July 20, 2007

New commander takes reigns of 2nd Bn., 224th Aviation Regt.

Col. Fritz W. Kirklighter, commander of Combat Aviation Brigade, 29th Infantry DIvision, passes the colors of the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment to Maj. James W. Ring, the unit's new commander during a change of command ceremony July 16 in Sandston, Va. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hampton, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hampton
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

SANDSTON, Va. – The key ingredient to mission success, according to Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, is leadership. This sentiment was echoed during the change of command ceremony of the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment in which Lt. Col. Robert E. McMillin II turned over command of the 224th to Maj. James W. Ring, formerly the 224th’s executive officer.

The event was held in Sandston on July 16 as scores of family and friends came out to take part in the event. McMillin, who led the 224th during its deployment in Iraq, thanked members of the unit for their selfless service and dedication to mission accomplishment in a moving speech in which the names of his Soldiers were read.

McMillin praised his leadership for creating an environment in which mission success was assured and gave accolades to the family support group for their support. McMillin, who will be joining the Adjutant General’s command staff, stated that the unit in total is far greater than the sum of its parts and urged them to continue to strive for excellence as he moves on.

“The best for the unit lies not in the past, but in the future,” he said.

Ring, who served as the aviation safety officer for Joint Forces Headquarters-Virginia prior to taking over as executive officer for the 224th, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. A master aviator and infantryman, Ring has served for much of his military career in various capacities with the 224th to include platoon leader, company commander and S-1 as well as S-3 during Task Force Pegasus, SFOR-10 Bosnia-Herzegovina.


Maj. James W. Ring, the new commander of 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, formerly served as the unit's executive officer. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hampton, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)


Ring received his commission at Virginia Military Institute through the Reserves Officers’ Training Corps(ROTC) and was initially assigned as platoon leader with C Company, 1st Battalion, 183rd Infantry Regiment.

Newman was on hand for the event and expressed sincere gratitude for McMillin’s service and leadership which resulted in the unit receiving the Army National Guard Aviation Unit of the Year award by the Army Aviation Association of America.

Newman also expressed great confidence in Ring as he took command of the 224th.

“There is no greater compliment of a serviceman than to grant him command,” Newman said.

Ring humbly accepted command of the 224th and thanked the command staff for their confidence. He thanked his wife, Leigh Anne and their two children for their love and support and thanked members of his unit for their service and continued commitment.

Ring challenged his fellow Guardsman to always be willing to accept responsibility and reminded them of the commitment they have made.

“The challenges we face as a nation are tremendous and we must do all we can to ensure that we are ready and able to face them,” Ring said.

As he gave his first command and ordered his troops to attention for the retiring of the colors, smiles were abundant as family, friends and well wishers looked on.



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