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      3rd Combat Aviation Brigade Commander Col. Eric Vanek, Maj. Gen. Antonio Aguto (center), the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, and Col. Michael McFadden (right), the outgoing commander of the 3rd CAB, stand in formation during the brigade’s change of command ceremony, June 10 on Hunter Army Airfield. The Marne Air Soldiers of 3rd CAB said goodbye to McFadden and welcomed Vanek as the new brigade commander.


      The 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division bid farewell to Col. Michael McFadden and welcomed Col. Eric Vanek as the new brigade commander during a change of command ceremony, June 10 on Hunter Army Airfield.

      McFadden, with 33 years of military service behind him, assumed command in June 2019, leading the brigade through a nine-month rotation to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve. While deployed, 3rd CAB provided aviation support across 12 countries, while simultaneously conducting COVID-19 relief operations throughout Europe.

      Once back in the U.S., the brigade continued to hold it’s warfighting stance, completing three combat training center rotations, two Warfighter exercises and multiple joint operation exercises with the Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. The 3rd CAB also currently supports the installation medical evacuation mission for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.

      The reviewing officer for the change of command was the 3rd Infantry Division Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Antonio Aguto. During his remarks he welcomed Vanek and his family back to Hunter Army Airfield. Vanek was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield from 2003 to 2009 as he served in the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

      Aguto continued and acknowledged the accomplishments of McFadden throughout his time in command.

      “Mike, I’d like to thank you for your dedication, and the care you have for your Dogface Soldiers and their Families,” Aguto said. “It has truly been an honor to serve with you, and I want to thank you and your family for all you have given to this brigade, and to our Dogface Soldiers in this community.”

      McFadden thanked the Soldiers of the 3rd CAB for their hard work in executing missions spanning across both the country and globe and for consistently striving for excellence.

      “This brigade has accomplished so much, and I could go on for days about the never-ending successes, but I wouldn’t have time,” said McFadden. “What I will say is everything, and I mean everything that was ever asked of these Marne Air Soldiers, they did with absolute precision and poise. It has been the greatest honor of my career to call myself Falcon 6.”

      Vanek, a Plymouth, New Hampshire native, commissioned as an aviation officer in 1997 from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has served in a variety of assignments throughout his military career, most recently serving as the Deputy Commanding General of the Security Force Assistance Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

      “What a privilege it is to assume command of this incredibly fierce fighting force, the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade,” said Vanek. “It is great to be back on the tarmac of Hunter Army Airfield, and I couldn’t be more proud to serve beside each and every one of you. This is Falcon 6 on the net. Rock of the Marne, Marne Air.”

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