President’s Cockpit / By MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired: As I begin writing this “Cockpit” for our December issue of ARMY AVIATION, we have reluctantly just made the decision to cancel our Joseph P. Cribbins Symposium scheduled January 20-22, 2021 in Huntsville, Alabama.
MG Jami C. Shawley assumed command of the Army Reserve’s 81st Readiness Division (RD) headquartered at Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC during a “virtual” ceremony Nov. 14. / U.S. ARMY PHOTO
After consulting with our medical experts as well as Army Aviation Branch Chief MG Dave Francis, Bill Harris and I decided we could not safely hold a high-quality event that the Army, our members, and industry would find matched the quality of previous AAAA events. So now we focus on our Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit April 21-23 at Opryland, Nashville, TN!
These are indeed challenging times, and yet I have been incredibly impressed by our Army’s ability to continue to support operations around the world as well as provide incredible domestic support. As we celebrate our National Guard’s 384th birthday – yes, its older than our Army – we have two great articles from current and former Army National Guard leaders that highlight how our National Guard continues to operate abroad, train, and support our states and territories.
Soon to retire BG J. Ray Davis, former chief of the Aviation and Safety Division and the National Guard Assistant Director for Aviation and Information Warfare, and our very own AAAA Vice President of NG and Reserves, MG Lester D. Eisner, have provided these outstanding contributions that I know you will appreciate. We wish BG Davis a fond farewell after serving Army Aviation so well and making a real impact on our enterprise for so many years. By the time you read this he will have received the Gold Order of Saint Michael in recognition of his amazing service.
I also especially invite you all to read MG Eisner’s revealing piece on page 88 about the challenges of operating, training, and support during this pandemic. It’s interesting indeed.
In this issue we also highlight our industry members and have included our annual industry directory. Let me take the opportunity to thank all our industry partners for their role in keeping America, our Army, and Army Aviation strong, relevant, and highly capable – anywhere and anytime.
Our Branch Chief, MG Dave Francis, highlights just why a strong industry is needed as he lays out Army Aviation modernization priorities. In addition, PEO Aviation BG Rob Barrie’s article sets out PEO Aviation’s way ahead to support the following priorities: build the Future Vertical Lift ecosystem (FARA, FLRAA, FUAS, & MOSA); maintain the readiness and relevance of the enduring Army Aviation fleet; and build partner nation capacity.
Our job here at AAAA is to help our Branch Chief and PEO and indeed the entire Army Aviation leadership including our senior enlisted and warrant officers to get their messages out to the full Army Aviation Community from Active Duty and Reserve Component, to Retired, industry and the civilian workforce. But it is not just our senior leaders that we are all about at AAAA.
At our recent semi-annual National Executive Board meeting held via ZOOM webinar a few weeks ago we welcomed newly appointed NEB member at large WO1 Aubrey Bloom who joins 1LT Chance Mathias, and SGT Ashley Sanchez at the most senior levels of the AAAA in order to represent our junior warrant officer, company grade officer levels, as well as the sergeant level. They along with a group of like-minded junior personnel are already “getting after it,” working with our own AAAA Laura Arena and Chelsea Jarvis, as well as VP for Membership CW4 Becki Chambers. You will be hearing more and more from them in the future!
Finally, I would like to congratulate MG Jami Shawley, former commanding general of the Army Reserve Aviation Command, on her promotion and new position as Commanding General, 81st Readiness Division, Fort Jackson, SC!
As you can see, from all ranks, components, and levels of responsibility, AAAA Army Aviation personnel are on the move! We at AAAA are always working to remain relevant to our membership and our branch despite the COVID pandemic restrictions.
Stay healthy! I pledge to ensure that AAAA does its part to help YOU… all our Soldiers and Families and indeed all our AAAA members. You are what AAAA is all about.
Best wishes to all for Happy Holidays and a great New Year!
MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired
34th President, AAAA