An attack helicopter unit with about 500 soldiers will soon deploy to the Middle East.

A combined change-of-command and colors-casing ceremony was Friday afternoon at Fort Hood.

The 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, part of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, welcomed their new commander, Lt. Col. Chad P. Corrigan, and bid farewell to outgoing commander Lt. Col. Tim M. McGrew during the first part of the ceremony.

The squadron is outfitted with Apache helicopters, and in 2016 was the first unit at Fort Hood to receive the Echo-model Apache, which can fly faster and higher and is more maintenance-friendly then previous versions.

McGrew earned his Army aviation officer commission in 1997. Corrigan is originally from Dighton, Mass, and was commissioned as an aviation officer in 2000.

Known as the “Palehorse Squadron,” the unit then cased its colors in anticipation of its deployment to the Middle East.

The squadron will be split during the roughly five month deployment between Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Staff Sgt. Julie Wallace, a 1st Cavalry spokeswoman.

The 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, was activated at Fort Hood as part of 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, in October 2015. The squadron also operates unmanned aircraft, Wallace said.

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