NEWS | Aug. 8, 2021

78th Aviation Troop Command says farewell to commander, welcomes new leader

By Charles Emmons

Colonel Jason W. Fryman bid farewell to the Georgia Army National Guard’s 78th Aviation Troop Command as he relinquished command of the brigade to Col. Barry B. Simmons during an official ceremony August 8, 2021, at the Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Ga.

Fryman reflected on how the culmination of his three years as a brigade commander was different than the others he’d experienced as a company and battalion commander within the 78th ATC.

“I’m leaving the command, the unit, the formation, the family that I’ve served with for nearly 25 years,” Fryman said. He went on to explain that the unit didn’t even exist when he originally served as a young lieutenant.

Now he will leave the organization that has been his home since the early 2000s and accept the challenges and opportunities awaiting him in the recently established Army Futures Command as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Guard Advisor for the Future Vertical Lift and Cross-Functional Team at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

The 78th ATC conducted the change of leadership event in the same hangar that their mechanics repair and maintain rotary wing airframes which include the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters used for missions around the world.

During Fryman’s command tenure, the 78th ATC supported domestic response missions as well as company and battalion-sized deployments to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Country of Georgia, and Kosovo. Recently, elements of the brigade supported the Southwest border mission. The operational tempo has been constant with fluctuating numbers of Soldiers and assets deployed each of the last 1,100 days.

“You’ve ensured that our aviation Soldiers and leaders have remained ready, lethal, relevant, disciplined, and safe,” Brigadier General Dwayne Wilson, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard said to Fryman, who had succeeded him as commander of the brigade in 2018.

Simmons, who most recently served as chief information officer for the Ga. Department of Defense, now takes over as the leader of an organization that has been deployed 26 times since 9/11 and remains in high demand by combatant commanders around the world.

“I’ve dreamed of a time that I could come back again and grab a weapon and stand a post with you,” Simmons said to his formation of Soldiers. “I could not be more proud than to be here with you today.”