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Vernon native retires as colonel in the U.S. Army

FORT HOOD, TEXAS — Col. Chris Albus, a Vernon, Vt. native, retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of colonel on May 31 after serving more than 34 years on active duty.

Albus was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Aviation upon graduation from the University of Massachusetts in 1992. He had previously served six years as an active duty Army enlisted infantryman.

Albus was also awarded the “Hughes Trophy” at the Pentagon recognizing him as the number one Army ROTC cadet in the United States in 1992.

His first assignment following flight school and UH60 Blackhawk Helicopter Course was as a platoon leader, assistant operations officer, and battalion personnel officer in the 7th Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, located at Katterbach, Germany. While in Germany, he also deployed as a detachment commander to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in support of Operation Able Sentry.

In 1996, following the aviation officer advanced course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, he was assigned to the 2ndBattalion, 82nd Aviation Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He served as an assistant operations officer and commanded a 15-ship Blackhawk company.

Albus was subsequently assigned to Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he served in the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) as an aviation observer controller where he trained, advised, and mentored combat aviation forces.

In 2001, he was assigned to the Army’s Personnel Command (PERSCOM) in Alexandria, Virginia, where he served as an assignment officer, serving the assignment needs for the Army’s aviation captains and majors. While there, he was promoted “Below-the-Zone” to the rank major.

Following graduation from Fort Leavenworth’s Command and General Staff College, Kansas, in 2004, Albus moved to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he served as the executive officer in the 5th Battalion, 101stAviation Regiment. He was subsequently assigned as the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade plans and operations officer during a deployment to Tikrit, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Upon return from Iraq, Albus was assigned as the Secretary of the General Staff (SGS) for the 101stAirborne Division. Albus deployed to Afghanistan as the deputy chief of staff for the Combined Joint Task Force – 101 based at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

After attending the UH60 “Mike-Model” Blackhawk upgrade course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Albus assumed command of the 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment and “Task Force Wings,” a multi-functional aviation task force consisting of a variety of Army rotary wing aircraft, support personnel, and a Pathfinder Infantry Company. Task Force Wings deployed to Regional Command South Afghanistan where he commanded and operated out of a forward operating base in the Zabul Province.

Following command, Albus was assigned as the Human Resources Command (HRC) aviation branch chief at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he was responsible for the assignments of all active and Reserve aviation officers and warrant officers.

He was then assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, where he served as director of the Aviation Test Directorate, United States Army Operational Test Command, where he planned and tested a full complement of manned and unmanned aircraft as well as aviation support equipment.

Albus commanded the 166th Aviation Brigade at Fort Hood. Part of the Army’s “First” Army, the 166th was responsible for training, advising, assisting, and validating Reserve Component aviation forces for deployment.

Albus attended the U.S. Army War College Fellowship at Texas AM’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, College Station, Texas, and was assigned to the Department of the Army Inspector General Office where he served as the Director of Army Inspections. He was subsequently assigned as the chief of staff for the Operational Test Command here before being selected for a fellowship with Fort Hood Family Housing as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Hire our Heroes” Program.

Albus’s awards and decorations include three Legions of Merit, Air Medal, 2 Bronze Star Medals, 8 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Combat Action Badge, Master Aviator’s Badge, Air Assault Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab. He is also recipient of the Order of Saint Michael (Silver Award) and Sergeant-at-Arms of the Killeen Heights Rotary Club.

His other schools include Primary Leader Development Course (Honor Graduate), Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course (Honor Graduate), Light Leader Course, Survival Escape Resistance and Evasion (SERE) High Risk Instructor Course, Mountain Warfare Course, Northern Warfare Course, Aviation Basic Course (Honor Graduate), CAS3, Jumpmaster Course, and Aviation Officer Advanced Course (Honor Graduate).

Albus is married to the former Christine Braithwaite of Harvard, Massachusetts. They have three children: Matt, 23, who is a supervisor at Water Techtonics in Odessa, Texas; Jonny, 21, who is a junior mechanical engineer student at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas; and Catie, 19, who is a sophomore nursing student at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. The family resides in Harker Heights, Texas.

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