Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jonathan P. Koziol was bid farewell and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael L. Lewis Jr. welcomed as the Chief Warrant Officer of the Aviation Branch during a Change of Responsibility Ceremony held at Fort Rucker May 27.

“For anyone who has been in a command positon, you understand the relationship that is built on trust with members of the command team and Koz is the epitome of trust in the command team and our trust in the warrant officer corps,” said United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker Commanding General Maj. Gen. David Francis, host of the ceremony marked by the passing of the ceremonial saber from the departing branch leader to the incoming one.

According to military ceremonial tradition history, “the saber is one of the most enduring weapons on the battlefield. Its use requires technical and tactical skills. The same fundamental talents of today’s warrant officer. The sheath is basic, without decoration representing the quiet profession. The blade’s edge is meticulously honed as is the knowledge and skill of those that hold this position.”

During the Change of Responsibility Ceremony May 27, the ceremonial saber was passed between Koziol, Francis and Lewis before a crowd of soldiers, family and friends gathered on Howze Field and in attendance online via social media live stream.

“Koz served flawlessly as the principal advisor to the Aviation Branch Chief on all matters on warrant officers and their professional development for the last two years. He’s a master of his trade and the standard against which other aviation warrant officers are measured,” Francis said about the man whose military service exceeded three decades. “Koz is one of my most trusted advisors across Army Aviation providing vision and focus for warrant officer training and developing technical and tactical experts. His singular focus on how to better assess training and retaining our warrant officer corps has been truly astounding. Koz set the wheels in motion for a new leader development model for aviation warrant officers that would be emulated by other branches across the Army.

“(Lewis) has served at every echelon of Army Aviation as a warrant officer from the tactical to the strategic and we could not be more excited to welcome Team Lewis to the USAACE team,” Francis said.

Lewis is originally from Arcadia, N.C. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1989 serving in the 519 Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Bragg as an interrogator and Persian-Farsi linguist.

He is qualified in the UH-1H, OH-58A/C, the AH-64 A/D/E and a graduate of the SERE School, Airborne Course, Air Assault School, Primary Leadership Development Course, Instructor Pilot Course, Aviation Master Gunner Course, Instrument Flight Examiner Course and Dutch Language Course.

He served most recently as the Army Aviation Standardization Officer at the Headquarters Department of the Army.

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