Fort Rucker this week will host a change of command ceremony, a time honored military tradition marking a transition of leadership. Major General William Gayler will officially assume command of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker taking the place of the departing commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Lundy.
I want to thank Maj. Gen. Lundy for his exemplary leadership at Fort Rucker for the past two years. Fort Rucker is an important post, not just for the Wiregrass region and the State of Alabama, but for our nation and its defense. Every Army aviator is trained at Fort Rucker. Despite the changing landscape of the modern battlefield, Army aviation has remained an essential component of warfare, and Fort Rucker has dutifully delivered the best-trained aviators for assignments all over the world. Commanders like Maj. Gen. Lundy have an enormous responsibility of fulfilling that vital mission while dealing with any number of challenges.
Maj. Gen. Lundy’s command of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence came during an especially difficult time, as budget cuts forced military leaders to make tough decisions. It was about this time last year when many feared steep reductions by the Army would significantly affect the post and the surrounding community. Thankfully, the Army’s force reduction had minimal impact on Fort Rucker, and particularly the aviation student load and flight training hours. I can tell you that having Maj. Gen. Lundy’s steady leadership during such moments of uncertainty has been invaluable.
The Army has not yet announced Maj. Gen. Lundy’s next assignment. Wherever it is, that organization will be gaining an exceptional leader.
Fort Rucker’s new commander, Maj. Gen. William Gayler is a Georgia native who most recently served as the Deputy Commanding General for the U.S. Army in Europe and Commander of U.S. Army NATO. Maj. Gen. Gayler is a Master Army Aviator and has a distinguished service career that includes deployments in Desert Storm, Bosnia conflict, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also no stranger to Fort Rucker, having previously served in multiple assignments including Aide-de-Camp to the commanding general.
On behalf of Alabama’s Second Congressional District, I am pleased to welcome Maj. Gen. Gayler back to our state and wish him the best as he begins his command of Fort Rucker. I look forward to working with him as I have past commanders in supporting the important mission at the Army Aviation Center of Excellence.
It is my great honor to serve a district that is home to two of our nation’s finest military installations: Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery. Supporting our military and serving veterans remain top priorities for me in Congress and some of the most rewarding parts of my job.
• • •
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband, Riley, and their two children.