128th Aviation Brigade / By SFC James Conover: Trust is the bedrock of the Army Profession. The 128th Aviation Brigade’s primary mission for the past 27 years has been to train and certify Aviation maintainers to perform their MOS.
Mr. Gary Moore provides one on one instruction to an IET student on the AH-64D Sighting Systems./U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY SSG VICTOR GONZALEZ, 128th AVN BDE
The tour of duty for a uniformed Army Professional is three years, and mirrors most other assignments in Army Aviation with the force structure and mission as a key difference. The Brigade’s NCOs serve as instructors, small group leaders, and AIT platoon sergeants with varying levels of administrative and leadership roles as required. Most professional Army aviators and aviation mechanics fall right into their job outside of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and know what is expected of them immediately, but here at the 128th we are tasked with a specialized mission. This mission creates a need for a different kind of professional that has and continues to serve, and is vital for continuity, mentorship, and leadership for the brigade. This professional is the Department of the Army Civilian (DAC).
DACs serve in all levels of the 128th Avn. Bde. from instructor to deputy to the commander. They maintain continuity during times of transition or when uniformed military manpower is waning. The military force structure at the Brigade depends on the vital professional service of the Army Civilian. They epitomize the essential characteristics of the Army Profession.
Military Expertise: Most DACs in the Brigade have served Army Aviation as uniformed members. Most have served with the Brigade’s predecessor, the U.S. Army Aviation Logistic School (USAALS).
Honorable Service: The continued honorable service of DACs is the foundation of the Brigade and honorable service is at the core of the Army Ethic.
Trust: The bedrock of the Army Profession. The Brigade DAC is entrusted to train and certify the next generation of Army Aviation mechanics.
Esprit de Corps: We are motivated daily by the display of professionalism on the part of our civilians and it is evident in the pride they exhibit in everything they do.
Stewardship of the Profession: All Army professionals have the duty to be faithful, responsible, and accountable stewards, advancing the Army Profession, strengthening the Army culture of trust, and conveying the legacy we inherited from those who led the way. Senior leaders have a special responsibility to ensure the present and future effectiveness of the Army.
Certify Army Professionals
Certification is verification and validation of an Army professional’s character, competence, and commitment to fulfill responsibilities and successfully perform assigned duty with discipline and to standard. Through certification, the Army strengthens trust by confirming the professional development of Soldiers and DACs and the readiness of organizations. Certification is what we do here at the 128th Avn. Bde. and the professional DAC is the keystone to making that mission successful.
Two of the DAC positions within this framework and structure for the 1-210th Avn. Regt. are the battalion deputy commander and senior training manager. The current 1-210th Avn. Regt. Deputy Commander has served for five years in that position and has supported and advised three battalion command teams. He serves in a position most closely mirroring that of a battalion executive officer in an operational unit and has been assigned to the Brigade for 14 years and served in uniform for 21 years.
One of the battalion senior training managers is responsible for the UH-60A/L/M and CH-47F Electrical (15F) / Avionics Training (15N); Aircraft Hydraulics Training (15H); and Aviation Maintenance Technician (151A) courses. The 1-210th 15N/F/H and 151A senior training manager has served for 14 years and added the 15H this year; he transferred from Ft. Rucker, AL, and has trained and certified 27 Training Developers over that time. His efforts have ensured the continued success and modernization of UH-60 and CH-47 electrical and avionics training for the past 9 years. He has been assigned to the Brigade and previously USAALS for 21 years and served in uniform for 18 years.
The DACs at the 128th know all too well the sacrifice of their uniformed counterparts and the student Soldiers who we instruct and certify. Our shared professional ethic is at the heart of our identity. It is this professional ethic that has fostered a tradition of excellence for the past 27 years, and will continue to keep Army Aviation “Above the Best!”
SFC James Conover is the operations noncommissioned officer for 1st Battalion, 210 Aviation Regiment, 128th Aviation Brigade, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA.