Story and photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault
4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
“A combat aviation brigade has not been built from the ground up in 25 years,” said Maj. Jason Davis, brigade executive officer, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. “4th CAB has a solid foundation to build upon.”
Two years after the CAB was deactivated at
Fort Hood, Texas, the unit colors were unsheathed in the presence of Soldiers and their Families, during the 4th CAB activation ceremony at Fort Carson’s Founders Field, Tuesday.
The new brigade commander, Col. Robert T. Ault, and Command Sgt. Maj. Antoine J. Duchatelier Jr., senior enlisted leader, assumed command and responsibility of the troops in the newly-reactivated brigade.
“Today at Joint Task Force Carson, this combat aviation brigade is being reformed, organized and transformed into one of the Army’s most modernized aviation brigades,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, senior mission commander, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson. “This is no small task, standing up a brigade, especially an aviation brigade.
“In preparation for future missions, these leaders and Soldiers, pilots, maintainers and logisticians will fill new aircraft and execute a very aggressive training plan,” said Bills. “This will build combat power and capacity that will provide this division the aircraft integration it needs. I am confident that this leadership team and the Soldiers standing before us will rise to the challenge, to continue the tradition of excellence that their unit has stood for (for) so long.”
After uncasing the brigade colors, Bills presented the 4th CAB guidon to Ault, recognizing him as the leader assuming command of the brigade on Fort Carson.
“The leaders and Soldiers of 4th CAB on the field today are committed to building the most professional and effective combat aviation brigade in the Army,” said Ault. “In addition, we embrace the opportunity to be part of, and build the bigger team of, the Fort Carson and Front Range community as an active responsible partner in making the Front Range better for our presence.”
The activation ceremony and unfurling of the brigade colors marked an important milestone of the 4th CAB legacy, serving as a visible reminder the brigade is back in service to the Army and nation, Ault said.
“The activation of the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade provides 4th Infantry Division, the Army and our nation with additional capabilities and depth,” said Ault. “The CAB will provide vital training and operations support to the 4th Infantry Division. It will also ease the frequent deployments for Army pilots of the 12 existing CABs, and positively bolster the local Colorado economy”
4th CAB looks forward to working with the community, said Ault, noting the unit assisted the community with fighting the Black Forest Fire before its formal activation.
“‘Iron Eagles’ are proud to work alongside the Colorado Springs community, and we showed that through our support to the local civilian authorities during the Black Forest Fire,” said Ault. “4th CAB completed over 900 Bambi Bucket drops, dumping over 690,000 gallons of water in support of the Black Forest Fire.”
Ault talked about his expectations for his aviation Soldiers and what they should expect from him.
“In order for our organization to function properly, leaders and their Soldiers need to work as a team,” Ault said. “Teamwork is essential to making the CAB successful. A helicopter doesn’t fly by itself — it takes a dedicated team of professionals such as maintainers, crewmembers, refuelers and operations Soldiers. It is that collaborative energy that makes us so valuable to the division.”
Ault also talked about the values that every Soldier should live by while they are in the brigade.
“The three pillars of the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade through the years have been and will remain commitment, teamwork and a warrior spirit born of professional competence and personal character,” he said.
Davis, the officer-in-charge of the group building the 4th CAB until Ault’s arrival, commented on the brigade’s growth since arriving at Fort Carson.
“We have made incredible progress since we started last spring, thanks to our junior leaders spread throughout the formation,” said Davis. “We are very fortunate to have Col. Ault here as the brigade commander, a proven combat leader, experienced in both ground and air operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; he brings a wealth of knowledge and a true warrior spirit to our unit.”
As the ceremony came to a close, Ault told his Soldiers what goals he wants the unit to complete, and how they can get there together, during his time in command.
“4th CAB is a leader-centric organization that brings exponential value every day,” said Ault. “Our nation’s friends will find no greater ally than the 4th CAB, and our enemies will find no greater foe.”