President’s Cockpit / By BG E.J. Sinclair, Ret.: The 2016 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit in Atlanta once again brought our whole
Army Aviation Community together for a few days of Networking, Recognition, Voice and Support events to make sure we were on track to make our mission statement real for you.
AAAA National President and Executive Director, BG (Ret.) E.J. Sinclair and Bill Harris, respectively, present COL (Ret.) Harry Townsend with the Art and Dotty Kesten Founders’ Award, Apr. 29th at the 2016 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit in Atlanta, GA while his friend, Ann Burke (seated next to him), and Dotty Kesten (right of Ann) applaud. / AAPI PHOTO BY RENÉ BIDEZ
The Summit was a great success by all measures from the feedback we have received from participants. A special thanks to Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia, TRADOC Commander General Dave Perkins, Ms. Steffanie Easter, Principal Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, and the Army Aviation leadership for their presentations. They added a lot to the Summit.
Take a look on our website for the new video we opened the event with on Friday morning, April 29, to see what I mean in terms of what AAAA does year round. See the Summit review photo pages starting on page 24 of this issue to get a good feel for what the 2016 Summit accomplished.
From the opening video, to the Oscar Night of Army Aviation at the Friday night Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, to the spouse programs and the closing Soldier Concert, AAAA 2016 was all about you and your family, professionally and personally.
This year for the first time we also held practical workshops for our chapter officers. We had over half our chapters attend to receive training and ask questions on everything from the scholarship program to financial reporting to the awards program and Order of Saint Michael.
We also offered to fly in, on National’s dime, one junior ranking Soldier from each chapter. Again, almost half our chapters, 34 in fact, responded, identified their Soldier and we did the rest for the Soldiers to attend the Summit.
Speaking of support, I cannot thank the National Guard enough. From the aircraft supplied and LZ operations to the fantastic showing of State Army Aviation Officers and ARNG brigade command teams, the National Guard was present in a big way. Thank you all very much!
The event closed with the Kellie Pickler and Trace Adkins concert but the real highlight for me was being able to present the Art and Dotty Kesten Founders’ award to COL (Ret.) Harry Townsend. Harry is a Hall of Famer, Cub Club member, Scholarship board member who always finds a way to get a task done. Whether that challenge was learning to fly in the then-segregated Army, to being one of the first Special Operations Aviators, to raising money for scholarships – Harry is simply the best. The icing on the cake was that Dotty Kesten herself was seated at the same table and helped me co-present the award.
If you get the impression that we are a family in Army Aviation Association of America, you are correct. Thanks to all who made 2016 such a success, financially, logistically, professionally and most importantly in joining us in Supporting the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family! Mark your calendars for April 26-28, 2017 in Nashville.
BG E.J. Sinclair, Ret.
32nd President, AAAA