The Annual Summit in Denver will be barely 90 days away by the time you read this. Incredible! We hope that everyone
had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holiday; really looking forward to the year ahead and the great work that your
Association will do in support of our Aviation family.
Bill Harris and I had the privilege of travelling to Lubbock, Texas after Thanksgiving to join the leadership of the Vietnam
Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) Legacy Committee to see how our Association might best support them in the future,
as it plans its inevitable ‘sunset.’ Art Jacobs and Don LeMaster are the leads for the VHPA; Bill and I were totally impressed
with their vision for the future of VHPA. Importantly, they are completing their Strategic Plan that will inform the execution of
the myriad tasks and actions that the transition will require, ranging from event planning to publication and membership
servicing. Art and Don have also established a strong relationship/partnership with the Vietnam Center and Archive (VNCA),
located on the Lubbock campus of Texas Tech University. We honestly had no idea how extensive the VNCA collection is
and how deep the expertise is that resides there. The VHPA will be leaving all their records and documents to the VNCA and
have already been coordinating with the VNCA for some years. Their decision to get into a relationship with VNCA to
maintain their legacy records could not have been more well placed. Check out the VNCA website at
www.vietnamwarlegacy.ttu.edu for a quick overview of the breadth of their capabilities and plans for the future.
AAAA has also been a beneficiary of the VHPA’s support and generosity. The VHPA was the very first “Heritage
Matching Fund” scholarship established by the AAAA Scholarship Foundation Inc., in 2002 with a donation of $10,000.
Since that time, the VHPA has donated almost $500,000, which this year supported 18 scholarship awards to deserving
students in our merit-based program. We at AAAA look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with the VHPA to
best support them into the future ensuring that their story and legacy is never forgotten. I conveyed to them on behalf of
our 19,600 members, that AAAA will do whatever it can to carry on the traditions, memory, and spirit that the first “Sky
Soldiers” pioneered during their Vietnam War service. We owe them nothing less.
On December 6th, we concluded our 18th Luther G. Jones Army Aviation Depot Forum. This year’s theme was Corpus
Christi Army Depot – Integral to Aviation Readiness Today and Into the Future. Our thanks to COL Kyle Hogan, SGM Jon
Trawick and the CCAD team for their exceptional support and sponsorship of this ‘small, but mighty’ impactful forum. Also, to
MG Tom O’Connor, Commanding General, AMCOM, CW5 Pat O’Neil, our Aviation Branch Maintenance Officer, and CSM
Bradford Smith, AMCOM CSM, for their enduring support and presence during the entirety of the program – for sure, that
makes a difference for the attendees, industry partner exhibitors, and forum sponsors. CCAD is a national treasure and the
artisan workforce that comprises it is truly indicative of the strength of our Army and Nation.
As I mentioned at the start, we are rapidly closing on the Annual Summit. We will have updates in this space and
through emails regarding the Denver Gaylord Rockies itself, as well as the professional and social agendas as they
inevitably evolve over the next couple of months.
Please take note – the deadline for registration for all food events is April 4, 2024. You may continue to register after that
but there will be no tickets available for any of the food events such as the Hall of Fame and the Soldier Appreciation Dinner
concert. You are going to want to be at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – with inductees including two Medal of Honor
recipients and a certain former Army Chief of Staff. Added bonus – the entertainer for the Soldier Appreciation Dinner
Concert is Randy Houser… so, get your tickets now!
MG Walt Davis, U.S. Army Retired
36th President, AAAA