12th Aviation Bn. welcomes new commander

Col. Mark Kappelmann, TAAB Commander, U.S. Army Military District of Washington, left, passes the colors to Lt. Col. Ryan Forshee, as he assumes command of the 12th Aviation Battalion from Lt. Col. Brendan Cullinan during ceremonies at Davison Army Airfield, June 26. 

Unique outfit succeeds, despite obstacles 

Col. Mark Kappelmann, the commander of the Army Aviation Brigade and host for the ceremony, said Lt. Col. Brendan Cullinan, the outgoing commander of 12th Aviation Battalion, provided leadership that “was an absolute success.” 

Cullinan, who relinquished his command to Lt. Col. Ryan Forshee at Davison Army Airfield, June 26, was described by Kappelmann as a coach who led the team past numerous obstacles. Addressing the Soldiers, Kappelmann praised the unit for continued success and for repeatedly doing more with less. 

“The 12th succeeds, despite their personnel being under-resourced; the 12th succeeds despite the fact they order replacement parts for their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters at a lower priority than the rest of Army Aviation, including Fort Rucker (Ala.); the 12th succeeds due to internal motivation, pride and duty and performance; and because of great teamwork. For that, I thank you and commend the entire unit,” Kappelmann said. 

Kappelmann said a good coach “must always, always believe you’re going to win.” 

“I believe the reason that the 12th Aviation Battalion is as successful as it is today, is due to the fact they believe they are going to win. They understand their mission, and strive toward mission accomplishment, knowing that failure is not an option. That sort of command climate and culture of a unit is driven from the top – from the coach, from the commander,” Kappelmann said. 

In his remarks to the battalion, Cullinan said commanding 12th Aviation has been a high point in his career. 

“The over-tasked and undermanned civilians, contractors, Soldiers, NCOs and officers surprise me every single day with their ingenuity and problem-solving, attacking unusual problems while somehow keeping the trains running,” Cullinan said. Forshee thanked Cullinan for his superb hand-off of the unit. 

“Your transparency and selflessness gives me confidence that I know what I need to know in order to take the role that you’ve done such a great job in establishing,” Forshee said. 

The mission of the 12th Aviation Battalion is to conduct contingency operations for the National Capital Region and provide aviation support for the nation’s leaders.