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Army leader returns to lead Fort Bragg Special Operations Aviation Command

By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. (Tribune News Service) | Published: July 11, 2016

A special operations aviator with strong ties to North Carolina and Fort Bragg will be welcomed home Tuesday when he takes the helm of U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command.

Brig. Gen. John R. Evans Jr. is expected to take command in a ceremony on Fort Bragg's Meadows Field.

He'll replace Brig. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, who has been commander of USASOAC since June 2014.

Evans graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone in 1988 and spent his early Army career on Fort Bragg, where he served as an Apache platoon leader and later an aviation liaison officer in the 82nd Airborne Division.

Evans would go on to become a special operations master aviator with over 14 years of service in the 160 Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, commanding the regiment between 2012 and 2014.

Most recently, he served as deputy commanding general for support at the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea.

Now, Evans will return to Fort Bragg to lead the 160th's higher command.

USASOAC is a subordinate unit of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, providing command and control for all of the Army's special operations aviation units.

Peterson will be promoted to major general shortly before the change of command, officials said. He will next serve in the U.S. Army Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff in Washington.

Lt. Gen. Ken Tovo, commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, will oversee the change of command.

Evans, who has been named a distinguished alumni of Appalachian State's ROTC program, last served at Fort Bragg in 1995.

His Army aviation career began as an Apache platoon leader in 82nd Airborne and he deployed in that position as part of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

He later served as an assistant battalion S-3 and then as aviation liaison officer for the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment before commanding an attack helicopter company.

Evans joined the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment in 1995 and led organizations within that unit at the platoon, company and battalion levels before taking command in July 2012.

As part of the 160th, he deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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©2016 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

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Brig. Gen. John R. Evans Jr. in 2013.
RICARDO J. BRANCH/U.S. ARMY PHOTO

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