President’s Cockpit / By MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired: As you read this you may already know we have cancelled the 2021 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit scheduled for 21-22 April in Nashville following the Army’s decision that it would not be able to support the Summit based on an Army Health Risk Assessment as well as the current environment.
COL (Ret.) Harry Townsend at the 2017 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit. Rest in peace, old Warrior (See page 55)./ AAPI FILE PHOTO
Since we depend on the Army for our key speakers and leader attendance, aircraft displays, and general attendance it was no longer possible to make the Summit a reality. We thank all our many vendors, AAAA members and chapters, and especially our industry partners, who worked so hard over the last six months to make the 2021 Summit a possibility. Be safe, be careful, and we hope to see you at future AAAA events as conditions allow.
February brought sad news to many in Army Aviation: Colonel Harry Townsend passed away. Harry was a legend – an “original” Cub Club member who served the Army and Army Aviation for decades in three wars, flying 8,000 hours, and commanding in combat. He was inducted to the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004. He served on AAAA’s National Executive Board and our Scholarship Foundation for decades. We wish his family our very best and know that Harry will not be forgotten. A named permanent scholarship is being established in Harry’s name. More to follow on that.
We also want to express our sympathy to the families of three Idaho Army National Guardsmen killed in a Black Hawk crash 20 January: CW4 Anderson, CW3 Laubham, and CW3 Peltz.
For our March issue, Branch Chief MG Dave Francis sets the stage for our focus for this issue: Army National Guard and Army Reserve Aviation. His deputy commanding general, BG Stan Budraitis provides great insight to the role and accomplishments of the force that makes up more than fifty percent of Army Aviation. Chief of the Army National Guard, LTG Jon Jensen, dives deep into the subject and follow-on articles from BG Dave Hall at the Army National Guard Bureau, and Army Reserve Command are really interesting and show just how important their formations are to our Army overall. For all of us who have commanded large units in combat, we have fought with, lived with, shed tears with, and laughed with our peers from the Guard and Reserves. It is clear to me that we are brothers and sisters during war and peace.
In keeping with our monthly “People” highlights, we at AAAA want to give our congratulations to three of our own who have been selected for promotion to major general: BG Wally Rugen, BG Al Pepin, and BG Tony Potts. A sincere “Congrats” to you all and our thanks for your selfless service to our nation.
A further congrats to all the selectees on the LTC Centralized Command selection board list!
We at AAAA National continue to work on a virtual Army Aviation Congressional Caucus meeting with the Army Aviation senior leadership, as well as a virtual Army Aviation senior leader update to our AAAA Senior Executive Associates.
As always, I pledge to ensure that AAAA does its part to help YOU: our Soldiers, families, and senior leaders!
MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired
34th President, AAAA