New commander for Chinook operating 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment

New commander for Chinook operating 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment 29 Jun, 15, Source: US Army

New York Army National Guard Capt. Kenneth Hilkert, a Seneca Falls resident, takes command of Detachment 1, Company B of the 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment Sunday morning, June 28 at the Army Aviation Support Facility here.

The unit operates CH-47 Chinook helicopters, providing heavy lift support to Army and joint forces.

Hilkert takes command from Capt. Brendan Flansburg from Clay, New York, who led the unit since August 2013. Both the incoming and outgoing commanders of the unit flew as pilots with the detachment during deployments to Afghanistan.

WHO: Capt. Kenneth Hilkert, the incoming commander, receives the colors of his new command from outgoing commander Capt. Brendan Flansburg.

WHAT: A traditional military change of command ceremony in which the colors, or flag, of the battalion is transferred from Flansburg to Hilkert by the senior commander, signifying the change of responsibility and authority for the command from one leader to another.

Traditionally the unit’s colors marked the location of the commander on the battlefield and the ceremony allowed the Soldiers to know who their commander was.

WHEN: Sunday, June 28, 2015, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Army Aviation Support Facility, 42 Patriot Way, Rochester, NY, 14624.

Coverage opportunities:
Reporters will have the opportunity to interview both the incoming and outgoing commanders. Video and photographic opportunities include Soldiers in formation as well as the ceremony in which the unit colors are transferred.

Media must contact Capt. Michael Squires at (518) 894-0383 for access to the secure military facility.

BACKGROUND
The change of command ceremony dates back to the days in which a military unit’s flag marked its position in the line of battle. The colors were always near the commander, so troops knew where to rally on the battlefield.

Today the transfer of the colors marks a change in the unit and gives the soldiers their first opportunity to see and hear their new leader.

The change of command ceremony recognizes the accomplishments of the outgoing commander and the Soldiers who served under him. In addition, the ceremony identifies the new commander to the Soldiers, so they can follow him on the field of battle.

Capt. Kenneth Hilkert
Capt. Kenneth Hilkert commissioned from Excelsior College in 2008. After graduating from Officer Candidate School in August 2008, he entered the New York Army National Guard as an Aviation Officer with Detachment 1, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation and became a CH-47 Pilot in December 2011.

Hilkert deployed with the unit to Afghanistan in 2012 providing Medium Lift Helicopter support to the Regional Command-South area of operations while being attached to the 25th and 3rd Combat Aviation Brigades. Upon return from deployment Hilkert stayed with the unit through the change of command in order to provide continuity and assist the incoming commander. After completing the CH-47F model Aviator Transition Course in January 2014, Hilkert was promoted to Captain and reassigned to the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters in Syracuse as the Assistant Battalion Aviation Element.

His awards and decorations include the Army Air Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Army Commendation Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Basic Aviator Badge and Combat Action Badge.

Hilkert and his wife, Stacey, along with their two daughters, Allison and Katelyn, reside in Seneca Falls, New York.

Capt. Brendan Flansburg
Capt. Brendan Flansburg commissioned from Niagara University ROTC in July 2007. He entered the New York Army National Guard as a Transportation Officer with the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion.

Flansburg worked as a Transportation Officer with the 642nd ASB until July 2009, when he departed for Flight School and a branch transfer to aviation. He returned as a qualified CH-47D pilot in December 2010.

Flansburg volunteered for deployment less than three months later in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan. While deployed, he performed duties as the platoon leader for Company B, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment in Bagram under both the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade and 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

He returned in February of 2012 and worked as an operations and planning officer for the 642nd ASB until taking command of Detachment 1, Company B, 3-126th Aviation in August 2013.

His awards and decorations include the Army Air Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M-Device, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Aviator Badge and Air Assault Badge.

Detachment 1, Company B, 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation
Nicknamed “Kong,” the Soldiers of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation have deployed to Afghanistan twice to support United States Forces there.

The Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 and the company was recognized as the Army National Guard aviation unit of the year for 2008 by the Army Aviation Association of America for the company’s accomplishments in Afghanistan, including participating in the largest air assault operation in that country since 2002.

In 2012 and 2013 the Soldiers deployed once again to Afghanistan to move troops and supplies across the country.

In 2009 the detachment’s pilots and other Soldiers trained Canadian Forces pilots to operate the CH-47 because all of that country’s CH-47s were already deployed to Afghanistan. The detachment also sent Soldiers and helicopters to assist in the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Soldiers of Company B carried priority supplies during the New York National Guard response to Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and to Tropical Storms Lee and Irene in 2011. In June 2011 a helicopter assigned to the company plucked a motorboat stuck in the Niagara Falls rapids off the lip of the falls before it could go over.

Detachment 1 of the company is based in Rochester while the other half of the company is part of the Maryland Army National Guard.

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