Story by Staff Sgt. Anna Pongo
KFOR Regional Command East

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – From carrying water to people who have none, to rescuing people in medical emergencies, Kosovo Force Regional Command-East’s (KFOR RC-E) Task Force Aviation works ceaselessly to ensure that the Soldiers and community in Kosovo are safe and secure.

Although, those who fly the helicopters couldn’t do their job without the mechanics who work long hours to keep the aircraft airborne. For these Soldiers with the 1-131st Aviation Regiment, Task Force Yellowhammer, from the Alabama Army National Guard, the behind-the-scenes maintenance they execute to keep the UH-60 Black Hawks flying, ensures the success of KFOR’s mission in Kosovo.

“For every hour of flight there is roughly 4 hours of maintenance that goes along with it,” explained 1st Sgt. David Forbes, the 1st Sgt. for D Co., 1-131st Aviation Regiment. “The flying part would not happen without the maintenance piece to keep them operating safely.”

All this responsibility means that often these Soldiers are working long hours.

“You will often find us out here until 8 o’clock at night on Saturdays, when most have already called it quits at noon,” said Forbes. “And then, depending on the mission requirements, we will most likely be out here on Sundays as well. There’s always something going on. There is not a lot of slow time in maintenance.”

The maintenance company is made up of 36 Soldiers who fall into the Headquarters Platoon, Component Repair Platoon and Allied Shops Platoon. Each works together to make the mission a success.

The Headquarters Platoon is made up of the command team, Production and Quality Control and Supply.

The members of Quality Control (TI’s) are the subject matter experts of aircraft. They look over each aspect of the repairs to ensure they are up to specifications and maintainers are capable of performing their job to standard.

“The most important part, you can’t fly without supply,” said Forbes. “We keep some bench stock here, but if it’s something big like a blade or an engine, it is ordered. – They are critical. Once we run out of nuts and bolts, someone has to be there to replenish that stock location.”

Spc. Courtney Martin, an Automated Logistics Specialist with D Co. expresses how the mission requirements affect her day-to-day job working in supply.

“My normal day is non-stop,” said Martin. “You’re either making sure that something is on order, placing an order for the guys or handing them parts that they need so the aircraft can keep running… This is the heart of aviation because your supply people have to keep everything ordered to keep everyone flying.”

The Maintenance and Component Repair Platoon is made up of the overall maintainers of the aircraft. The Soldiers’ military occupational specialties are Army UH-60 (Blackhawk) Helicopter Repairer, CH-47 (Chinook) Helicopter Repairer and AH-64 (Apache) Helicopter Repairer, but on this mobilization each works together to maintain the three medical specific UH-60Ls (Blackhawk) helicopters and six traditional lift UH-60Ls (Blackhawk) helicopters.

For these repairers, their daily tasks include removing and installing aircraft subsystem assemblies such as engines, rotors, gearboxes, transmissions and mechanical flight controls.

Finally, there is the Back Shops Platoon. “There you have engine shop-which is Power Plant,” explained Forbes. “You have Powertrain shop-which is drivetrain and transmissions, Sheet Metal shop-which is everything that has a screw go through it and blade repairs, and you’ve got Avionics and Electrical shop that kind of go (work) together.”

Each of these sections plays a vital role in keeping the helicopters safe for their missions.

Those who work in Sheet Metal have the additional challenge of being able to create composite work with fiberglass and sheet metal.

“We need to be able to think outside the box,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Hollingsworth, who is the non-commissioned officer in charge of sheet metal, one of the back shops section sergeants. “For a lot of our stuff, there is no right or wrong way of doing it because our job is so unique. It’s not cut and dry. We always have the challenge of trying to make something work, over just pulling and replacing a part.”

­Being able to solve problems you may have not encountered before is a vital part of everyone’s job who works in D Co.

Staff Sgt. Shena Senatore works in Avionics and is a technical inspector for the unit AVNX/ELE and NVG shop. This means she looks at the repairs after they are complete to ensure that the aircraft is airworthy.

“It’s exciting to see them learn and troubleshoot and accomplish a task on their own,” said Senatore. “That’s one of my favorite parts of the job. It’s been a growing experience for all of us for sure, but luckily we’ve tackled almost all the preexisting faults. We’ve gotten our heads above the water and learned from them all.”

Though the primary goal for the unit is to keep the UH-60s flying safely every day, a secondary one is for each Soldier to gain new experiences and expertise in aircraft maintenance.

“We are always working to grow the maintainers and their skills,” said Forbes. “Cross training is important.”

Aircraft Pneudraulics repairer, Spc. Micheal Weaver is an example of this cross training. Through this deployment, he has learned many new skills to help in all areas of aircraft maintenance.

“I’ve been helping the 15Ts (UH-60 Blackhawk Repairers) with their inspections and the maintenance,” explained Weaver. “I try to get in with them and they teach me stuff so I can help out as much as possible. It’s been great training all around and if they need to operate the crane to pull an engine, I do that.”

Through all their hard work the Soldiers of D Co. have been able to ensure the success of aviation in KFOR and allowed them to log almost 1,500 hours of flight time across Kosovo.

“Aviation maintenance is the cornerstone of any aviation program,” said Forbes. “They go fly, but when they come back, they can’t go again until we do our thing.”

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Warren Wright
KFOR Regional Command East

U.S. Army helicopter repairers and maintainers play a critical role in keeping aviation assets flying through routine upkeep and conducting on-the-spot repairs, keeping helicopters safe and ready to fly in hundreds of Army missions.

At Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, home to Kosovo Force’s Regional Command – East, the aircraft maintenance mission falls to the Soldiers of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, Virginia National Guard. The Delta Co. Soldiers maintain and repair the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters flown by their battalion in support of the NATO mission in Kosovo.

Blackhawk helicopter mechanics are specifically trained to remove, repair and install complex assemblies such as engines, rotors, gearboxes, transmissions, mechanical flight controls and other components, ensuring aircraft are always safe and operational.

“Aircraft maintenance is important because people’s lives are in jeopardy and for the mission to be successful, the maintenance has to be on point, has to be done correctly, and has to be done to a certain standard,” said Sgt. 1st Class Wayne J. Abrams, a maintenance platoon sergeant with Delta Co.

To keep helicopters flying and flying safely, aircraft are put through regular maintenance based on the number of hours flown. Even if the helicopter is performing above standards, they still undergo routine checks and maintenance, the degree of which is determent by the cycle, or phase, they fall under based on the number of hours they have been operated.

“This is not like working on a normal vehicle,” Abrams said. Once the aircraft goes into its reset phase, “pretty much everything gets inspected, everything gets redone, rebuilt and then is pushed back out. And you pretty much do the same thing over again until that lifespan is up for that aircraft.”

Abrams said that with good maintenance and a good crew, an aircraft could last anywhere between 10,000 and 12,000 flight hours and even further in some cases. However, a dedicated, knowledgeable, and responsible maintenance crew is needed to ensure aircrews get the most out of their helicopters.

“It’s takes initiative, it takes integrity, it takes honesty, it takes direction, and it takes good leadership, to (maintain these aircraft),” he said.
“You have to be able to trust in your leaders; you have to be able to trust yourself to actually do the job properly.”

And while aircraft maintainers are exceptionally knowledgeable in their field, having undergone 15 weeks of advanced individual training followed by in-depth on-the-job instruction, even the most seasoned maintainers are still learning about their helicopters.

“With these aircraft, you’re never going to know everything,” Abrams said. “So, if you have a good leader, a good platoon sergeant, or a good section leader that’s been doing maintenance for a while, you can learn from them. And they don’t have all the answers either. But they will direct you in the right way.”

Even a seasoned mechanic like Abrams is still learning more about the helicopter he’s spent the last 20 years working on and maintaining.

“Every day, I still learn from my lower enlisted,” he said. “They can go to the book and find something that I didn’t even know about. I mean, with this aircraft, you will never know everything. It will take years and years to know everything.”

Even after 20 years, Abrams still enjoys working on the Blackhawk helicopter. But, even more, he enjoys teaching the next generation of Soldiers who will carry on as Blackhawk helicopter repairers.

“I love to see how they’re into it and how they love to work on it,” he said. “I love to see them take pride in their work, and that’s what does it for me.”

For more information on helicopter maintenance and National Guard UH-60 helicopter repairers, go to

Photo by Sgt. Matthew Lucibello
130th Public Affairs Detachment

UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, operated by soldiers of Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment (MEDEVAC), Connecticut Army National Guard, takeoff at the Army Aviation Support Facility, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, Feb. 7, 2023. Soldiers from the 126th are deploying to the Central Command Area of Responsibility in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew Lucibello)

Story by Sarah Windmueller
U.S. Army Cadet Command (Army ROTC)

As a college athlete, standout student, and one of the first Army ROTC Cadets from Benedict College to branch aviation in over 30 years, Corey Witter knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without family.

After losing his mother to breast cancer at the age of 14, Witter’s older brother, Jahleel, stepped in as his legal guardian, giving Witter the assurance and guidance he needed to focus on accomplishing his goals and join the military.

“No matter what you go through there’s a lot you can do even with limited opportunities.” Witter said. “You have to make the most of what’s been handed to you and then go from there. It always works out.”

From the get-go, Witter’s family determined their strength would not be sidetracked by hardship – and they certainly experienced their fair share of obstacles.

Sandra, Witter’s mom, battled chronic illness her entire life, including diabetes, heart problems and kidney issues. She was unable to work because of her health limitations.

Seeking family support, Sandra moved herself and her two boys from Beaufort, South Carolina to Kansas in 2002 where her younger sister, the boys’ aunt, was located.

For nine years they lived together with their aunt’s family until her death in 2011.

“We moved back to Beaufort because my aunt passed away from breast cancer,” Witter said.

Mourning the loss of her sister, Sandra took a realistic look at her illness battles and knew a move back to Beaufort had to happen. It was a difficult transition for the boys, but they needed to be close to family.

“She’d be in and out of the hospital from all of the things she had, and she had so many different things going on health-wise,” Jahleel said.

It wasn’t long after their move home to Beaufort that the family received news that Sandra had breast cancer.

She began treatment immediately.

Witter, who was 12 at the time, remembers his mom’s positive outlook regarding the internal battle her body was fighting.

“Even though you could see she was sick, you would never know with how she acted,” Witter said. “She was probably one of the strongest people I have ever seen in my life as far as trying to be positive even when everything around you isn’t positive.”

Jahleel saw his mom’s strength as well, but being six years older and involved in her daily healthcare, he remembers a much different side of the story.

“She told me something along the lines of, ‘I’m not going to be here forever, so you’ve got to make sure that you look out for your brother. All of the things that you know, I need you to be able to do when I’m gone because you’re all I have and I want you to be there for your brother,’” Jahleel said.

As time progressed, Sandra’s cancer went terminal.

Witter recalls her continuously sunny outlook, even as time was running out.

“After she stopped chemo, we had to basically accept that it was going to happen. It wasn’t like when somebody all of the sudden passes away, this was different in that you knew it was coming for months in advance.”

Naturally quiet, Witter didn’t broadcast his emotions or allow others to know what was happening at home.

“When I was at school, I didn’t necessarily talk about anything that was going on,” Witter said. “Maybe one or two people knew, but nobody else really knew what was happening.”

Sandra Witter passed away October 30, 2014 with her boys at her side.

The boys were just 20 and 14-years-old.

Life happened quickly, and both boys had to step up to the plate.

Jahleel took on a full-time job and became Corey’s legal guardian.

“I told him I would do what I can to make sure everything was good, and that’s what I did,” Jahleel said.

“He focused on his grades and school, and I focused on taking care of everything.”

Witter seized this opportunity and threw himself into excelling in his studies and extracurricular activities. On top of being a straight-A student, he played football, basketball and track.

“I like being occupied. I’m not really the type of person that likes to sit around,” Witter said. “When I don’t do a lot, it just feels like something is missing or like I should be doing something else.”

While balancing his activities, Witter also began looking ahead to life after high school. The military was something he’d been interested in and was “always towards the top of the list” when it came to future careers.

His sophomore year, he tested the water by joining his high school’s Air Force JROTC program.

“I signed up just to see what it was like – like a test.” he said. “I stayed in because I ended up liking the structure and the vibe and it felt like it fit me.”

The program pushed Witter out of his reserved shell and presented leadership opportunities that continued to grow his interest in joining the military.

“He was always devoted to the goal. It’s one of the things that stands out even today. He’s more focused,” Jahleel said.

After graduating from Beaufort High School in 2018, Witter made the decision to attend Benedict College, a historically black college (HBCU), on a full academic scholarship. He also joined the school’s track team as a decathlete.

He focused on his studies and athletics until fate stepped in one morning during track practice.

Anthony Robertson is the Benedict College ROTC Coordinator, he’s also an Army ROTC alumnus of Benedict College. He noticed Witter and his teammates warming up and walked over to speak with them about the ROTC program.

“He came up to me and a couple other people one day, and I was listening, but it was going in one ear and out the other. I wasn’t really interested whatsoever,” Witter said.

Robertson confirms that Witter’s attention seemed elsewhere. But, to his surprise, Witter showed up outside his office a few weeks later.

“He said, ‘You’re in charge of ROTC?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I am,’ and he said, ‘I would like to join,’” Robertson recalls.

After meeting Robertson that morning on the track field, he was convinced ROTC wasn’t for him, but fate began to work their way into his daily life.

“I started thinking about what I was going to do after I graduated college and then I started seeing Cadets walking around campus in their uniforms,” Witter said.

He stopped some of the Cadets to talk about the program and their experiences.

“I just felt like it was a good opportunity; it would be stable income – a guaranteed job,” he said.

Witter found himself in Robertson’s office just days later signing up to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

“The rest is history. He was serious, he was all the way locked in,” Robertson said. “He was a great athlete, he was a great student, his GPA was high, he was a Campus Cadet with the Campus Police Department, and so the bench point for greatness started right then.”

Witter cut his hair, enlisted in the Army National Guard, and took a semester off to attend Basic Advanced Individual Training.

Back from training and officially enrolled in Army ROTC, Witter began to look at his future options. Already a Criminal Justice major, he thought joining the Military Intelligence branch would partner well with his current studies…until he was introduced to helicopters.

“We had a brief on aviation that was really interesting and that changed my whole mindset about what I wanted to do,” Witter said.

Robertson also pushed Witter to think about pursuing the aviation branch and flying helicopters.

“I encouraged him to do some research on it, and I also encouraged him to research the percentage of African Americans who fly helicopters,” Robertson said.

Of the 144 Army ROTC Cadets who branched aviation and will commission this year, only six were African American.

After his research and decision to branch aviation, Witter began studying for the Selection Instrument for Flight Training (SIFT).

The SIFT is a measure of multiple aptitudes, focusing mainly on S.T.E.M.

The SIFT is the first hurdle Witter had to cross to qualify for aviation service. Weeks of studying led to the exam day, and then Witter had to wait.

“After studying and testing he came back with the highest score the ROTC program had ever seen,” Robertson said. “He did everything else right in the ROTC program, so he’s going aviation.”

“I knew Corey had what it takes to be great…He fits everything that embodies being a college student, an ROTC student, he serves in the national guard,” Robertson adds. “He’s a shining example, who I encourage students to pattern themselves behind.”

Witter’s future was confirmed this past fall when he was selected for aviation. He’ll be heading to Ft. Rucker, Alabama to learn how to fly Chinook helicopters after commissioning.

“There’s a lot of things you can do in military, but I feel like flying is one of the biggest things that you can do and it’s one of the greatest opportunities that I’ve seen so far and one of the most interesting,” he said.

Witter also finds the civilian career options for aviators appealing as he plans to one day fly airplanes for a major airline.

Even as Witter knocks out goals toward his future, his brother, Jahleel, is still very present in his life.

“He comes first that’s just how it is,” Jahleel said. “When I made the promise to my mom that I would take care of him, I meant that on all aspects of anything that I could possibly do to make things better or his life easier, it’s what I do.”

Witter took his brother’s promise to heart, and it resonates with him today, remaining a prime focus for his leadership intentions as a future officer in the Army.

“Him putting his life on pause, it was a really big sacrifice for me, and that’s what drives me,” Witter said. “I’m not an aggressive leader but having the experiences that I do – most people haven’t had their parents die – so carrying that with me will help me understand how to treat people and understand their experiences.”

Photo by Pvt. Kaylan Joseph
27th Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers with Bravo Company, 2-10 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 10th combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division conducted a routine flight around Fort Drum, N.Y. on December 21, 2022. The UH60 Blackhawk has been in service since 1979. (U.S. Army Photos by Pfc. Kaylan Joseph)

Story by Sgt. Brittany Washington
10th Combat Aviation Brigade

FORT DRUM, N.Y – Maj. Tyler Smith of the Charlie Company, 3-10 General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade hosted medical personnel from Samaritan Medical Center on, Jan. 26, where they were able to have an in-depth discussion on the medical evacuation, or medevac, capabilities offered here on and off post.

Medical personnel included the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Short, Medical Director of the Emergency Services Dr. Meja Gray and Chair of Emergency Medicine Sarah Delaney who were able to tour the facility, an HH-60M Black Hawk and a CH-47F Chinook.

The walk-through allowed each party to ask questions and make suggestions on how to better implement their services alongside their partners, LifeNet Health, who also serve the North Country when medevac services are necessary.

“It’s important to note that this is in conjunction with LifeNet,” said Smith. “We’re also providing the service to Soldiers and Family members of Fort Drum.”

This partnership between Samaritan, LifeNet and Fort Drum is vital to show that not only can services be provided here on the post, but they can also be called upon as an option when emergencies arise.

Staff Sgt. Casey Chandler, a flight medic who is also New York state certified as a paramedic, has been in position for over a year, also believes this relationship between Samaritan and Fort Drum is incredibly important.

“It’s hugely important for us to be able to help our community,” mentions Chandler. “help the North Country and be able to treat patients.”

By fostering these relationships, beginning with the walk-through, shows how prepared and well trained the Army medical personnel are when the mission arises. Not only with training but the 14 Black Hawks used for medevac operations outfitted with all-weather capabilities equipment. This means when the civilian helicopters cannot fly through the icy skies, Fort Drum personnel can, shared Smith.

“We are definitely prepared for that, we train for that constantly,” states Chandler. “To be able to perform in inclement weather conditions and perform any type of mission”

Gray, Delaney and Short were given the option to view the duty room, where flight personnel wait in receipt of the mission. They were then escorted to view and get inside of a Black Hawk while touring the available medical components to help patients and even view the inside of a Chinook, to showcase the option to move more than one evacuee at a time.

Not having an on-post hospital, where a lot of the mission would resemble patient transfers to facilities with higher level of care, means that being able to offer these services would be beneficial to the community and to our service members and their families, says Smith.

“This has given our emergency department physician leadership a chance to really understand what the capabilities are of the 10th CAB Medics,” said Short. “Give them a comfort level that when and if we need to call on them, that they’re in good hands and our physicians are comfortable with that.”

Having the 10th CAB MEDEVAC team showcase the capabilities to the physician leadership at Samaritan Medical Center is the steppingstone to building a strong partnership in the future.

“I hope it manifests in the nest time that there’s a service member, family member or DoD beneficiary that needs to be moved,” reflects Smith. “And all other resources have been exhausted that they think of us.”

Courtesy Photo
2nd Combat Aviation Brigade

Republic of Korea Army Lt. Gen. Ret. Chun, In-Bum sits in the door way of a HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter after receiving a capabilities brief of the medical evacuation capabilities of the aircraft. Members of Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation (PIEF) visits the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division as part of their visit to Camp Humphreys. The members of PIEF were given a capabilities brief of the UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47F Chinook helicopters. (U.S. Army Courtesy Photo by Sgt. First Class Joshua Threadgill)

Story by Maj. Robert Fellingham
10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command

U.S. Army air defenders from Charlie Battery, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment completed sling load training at their forward-deployed site near the Black Sea on Jan. 25. They are deployed in support of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Romania.

“Having our Soldiers train on sling-load operations not only provides the commander some flexible employment options, but tactically it allows us to conduct some deep maneuver and air assault operations with the units that we are supporting,” said Capt. Nathan Jackson, the commander of Charlie Battery, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

The unit practiced sling loading both the Avenger and the Sentinel A3 radar variant, which is one of the first times this has been done with the Sentinel in theater.

The Avenger weapon system is an all-terrain, all-weather air & missile defense system that is capable against rotary-wing, fixed-wing, unmanned aircraft, and cruise missiles while the Sentinel A3 provides early warning detection and identification of aerial threats.

Just days after the invasion began, Avenger short-range air defense Soldiers and equipment from 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment deployed to Romania to help assure our NATO Ally that we are committed to our obligations under Article 5, and to deter any potential acts of aggression against NATO by providing short-range air defense of Allied forces. Elements of 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment have maintained deployments in Romania, Slovakia, and Poland since early 2022.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for air defense soldiers to see this side of air assault operations, to be able to build/expand their toolkits with these capabilities. I received a lot of positive feedback from the Soldiers as this is something they don’t get to do every day, to help build these capabilities for our future operations,” said Jackson.

Charlie Battery was supported by a Chinook helicopter crew from Bravo Company, 2-501, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, who are also deployed to Romania as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

U.S. Army Europe and Africa has led the Department of Defense’s Atlantic Resolve land efforts by rotating units from CONUS to Europe since April, 2014. There are four types of U.S. Army Atlantic Resolve rotations – armored, aviation, sustainment task force, and division headquarters. Rotational units conduct bilateral, joint, and multinational training events across more than a dozen countries. Atlantic Resolve is funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, which enables the U.S. to enhance deterrence, increase readiness, and support NATO.

AAAA President’s Cockpit / MG Tim Crosby, U.S. Army Retired:

I hope everyone has recovered from last month’s Summit in Nashville. If you could not make it, you missed our largest and what many are declaring our best AAAA Summit ever. It may have taken us three years to get there, but the 2022 AAAA Annual Summit by all metrics was a huge success. You could just feel the energy throughout the briefings, down on the floor and at the social events. Navigating the last six months leading up to the Summit were high adventure indeed as COVID cases rose and fell and rose and fell, but at the end of the day our timing was just right.

From the ribbon cutting on Sunday, April 3, 2022, with the Chief, GEN McConville, Chief of National Guard, GEN Hokanson and the Six-Pack Plus one, to the final Soldier Appreciation Concert on Wednesday night, the event could not have gone better. Finally getting together again in real time, with real people, in a real place was a real pleasure and was enabled by YOUR AAAA team. From record attendance at 8,000, to all-time high exhibit revenue, the 2022 Summit was an outstanding event, focused on our AAAA Pillars.

That said, the 2022 Summit literally would not have happened if it was not for the strong and sustained support of our Branch Chief, MG Dave Francis and his team. The encouragement and particularly the expertise and professionalism they displayed in getting the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army’s questions answered and securing the final approval for military attendance at the Summit on March 10, 2022 was off the charts. During our semi-annual meeting, the National Executive Board (NEB) recognized Branch Command Surgeon, COL (Doctor) Nicole Powell-Dunford with a Silver Order of St Michael and a AAAA lifetime membership. Nicole is the one that shepherded us through the wickets to a low-risk health assessment by Health Command on March 4, 2022 that helped pave the way for the AASA’s decision.

Combined with our event cancellation insurance from the last two years, our Association has emerged from the pandemic at an all-time financial strength in terms of both assets and net earnings, and this 2022 Summit has only improved on that. Membership is also surging with almost 19,000 members, a recent record.

Special thanks to all our industry Corporate Members who stuck with us through two cancelled Summits, many of them simply rolling the money paid for their exhibits from year to year. Our industry partners are key members of our association; we could not be successful without them. As many of you know, AAAA has not raised its individual membership dues since 1998. Exhibit sales at the Summit each year makes this possible by offsetting the deficit in dues. Thank you industry partners!

Make sure you flip back to the full photo review of the Summit starting on page 42 to get a real feel for the event. If you were not able to join us this year, put it on the calendar for next year April 26-28, 2023. You won’t be disappointed!

As I continue my trek around to all our 79 chapters, (I have visited 36 so far), my purpose is to emphasize that chapters and their members are what we are all about. The chapters provide the most relevant personal experience to our members on a month-to-month basis. I challenge you and encourage you to gather frequently offering professional development, networking, comradery, and yes, just plain fun. What a great opportunity for leaders to mentor and embrace their aviation teams. We at AAAA National are here to help you facilitate your chapter activities.
After seeing all the Soldiers, civilians, and industry members, the technology, and the energetic spirit at the AAAA Annual Summit a few weeks ago, I have to say there is no doubt that together AAAA and the Army Aviation Branch are truly… Above the Best!

MG Tim Crosby, U.S. Army Retired
35th President, AAAA

1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Story by Capt. Taylor Criswell
Sunday, March 20, 2022
By. Capt. Taylor Criswell

BAD WINDSHEIM, Germany – U.S. Soldiers from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, currently on rotation to Europe for Atlantic Resolve, took an opportunity last week to build community relations and internal comradery by entering the annual Bad Windsheim Wine Tower Run on March 20.

Col. Reggie Harper, Command Sgt. Maj. Tyrone Murphy and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Scott Durrer ran in the race, as did other leaders from the brigade.

1st Lt. Will Derrick of Charlie Company, 2-227, an avid athlete who competed in the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship last September, also participated in the Wine Tower Run with Air Cav and was impressed with the layout of the event.

“It was interesting to get to run through the historic areas of Bad Windsheim,” said Derrick. “It was cool to see the town come out and support the race, and you could tell they had a lot of pride in their event.”

Although there are not currently permanent-party Soldiers stationed at Storck Barracks near Bad Windsheim, there were for many years. Each rotational Army aviation unit has done its part to maintain strong relationships with the surrounding communities.

Storck Barracks has been the home to the Atlantic Resolve rotational aviation forces since 2017. But, for many years prior, Storck housed the 11th Aviation Brigade, during which time the American Soldiers were very much a part of the local communities.

“It is important for us as the rotational units to remember that we are guests in these communities,” explained Maj. Kurt Hunt, Brigade Executive Officer, and former semi-pro and All-Army soccer star who also ran in the race. “Participating in events like this allows us to interact with the public positively and enhance the already strong bond between the U.S. Army and the people of Germany.”

2022 was the first time the race was able to happen since the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a challenge since COVID for Soldiers to interact with the community.

“I have encountered nothing but exceptional people here in Germany,” said Capt. Chuck Leonard, AH64 pilot and adjutant to the brigade commander. “We are lucky to be stationed in such a supportive area where the locals welcome us into their community. This race was just one example of the meaningful and mutually embracing bonds we share with the people here in Middle Franconia.”

Races and community engagements are slowly repopulating as restrictions gradually become sparser in the region.

“This was a great way to meet the people whose country we are visiting,” Derrick mentioned. “It removes a lot of the mystery and unknowns about us and provides us the chance to interact as regular people.”