Army Aviation

2024 Summit an Outstanding Success!

To all our members, it is so great to be back to the business of executing AAAA presidential duties after addressing a
pesky medical issue for the past few months. So much so, that I had the honor and privilege of attending a day (May 30) of
the ARSOAC and 160th SOAR activities at Fort Campbell, KY, which included a special and impactful Memorial Service
where they honor their fallen. Many thanks to BG Wilkenson and COL Waleski for having me be among their amazing
community of Night Stalkers… and for the opportunity to induct Mr. Steve Blasey into the Gold Order of Saint Michael.
Steve is a true patriot, who has given 40 years of selfless service to our Army, Army Aviation, and most especially to Special
Operations Aviation. A great way to get back to business!

With that, I have asked our Senior VP, MG Wally Golden, Ret., who so capably and professionally executed the 2024
Denver AAAA Annual Summit, to provide our members with a brief report on how things went. I want to personally
thank him for his efforts, and of course for the efforts of Bill Harris and Janis Arena and the entire AAAA professional
staff, for their incredible planning and execution of the Summit. Wally, I owe you a Cribbins or a Summit in 2025/26!!!

MG Walt Davis, U.S. Army Retired
36th President, AAAA

Mr. President, I am happy to report that the 2024 AAAA Annual Summit was an outstanding success in the face of some
pretty significant challenges. The mitigating actions that our team put together to avoid the experiences of other large
military associations in the Gaylord Rockies all worked!

Those actions included a very well-run busing system, increased exhibit space in a large heated and airconditioned tent
on the concrete apron adjoining the main exhibit hall, food trucks to augment the building’s food outlets, an amped up
registration process, and increased police security and parking lot management.

Never once was there any backed up traffic and we never maxed out the available parking thanks to our attendees who
heeded our pre-event instructions and used the bus system to and from the 22 overflow hotels and the Gaylord Rockies.

I sat in all the meetings with the hotel management and staff with our team and the coordination was impressive.

GEN Laura Richardson gave a landmark Keynote that hit all the key points from the cancellation of Future Attack
Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) to Unmanned Aircraft Systems, (UAS) and the way ahead for Army Aviation.

Although unable to attend at the last minute, the Honorable Gabe Camarillo, Under Secretary of the Army, sent a video
message that spelled out the DA vision for the future and rationale for cancelling FARA.

LTG Mary Izaguirre, Surgeon General of the Army was truly outstanding in her presentation on the realities of what we
face in near peer Large Scale Combat Operations in terms of casualty evacuation and forward medical treatment.

The Hall of Fame Induction Dinner was one of the high points as usual. I could not have been more proud to see two of
our foremost Aviation leaders, the former Chief of Staff U.S. Army, GEN Jim McConville, along with MG Jeff Schloesser,
be inducted. The heartfelt remarks by Viet Nam veterans, 2024 inductee CPT (Ret.) Ronald A. Radcliffe, and former CW2
J.O. Ratliff who represented 2024 inductee the late CPT Larry A. Taylor, Medal of Honor recipient, as his co-pilot for that
action, left us all in awe of their resilience, courage, and infectious enthusiasm for their times as Army Aviators.

The only downside I saw was the construction delay that prevented the large atrium at the Rockies Hotel from being open
during our event, but as usual our Army Aviators adapted and still had a great time.

Special thanks to our Branch Chief, MG Mac McCurry, who was with us all the way with his team and all the Aviation
GOSC members.

Finally, I want you to know that the selections for the AAAA President’s Award and the AAAA Soldier and Family
Award at the final concert could not have been better received. GEN J.D. Thurman was recognized for his decades of
support, vision, and guidance to the Army Aviation Branch. And Sadie and MG Mac McCurry got a well-deserved
standing ovation as they accepted the Soldier and Family award. From the looks on their faces, I am quite sure they were
all surprised!

Walt, you were missed for sure… especially by me. I look forward to a much more relaxing event next year at the
Nashville Opryland May 14-16 while I watch you run the show. With that, I will just say, “You have the Controls!”

Above the best.

MG Wally Golden, Ret.
Editor’s Note: for a photo wrap-up of the 2024 Summit see pages 48-57.