President’s cockpit / By E.J. Sinclair, Ret.: This year has truly flown by. In fact, it seems like the last nearly two years of my presidency has flown by.
AAAA National President, BG (Ret.) E.J. Sinclair meets with the chapter-sponsored Soldiers attending the Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit on April 29, 2016 in Atlanta, GA. Under the Professional Forum Soldier Sponsorship program, the chapter selects a junior Soldier and underwrites the travel cost of getting them to the Forum site; AAAA provides one room, registration and tickets to all events for the Soldier and his/her spouse. See the AAAA website for more info. / AAPI PHOTO BY RENÉ BIDEZ
We have been very busy with travel and events all Fall from chapter meetings to board meetings, to symposia like the Luther Jones at Corpus Christi, Texas, and ASE and Cribbins events in Huntsville. We know the local chapters are the bedrock of AAAA and it is a great joy to visit the numerous chapters. We also attended a NATO Standardization Meeting in Slovakia and are exploring possible future AAAA involvement in other European meetings. We head to Fort Rucker at the end of January for the Aviation Senior Leader’s Forum. We are also well underway with all the preplanning for the AAAA annual Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit, April 26-28, 2017, in Nashville. Registration for the Summit is currently open.
The constant throughout has been AAAA’s four pillars of Networking, Recognition, Voice, and Support that make our mission statement AAAA: Supporting the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family so real. I wish you all could be with me as we stand on stage to present our various recognition awards to our Soldiers at many of these events. It can literally bring tears to your eyes as they describe with great humility their gratitude for their fellow Soldiers and their families. What a great Army and Army Aviation Community Family we have in our Branch.
How did all this happen? Where did this great spirit come from? Who brought Army Aviation to where it is today on the modern battlefield? Well, that is what 2017 will be all about.
Seventy-five years ago on June 6, 1942, the War Department authorized the Artillery to have as organic two “Cub” type fixed wing aircraft in each Artillery battalion. They were part of Army Land Forces; flown and maintained by artillery personnel. They were completely separate from the Army Air Force and wore different, “L” wings for Liaison. Over the coming months we will be featuring different aspects of this history in each issue of the magazine and on the website. In fact, the entire 2017 Summit issue will largely dedicated to commemorating this once in a lifetime anniversary.
From the first “Class Before One” of Army Aviators in 1942 which included past AAAA President LTG Bob Williams, then a 1LT, to the warfighters of the present time, you will see their stories presented in their own words. By the end of next year we should all have a better appreciation of how we got here, who we are, and what the vision is for the future of Army Aviation. Again, what we will no doubt see is the dedication, entrepreneurial spirit, and mission first attitude that has marked Army Aviation from the beginning in 1942, to being on stage today as our Soldiers of the Year receive their awards.
We wish you a safe and Happy New Year.
Above the Best!
BG E.J. Sinclair, Ret.
32nd President, AAAA