Night Stalkers bid farewell to outgoing commander
Courtesy Photo Colonel Clayton M. Hutmacher (left) accepts the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment colors from Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, U.S. Army Special Operations Command Commanding General, as he assumed command from Col. Kevin W. Mangum during a ceremony Tuesday.

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment welcomed a new regiment commander as Col. Kevin W. Mangum relinquished command to Col. Clayton M. Hutmacher during a ceremony at Fort Campbell Tuesday.

"Let there be no doubt this is the most complex and advanced aviation regiment in the world," said Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, U.S. Army Special Operations Command commanding general, who presided over the ceremony. "And you have been well commanded for the last 36 months each and every day by Mrs. Mangum and Colonel Kevin Mangum."

Wagner told the crowd of Mangum's proven combat leadership, courage, judgment and quality of service.

"As with many other leaders and Soldiers whose successes you have enabled and whose lives you have saved, your service is legendary," he said

In his farewell remarks, Mangum reflected on his time as a Night Stalker and recognized his Soldiers and their families, including his own.

"Having spent my proudest moments of my life as a Night Stalker, this great organization defined who I am in many ways," he said. "Being part of a high performance team opened my eyes to what is possible and how to reach out and achieve it.

"Here I learned how to fly, how to lead, how to listen, how to lead a complex organization and what genuine and sincere care is and how to provide it," he continued. "In short, I am a better commander, a better pilot, a better Soldier and a better man as a result of my Night Stalker experience."

Mangum recognized the individual and collective contributions of his Soldiers, including those currently deployed around the world, for their personal drive and dedication to furthering Army aviation and continuously taking the fight to the enemy supporting the War on Terror.

Mangum was one week shy of three years in command. His next assignment is as the rear division commander for the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, N.Y.

The outgoing and incoming commanders, who have served together in many special operations positions over the years, shook hands as they passed in front of the podium between their respective remarks.

Hutmacher then addressed his Soldiers in their first formation under his command.

"Night Stalkers it is an honor to serve among men such as [you]," he said. "Collectively you represent everything that I hold dear as a Soldier. I look forward to serving you over the next few years."

Hutmacher most recently commanded the 1st Bn., 160th SOAR, and has served in various special operations assignments spanning the past 19 years. This is his third tour with the unit.

"Let there be no doubt in anybody's mind that there is not a more qualified, combat-proven experienced commander to replace Kevin than Clay Hutmacher," said Wagner. "We have every confidence in you."

"This is another historically proud day for the regiment as one great command team replaced another," Wagner concluded. "But the heart, the character, the standards of excellence that define the regiment have remained absolutely unchanged."