Mr. Lars Ericsson leads the Army’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Technical Management Division where he continues to provide superb leadership, responsible for managing all of the technical and systems engineering functions for a six billion dollar global aviation enterprise. He has provided flawless oversight of the research, development, system integration, test, production and life cycle engineering support for the Army’s entire UAS fleet (i.e., Gray Eagle, Sky Warrior A, Hunter, Shadow, Raven, and Puma).
Additionally, he successfully led the teams conducting engineering efforts for several related UAS technology programs, such as the Army’s Ground Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) system, and the One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT); and universal products such as the Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS), Universal Ground Data Terminal (UGDT) and the Universal Mission Simulator (UMS).
Mr. Ericsson leads by example, supervising over 132 scientists, engineers, and support staff (accomplishing more than 250,000 man-hours worked annually). He challenges and inspires his team, facilitating the development and rapid integration of new technologies onto the battlefield. Mr. Ericsson contributions have been singularly outstanding and identify him as the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America Joseph P. Cribbins Department of the Army Civilian of the Year.
CW4 Pregana represents the very best of Army Aviation Safety Officers. His mission focus and leadership of his team of safety professionals allowed the 3-2nd General Support Aviation Battalion to achieve mission success during a year of tremendously complex real-world and training operations. He mentored junior warrant officers through professional advice, providing them insights about the safety profession from his experience. He represented the brigade commander’s safety officer on multiple occasions, providing commanders at all levels sound advice to safely accomplish the mission.
He was chosen by the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade as the lead Safety Officer and Accident Investigator on four (4) aviation accidents. His leadership and active role contributed to the safety of over 20 ground convoys across the peninsula and his technical expertise and professionalism have earned him the reputation of best Safety Officer in the 2nd CAB.
He led the battalion’s safe performance of its diverse mission sets through 7 field training exercises, 10,500 flight hours and more than 78,000 successful miles driven.
His commitment and unmatched dedication to 3-2 GSAB Aviation Safety, the 2nd CAB mission and Army Aviation clearly identify him as the winner of the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America James H. McClellan Aviation Safety Award.
SPC Emanuel L. Moore’s performance as a Radio and Communication Security Repairer (94E) for 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) was nothing short of incredible.
He is the first of two 94E Soldiers who have started cross-training to learn the MOS of 94R, Aircraft Survivability Equipment Repairer which will result in his being deployable in both key specialties. Throughout this intense cross-training process, he also competed and won the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Soldier of the Year competition.
He subsequently competed in the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition where he placed 3rd out of 13 and was also recognized for having the fastest 12 mile ruck march time out of the 26 competitors and was afforded the opportunity to run the Army 10-miler with the Sergeant Major of the Army.
SPC Moore’s knowledge and skills have had a direct, positive impact on the organization and peers. His dedication to duty and technical capabilities are a force multiplier on the battlefield, and identify him as most deserving of recognition as the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America Soldier of the Year.
SSG Timothy M. Carnes made exceptional contributions while serving as a fully mission qualified (FMQ) crew chief during the award period. On a daily basis, he leads and trains eight to 10 Soldiers in mission tasks, aircraft maintenance, property accountability, and special mission equipment on 6 MH-60M aircraft, to include maintaining currency and proficiency in 27 Special Operations mission tasks.
He performed flawlessly as company noncommissioned officer in charge on three CONUS training missions and one OCONUS mission responsible for the deployment and redeployment of over $100 million worth of aircraft and equipment. During this period, he completed two combat theater deployments and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism during the life saving rescue of an American Soldier while under direct enemy fire. He was awarded the Sikorsky Aircraft Rescue Award and Army Commendation Medal for being the first responder to an aircraft crash at a training exercise and received the Sikorsky Aircraft Maintenance Award for his efforts in promoting excellent maintenance procedures.
SSG Carnes’ outstanding achievements resulted in his selection to attend the Warrant Officer Candidate Course, and have earned him recognition as the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America Henry Q. Dunn Crew Chief of the Year.
SFC James R. Lamping’s performance this last year as a Platoon Sergeant has been nothing short of amazing. He has served as a forward deployed noncommissioned officer in charge, responsible for the welfare of 26 Soldiers. During this time he also oversaw the withdrawal of Charlie Company, 1-160th SOAR (A)’s enduring presence in Afghanistan, a feat that required superb attention to detail with property accountability.
As a true testament to his leadership abilities he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism as a fully mission qualified (FMQ) nonrated crew member. While serving stateside his outstanding, dedicated leadership was still evident. Always with the future of the Night Stalkers on his mind he was responsible for four promotions with-in his platoon and seven aviation readiness level progressions, thus building combat power for the Regiment and more importantly the ground force. Further, he oversaw the divestment of 13 MH-60Ls worth in excess of $346 million and did so with zero loss of equipment.
SFC Lamping’s actions are clearly worthy of emulation in every sense and identify him as the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America Rodney J.T. Yano Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
CW4 Mark Crane is truly the standard that all Army Aviators strive to be. A quiet and humble professional, he continuously puts the mission, the men, and the organization ahead of himself and never asks for anything in return.
As a Special Operations company standardization pilot, regimental flight lead, or a senior mentor, his commitment to the team is unmatched. He has excelled at every position and accomplishes every task given to him; when he speaks in a room, people listen. He has made immeasurable contributions that will be felt throughout the entire Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
His leadership and expertise culminated with his selection as the lead planner and flight lead for two aircraft MH-60L Defensive Armed Penetrators that led a no-notice contingency operation directed by the President of the United States, resulting in the elimination of a high value target. For his actions during that effort, he was awarded the Silver Star.
CW4 Crane’s professionalism, resilience and drive are without a doubt of the highest caliber and make him the clear choice for recognition as the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America Michael J. Novosel Aviator of the Year.
SFC Luke F. Backes is one of the most talented and hard-working leaders in the Night Stalker organization. During his seven years at the Regiment he has continuously proven himself as a fully mission qualified MH-60L and MH-60M technical inspector, an MH-60M maintenance section sergeant, and a flight platoon sergeant in Charlie Company.
His superior mental acumen, unparalleled leadership, and an uncanny ability to conduct and execute contingency planning enabled his three man task force to lead a team of 20 Army, Navy, Air Force, and civilian personnel in order to accomplish a feat that typically takes months and an enormous degree of manpower. Despite the pressure of having a general officer oversee the event, his superior execution of a non-standard, inter-theater recovery of a highly modified MH-60M helicopter was paramount to the unit’s overall success and ability to conduct future operations. He also spearheaded a first of its kind quality control training program that standardizes all maintenance related training and directly affects over 2,200 Regiment Soldiers.
SFC Luke Backes not only went above and beyond the call of duty but constantly sets the standard for his peers and subordinates. He is truly deserving of the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America Robert M. Leich Award.
Currently the only assault helicopter battalion in the U.S. Army Reserves, 8-229th is the first attack battalion in the Army to convert to a UH-60 equipped assault battalion under the Aviation Restructuring Initiative. 8-229th has led the way for the Army Reserves not only in the conversion process, but also in individual and collective training.
This year alone, the Flying Tigers created 10 new combat crews and have begun to support countless training missions for the Army Reserve, Army National Guard as well as the Active Component. The unit has coordinated and led 21 aircraft transfers in support of the conversion, transferred or received over 150 line items of equipment and completed aggressive battalion-led mission essential task list (METL)-focused training in mission command, sustainment operations, air movement and air assault. The professionalism and dedication of 8-229th Soldiers has been the most important ingredient in the Battalion’s successful conversion since nearly every Soldier’s duties and responsibilities have changed in some manner.
The Flying Tigers’ agile, adaptive and innovative leaders and Soldiers have overcome every obstacle encountered as they become the first fully converted assault battalion in the Army and as a result have earned the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America USAR Unit of the Year award.
During the year 2015, the 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter), 150th Aviation Regiment of the New Jersey Army National Guard was deployed to Kosovo in support of KFOR as part of the KFOR 19 rotation. While deployed the Battalion was tasked with being the command element for all U.S. Army Aviation assets (lift and MEDEVAC) and several units of infantry from our NATO partners. This mission allowed the unit to conduct ground and aerial missions all of which resulted in success and brought many accolades from higher headquarters, our NATO partners, and the Kosovo government. In addition to conducting normal missions, the unit came together and conducted numerous community service projects which ultimately led to the improvement of the local area outside of Camp Bondsteel, and recognition from the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo. In addition, the rear detachment had maintained its operations and responsibilities to the State of New Jersey while shutting down two flight facilities and opening a brand new facility. The rear also supported many domestic operations including several national special security events and a potential hurricane response.
The accomplishments of the Soldiers of 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion identify them as the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America John J. Stanko ARNG Aviation Unit of the Year.
The 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment (Airborne) is tasked to deploy an Army Special Operations Aviation Task Force as part of the National Mission Force or a Joint Special Operations Task Force to conduct precision air assault and attack helicopter operations in all environments throughout the operational continuum.
Agile and lethal, the Battalion has achieved unparalleled levels of success by spear-heading the tactical employment of Army Special Operations Aviation while building a dynamic organization centered upon the mission and the individual Nightstalker and their Family.
The Battalion performs both assault and attack missions with highly-modified A/MH-6M and MH-60M helicopters. This year 1-160th personnel have supported nearly 9,000 flight hours of Joint training exercises and 1,000 flight hours in support of classified overseas contingency operations (OCO) missions.
Relevant and ready, the unit remains at the forefront of Army Aviation operations. Whether taking the fight to the enemy, caring for Nightstalker families, or creating new processes and procedures to refine the organization, 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) continues its proud legacy of mission success and has earned recognition as the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America Active Aviation Unit of the Year.
1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, Task Force No Mercy, is the sole aviation task force supporting operations in Train Advise Assist Command South (TAAC-S) and Advise Assist Command Southeast (AAC-SE). The Task Force deployed in April of 2015 to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support; organized as a headquarters and headquarters company, “Avengers;” two attack reconnaissance companies, “Bearcats” and “Paladins;” one helicopter assault company, “Phantoms;” one heavy helicopter platoon, “Pachyderms;” four forward support medical evacuation teams, “DUSTOFF;” and one aviation maintenance company, “Dragonslayers.” During this deployment, No Mercy provided outstanding aviation support for multiple ground force commanders, safely flying over 14,000 combat hours.
Equipped with newly fielded AH-64E Guardian Apaches, TF No Mercy made a significant contribution to the future of Army Aviation by validating new technology and tactics, techniques, and procedures in a dynamic combat environment. The unit’s focus on manned and unmanned aircraft integration greatly enhanced situational awareness, improved combat effectiveness, and increased lethality. Additionally, the unit captured lessons learned for the benefit of follow on units.
Task Force No Mercy’s accomplishments and excellence in training, leadership, safety and maintenance clearly identify it as the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America Outstanding Aviation Unit of the Year.
From a 34% growth in Membership, in spite of losing the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, to holding seven events in the course of 2015, Air Assault Chapter did it all. They raised over $80,000 with their Annual Golf Tournament and sponsored eight scholarships to benefit their Soldiers and Families. In addition they sponsored three Soldiers and spouses to the 2015 AAAA Annual Summit in Nashville and awarded 72 Orders of Saint Michael. Finally, they signed up
over 107 deploying Soldiers for the AAAA dues waiver program wherein Deploying Soldiers get a free one year membership or membership extension to their existing membership from AAAA National. Congratulations to President COL Hawk Ruth, Ret., and his leadership team.
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter continued to dominate this category by taking care of Soldiers with deployed memberships and by holding 16 – yes 16 – membership events and meetings during the year. Though largely civilian-based, they really take care of Soldiers. They sponsored Soldiers and Spouses to the AAAA Annual Summit in 2015, increased their scholarships to nine, and issued 15 Orders of Saint Michael to Outstanding Soldiers and DACs. In addition,
they took part in the AAAA National supported Soldier of the Month Program to recognize outstanding Soldiers in their chapter. Congratulations to Chapter President, COL John Gallagher, Ret., and his chapter officers for taking care of their members.
Increasing their membership over 40% to 166 members in 2015, the U.S. Army Reserve centric Flying Tigers Chapter did a lot for Soldiers and Families. Holding 5 meetings, sending a Soldier and Spouse to the AAAA Annual Summit, sponsoring a scholarship, and making sure to hold officer elections has kept them delivering for their members all year long. They also made sure they took advantage of the free Soldier of the Month Program and recognized excellence in the ranks. Well done to President LTC Roger F. Deon, Jr. and his Team.
With only 44 members the Bavarian Chapter did a lot with a little during 2015 in this smallest category of AAAA Chapters. They increased membership, held meetings, and awarded 18 Orders of Saint Michael to Soldiers in their area of operation. Finally, they took the time to identify their Soldiers of the Month and made sure they lived the AAAA Mission Statement, “Supporting the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family.” Outstanding work, President LTC Michael Reyburn, to you and your chapter officers. Keep on growing in 2016!