On Friday, May 5, the 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment, 110th Aviation Brigade welcomed a new commander during a Change of Command ceremony held at Howze Field.

The 1st of the 212th trains initial entry rotary wing students in the UH-60A/L, UH-60M, LUH-72 and OH-58A/C helicopters, including basic warfighter skills, basic combat skills and night/night vision goggle qualification.

The unit also conducts aircraft qualification training in the UH-60 and instructor pilot training in the UH-60A/L, UH-60M, LUH-72 and OH-58A/C for aviation units Army-wide, as well as the Army's only active duty UH-60 non-rated crewmember instruction course.

"This unit trains everything Blackhawk," Brigade Commander Col. Kelly E. Hines said during the ceremony. "When you stop to really think about that, you realize that nearly every Blackhawk pilot has been trained by this battalion at some point in their career. Additionally, the SIs, or the standardization instructors that train the Hawk crews in the back, have also been trained by the 1st of the 212th. That by itself sounds impressive, but (it) is really just skimming the surface.

"The Blackhawk (is) the most diverse of all our platforms that connects air movement, air assault, medivac, VIP support, resupply – you name it; they do it. In short, it's a high demand aircraft. My point is that just about every soldier on the battlefield has been directly supported by a UH-60 at some point, and at very critical points at some times."

Because of the importance of the regiment, Hines said, there is no wonder why the Army chooses "the very best to be the battalion commander."

Hines thanked outgoing commander Lt. Col. Ross F. Nelson and his family for their work with and support of the 1st of the 212th over the past two years.

"I cannot believe two years has flown by so fast," Nelson said. "I have to start by saying thank you. Thank you because I could not do any of this stuff on my own. I could not be successful if I did not serve a glorious God who has blessed me with a loving, supporting family and who has protected this battalion every day as they train our students."

Nelson thanked his his wife and children for their support throughout his career, his superiors for the opportunity to lead the other soldiers, and the Wiregrass community for the love and support for the military.

He also thanked those he worked with for their hard work and support.

According to Nelson, the soldiers in the 1st of the 212th have logged over 165,000 flight hours while training over 5,000 aviators from the United States and its 12 allied partners.

"They are truly the finest collection of men and women this country has ever seen," Nelson said. "I will never be able to thank them enough for what they have done and continue to do on a daily basis."

Both Nelson and Hines welcomed Lt. Col. Cal C. Nix as he stepped up to take command of the regiment.

"I know you will succeed in leading this amazing battalion to new and even higher heights," Nelson said to Nix.

"I truly appreciate and am humbled by the opportunity to be the next battalion commander of the 1st of the 212th," Nix said. "I look forward to working and getting to know each and everyone one of you (in the regiment) and your families as we grow together here in the next two years."

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