There was purpose behind the solemn pageantry of the Change of Command Ceremony at Rickenbacker Airbase April 7.
Brig. Gen. Dana McDaniel, Commander of the 73rd Troop Command and Homeland Response Force-Ohio, officially turned the command of the 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment, over to Maj. Patrick Durbin, a long-time Pickerington resident.
Durbin will not merely be in charge of approximately 750 soldiers and aviators, he will also shape their lives and prepare them for wartime mission.
"I want to thank you in advance for what you're going to do. The road ahead will be demanding and challenging," McDaniel said to Durbin.
McDaniel said Durbin, "in his own way, will lead this organization to ever higher levels of success."
It was then Durbin's turn to address his battalion, which was standing at attention and in formation in their duty uniforms.
"I will push you beyond your comfort zone, but not your capabilities," he said.
Durbin told his family in attendance inside the hangar full of Blackhawk helicopters, otherwise known as Army Aviation Support Facility No. 2, that there "will be sacrifices."
"I may be missing some ball games, but I'll do my best to keep things in proper perspective," he said.
Durbin has been with the Ohio National Guard since 1992. He served as Battalion Training Officer for the 1-137th Aviation Regiment during the deployment to Iraq from 2008-09, where he earned a Bronze Star medal, racking up more than 100 hours of combat flight time in a UH-60 Blackhawk.
Upon his return from mobilization, he served as the Strategic Planning Officer for the Ohio National Guard from 2009-2011 and the Detailed Inspector General from 2011 to present. His latest promotion presents a new set of challenges.
"We now have a deployment to Kuwait on the books for January 2015 to January 2016," Durbin said.
As battalion commander, Major Durbin will provide vision and guidance to his soldiers in preparation for deployment.
"Battalion commanders have a very important and demanding job," Durbin said.
"(They) must ensure their organization is trained and prepared for combat," he said. "They must be the tip-of-the-spear and lead from the front at all times."
Durbin has put his organizational skills to use in civilian life as vice president of Pickerington-based Tyler's Light, a drug abuse prevention and awareness organization. He served in that capacity from 2011 until this past March.
"I was responsible for developing a balanced scorecard for Tyler's Light in order to set organizational priorities and measure (as well as) monitor our progress," said Durbin, who now serves as a consultant to the Tyler's Light board of directors.
Durbin lives in Pickerington with his wife, Lisa, and his three children: Brooke, Patrick and Brayden.