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Passing the Gavel

President’s Cockpit / MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired: This is likely the best Army Aviation Magazine since I took over as AAAA President back in April of 2019.

Outgoing AAAA president MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired welcomes incoming President MG Tim Crosby, U.S. Army Retired.

We all hoped this would also be our AAAA 2021 Mission Summit magazine this year, but as you know by now, we had to cancel the Summit due to COVID-based travel restrictions. With vaccines becoming more and more available and the infection rate declining in many states, I am hopeful this will be the last cancellation of a AAAA event due to COVID.

For our April-May issue, our senior most Army Aviator, Chief of Staff GEN Jim McConville, updates us on the state of our Army, including Army Aviation. There is no doubt the Chief is leading the charge to take care of our soldiers and families through his “People First” endeavors, just as it is clear he is transforming the Army with modernization of our fleets and doctrine, while maintaining readiness.

Branch Chief MG Dave Francis sets the stage for the remainder of the magazine by focusing on “preparing the branch for Large Scale Combat Operations” (LSCO). Many of the Army Aviation senior leaders follow, with updates from the Director of Army Aviation BG Mac McCurry, CFT Director MG Wally Rugen, AMCOM Commanding General MG Todd Royar, and PEO-Aviation BG Rob Barrie. Both the CSM of our Aviation Branch, CSM Jimmy Wilson, and Chief Warrant Officer of the Branch, CW5 Jon Koziol, provide timely updates, and Mr. Koziol introduces his replacement, CW5 Myke Lewis. We wish CW5 Koziol our very best as he moves on, and thank him for his leadership, and add our welcome to CW5 Lewis!

We at AAAA and all of Army Aviation give our congratulations to LTG Laura Richardson, nominated for a fourth star as Combatant Commander of Southern Command. She is only the second Army Aviator, male or female, to be nominated to be a Combatant Commander. General Richardson, you have our sincere thanks for your life-long continued selfless service to our nation. You are an inspiration to so many!

Over the next few months BG Mac McCurry will depart as Director of Army Aviation for a new position as Deputy G-8, Force Development, to be replaced as Director by incoming BG Clair Gill. We thank both officers for their past roles and wish them the best in their new ones! And we wish Senior Army Aviator COL Lori L. Robinson all the best in her new assignment as the deputy commander for support of the 10th Mountain Division (Light) at Fort Drum, NY.

Speaking of transitions, I must recognize the years of service COL Lou Bonham has given as President of the AAAA Scholarship Foundation, Inc (SFI). This year was the third consecutive year of the largest programs in our history – some 313 Army Aviation family members received a total of $537,000 in scholarship grants! Colonel Bonham will be succeeded this month by BG Mike Flowers as President of SFI. As one president to another, I sincerely thank Lou for his years of service, while welcoming another great Aviator and friend of AAAA, BG Mike Flowers.

On April 13 I will hold my last National Executive Board meeting followed by a general membership meeting to elect our incoming President and new National Executive Group. It has been a true privilege to be AAAA President the past two very unusual years, as well as the total eight years I have spent as a member of the National Executive Group.

I must thank AAAA Executive Director Bill Harris as well as his entire professional team, who are amazing. I have enjoyed the guidance and friendship of Bill and Janis Arena for years and know they will guide our next president well. Special thoughts for them both as Bill’s mother, Bobra Suiter Harris, just passed away at the age of 97 in March. A former Broadway and television actress, she was a powerful advocate for many of us in Army Aviation and will be sorely missed.

I also thank our Branch Chief MG Dave Francis for his leadership during these trying times and send him my personal best wishes as he continues command.

I thank our National Executive Group, MG Tim Crosby, MG Walt Davis, MG Wally Golden, MG Les Eisner, COL Hal Kushner, CW4 Becki Chambers, and LTC Jan Drabczuk, all of whom have been terrific in their posts these past two years.

I also welcome our newest NEG member and national Secretary BG Tim Edens to the group.

Finally, I must thank two past presidents who have worked overtime on critical special projects for us: BG Steve Mundt and BG Howard Yellen. Gentlemen, you have my sincere thanks for all you have done.

I am sure you all know our incoming President MG Tim Crosby quite well. A former Program Executive Officer Aviation and Master Aviator, Tim is just the person to lead AAAA into the future. Best wishes MG Crosby!

As I become a “former” President, I continue to pledge my efforts to support Army Aviation, our Branch, and the great AAAA in the future – FAREWELL!

MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired
34th President, AAAA
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Looking Back

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