockhard. Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Smoots took over responsibility of the battalion from Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Soliz.
Lt. Col. Ralph Litscher, commander, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, relinquished command to Lt. Col. William Huff. Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Soliz took over responsibility of the battalion from Command Sgt. Maj. Dwight Altheide.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Metzger, commander, 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Blake Alexander.
Lt. Col. Randall Haws, commander, 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Jeff White.