Branch Chief’s Corner / By MG David J. Francis: It’s amazing is amazing what you can accomplish is if you do not care who gets the credit. – – Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States
UH-60 Black Hawks from 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation Regiment take off after dropping soldiers at the landing zone during exercise Arctic Anvil October 6th, 2019 at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center./ MISSISSIPPI NATIONAL GUARD PHOTO BY SGT SHAWN KEETON
I would like to start by thanking MG Todd Hunt for the spectacular job he has done in his tenure as the Deputy Commanding General (DCG) of the Army National Guard here at the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence, while simultaneously serving as the Commander, Land Component Command, North Carolina National Guard Joint Force Headquarters. We all wish him the best of luck as he assumes his duties as The Adjutant General (TAG) of the North Carolina National Guard. I would like to welcome BG Stan Budraitis from the Mississippi National Guard to the team as the new DCG. Furthermore, I would like to bid farewell to our Army Reserve Deputy Assistant Commandant, COL William “Will” Wynn, who recently retired, and welcome his replacement COL Josh Hegar.
As Army Aviation transforms to align with the concepts of Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) and the doctrine of Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO), it is important to remember that Large Scale Combat Operations do not discriminate between any of the Army’s three components (COMPOs). The Reserve and the Guard (COMPOs 2 and 3) comprise 51% of Army Aviation’s fleet, and there is no operational or physical way that the Active Duty forces (COMPO 1) could fight and win a Large Scale Combat Operation on their own. That’s why we refer to the combined capabilities of all three COMPOs as the Total Force.
What that statistic means to our Soldiers and their families is that there is a high OPTEMPO and a low dwell time across all the COMPOs. While my hat’s off to all our hard charging Soldiers and families, they need to know that as a branch we are continually accessing both the internal and external variables that effect OPTEMPO and are systematically working to reduce the frictions that contribute to it. Have no doubt, people are our number one priority.
Keeping that in mind, we must remember that combat is inherently a come-as-you-are endeavor. Even with the cur-rent timeline for the fielding of our Future Vertical Lift plat-forms, our enduring fleet will comprise the majority of our Total Fleet for many years to come. This means that we must remain focused on our enduring fleet in order to provide the appropriate targeted upgrades so that it can continue to be a viable force in LSCO.
As we have historically done, we have to ensure that we build, field and train a Total Fleet that communicates, integrates, and fights as one. Because in a fight there is no difference in COMPOs, you either stand shoulder-to-shoulder as a team and win, or you don’t – and Winning Matters.
Avobe the Best!
MG David J. Francis is the Army Aviation branch chief and commander of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, AL.