Army Aviation

On Final to the Annual Summit

It is hard to believe that another month has flown by. As you read this, we will have convened a meeting with the National Executive Group and our committee chairs to review several areas, importantly our efforts at developing an organizational strategic plan, and to set expectations for the upcoming National Executive Board meeting in April at the Summit. More to follow, but please check the AAAA website to make sure you know who the committee chairs are and get your issues to them; they are your conduit to each mission area from membership to awards, and Hall of Fame to Reserve Component affairs…and we value all feedback, recommendations, and issues you may have.

Next, you all by now have heard the very important news of Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program termination, and the intended investment in a UH-60M multi-year contract, further CH-47F Block II production, and a strong commitment to the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System, along with other unmanned systems and launched effects. While the FARA termination is certainly an impact to what was a priority required aviation capability, we can only move forward positively in support of these decisions that still ensure we are providing an indispensable Aviation capability in support of our Army. For sure we will hear much more about all of this during the excellent programs, panels, and presentations that are on the upcoming AAAA Annual Summit agenda in Denver next month.

And speaking of the Summit. We have received numerous cards and letters about a recent event hosted by another large military association at the same hotel, The Gaylord Rockies, where we will be conducting our Summit.
Fortunately, we had already sent our event Team to observe the other group’s meeting to assess and address potential issues and impacts for the conduct of our Summit. Led by AAAA Meeting Director, Rebecca Sadegh, together with Art Agnew and Marian Spencer, they put together an extensive AAR with lessons learned for the event and mitigating actions. Some of the key takeaways that you all should be aware of include:

The other group experienced a very difficult parking and arrival situation daily, with limited alternative bus service. While we do not expect the amount of local drive-in traffic they experienced, we had already planned for a much more extensive bus system, literally 600% the size they used, servicing all of our twenty-one official overflow hotels. In addition, local police departments are working on a new traffic flow pattern into the Gaylord Rockies, to avoid the extended traffic back-ups that the other group experienced. We will also have access to additional parking capacity that the other group did not have.

Next, we are starting our professional programs each day much later than we have done at previous Summits. Specifically, we will start each day at 10:00 a.m., or later, and have pushed the program one day forward to begin on Wednesday, thus allowing time for attendees to gather beyond the morning ‘crush.’

We have also adjusted food and beverage availability and opportunity, to include food trucks, to accommodate our planned attendance, which is currently about 15-20% above our all-time high registration in 2023.
And finally, we will be using a larger ballroom than the other group did for the important General Sessions, to ensure we can accommodate our larger attendance.

The bottom-line is that thanks to your enduring support, we have grown our Annual Summit substantially over the past five years since this event venue was scheduled and contracted for and we are taking every conceivable step to make sure that we can provide an outstanding, safe, and enjoyable Summit for you and your families.

There is a lot going on in our Army, and especially in our Army Aviation Branch. We could not have a more dedicated, invested, and capable Army Aviation Leadership Team and we truly look forward to working with them and you together at the Summit and beyond, to ensure we know how best to support our U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family!
Look forward to seeing you all in Denver!

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