Army Aviation

Taking Care of Soldiers Through Recognition

President’s Cockpit / By BG Stephen Mundt, Ret.: This combined August -September issue of ARMY AVIATION Magazine always reminds me of the amazing breadth, depth and scope of the Army Aviation Enterprise.


The numerous pages of photos and listings of our Army Aviation leadership teams, officer, warrant officer and enlisted alike make it all so real when we look at the successes, the moves, the retirements and the recognition of so many of our members from the Army Aviation Family.

We are all about people, and our Branch is well represented by the outstanding women and men in this year-around desk reference. From acquisition and sustainment to training and warfighting and all components, you are all well represented in here somehow. Thank you for all you do every day for our Branch, for the Army and for the Country.

Our foundation and focus is based on the four pillars of AAAA; Networking, Recognition, Voice and Support. These four pillars actualize our AAAA mission statement, “Supporting the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family.” I want to talk a bit about the men and women in our formations and specifically about the “Recognition” pillar.

AAAA sponsors over 35 National awards ranging from our Annual Summit level, like the Soldier of the Year and Unit of the Year, to specific mission area awards like Flight Medic and Air Traffic Controller of the Year. The Recognition that these awards provide to our very best is a key part of leadership. It is the recognition of those in our ranks who have gone the extra step in excellence. Recognition of those in our ranks encourages others to go the extra step and it is the responsibility of leadership throughout the Aviation Enterprise, to include our industry partners, to take the time to let the community know who the best of the best are. I could have told you about what you have told us in our surveys that recognition is one of the most important aspects of why you belong to the AAAA but this is about leaders taking care of those in their charge. That said, there is a process to arriving at the voting of these files by the AAAA Awards Board.

The process begins with a nomination packet. Over the last few years, we at the national office have seen a steady decline in the number of nomination packets for each award. The awards board does not have a magic vision device to see into your formations and automatically determine who is going above and beyond and deserves an award. As leaders and peers you MUST take the time to recognize your brother and sister Soldiers.

I have been told how the 160th SOAR always wins and my response is simple – “you have to compete to win.” The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) does an outstanding and consistent job in preparing and submitting nomination packets. There is literally not a single national award for which the Night Stalkers do not generate at least one packet and in some cases multiple packets. The simple fact is statistics say that your odds increase with the number of quality nominations. The 160th SOAR is a great unit but so are the rest of you!

Recently, I had to extend a deadline for a couple awards because there were so few nominations. Thankfully a good number of additional nominations did come in as a result. But I have to say it is a bit discouraging that we as leaders are not taking the time to take care of their people through this recognition opportunity.

I get out to our chapters. I see the outstanding Soldiers in your units. And I hear the amazing stories of their accomplishments when I visit you. Why am I not seeing them nominated when it comes to awards time?

Yes, it takes some time and effort but again, we are all about people. We can all do better. Please look ahead now to the eleven national awards to be presented at the April 2019 Summit in Nashville. The nomination forms are on the website homepage (, under the Awards tab. Surely we all know of a USAR unit, a crew chief, an enlisted soldier, an NCO, etc. who should be recognized. Let’s all resolve to see someone we know nominated for each of these awards. AAAA national headquarters and your national executive board stand ready to assist in this effort.

We are a family but sometimes we need to make an effort to show how much we actually care.
Above the Best!

BG Stephen Mundt, Ret.
33rd President, AAAA
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