What an honor to be your new AAAA President! Serving in AAAA, our professional organization, always seemed like a tremendous opportunity to ‘give back’. Mr. Bill Harris previously appealed to me to contribute by serving as the Chairman of the AAAA Awards Board for several years prior to being elected to the National Executive Group, so I had strong insights to what AAAA was all about for sure. The Awards Board used to meet in person in Washington, DC (Arlington Hall, at the National Guard facility), twice a year to vote the Scholarship applicant files each summer, then coming back together each January to vote the nominations for all our National Awards like Soldier of the Year, Unit of the Year, DAC of the Year, etc. It was a wonderful opportunity for an exchange of ideas and to see all the great things our young folks about to go to college and our current uniformed personnel were doing around the world.
Building on that experience and having ascended the ladder as Treasurer and Senior Vice President (BG Steve Mundt and MG Jeff Schloesser gave me remedial training… having me serve four years as Treasurer… no AAAA Secretary experience), it became clearer and clearer why AAAA has been so successful over the last 66 years. It’s all about our People!
Unlike most other organizations, the President and your AAAA national officers as well as the 59 members of the National Executive Board and our Committee Chairs and committee members… are ALL volunteers.
From board members SSG Ashley Sanchez and 1LT Chance Mathias to GEN Brown and GEN Cody and all of us in between, we believe in the AAAA Mission to “Support the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family” and make that the touchstone in every action we take on your behalf.
What an incredible AAAA Annual Summit we had in Nashville, TN in April! Voice – Network – Recognition – Support – those pillars of our Association were showcased brilliantly over the course of almost four days of activities focused on the strength of our Aviation Branch – People!
As such, I want to recognize Mr. Bill Harris, your AAAA Executive Director, Ms. Janis Arena, and their entire AAAA professional staff – the center of gravity for our professional organization – for their enduring commitment to excellence, manifested in the extraordinary planning and execution of this year’s Summit.
We set a record of over 10,000 attendees registered and the Industry exhibit support went through the roof (almost literally) setting a revenue record as well. See page 46 for full coverage of the event in this issue. With that, a special thanks to our Industry Corporate Members, and other association partners, without whose perpetual support we could not be successful as an Association supporting our Aviation Soldiers and families. We are so very grateful for all our Industry partners for their enduring commitment to our Army and Army Aviation!
And finally, our membership continues to grow to our previous pre-Covid record of 20,000 members and our number of 77 chapters is growing as well.
So, by all metrics your Association is strong indeed. What else can we do? Well as you read this article, we are assembling the AAAA Officers up in Connecticut to set the path for the next years as MG Wally Golden, Senior VP, and BG Tim Edens, Treasurer fleet up to succeed me over the following four years with new National Secretary MG Todd Royar close behind. We all want to know your thoughts as we work over the next few months to come up with new programs, refine old ones, and make sure AAAA provides a great, professionally rewarding, engaging and fun (yes, FUN!!) experience for you from your local chapter meetings to national programs events like the Annual Summit. Let us know what you think.
On behalf of the entire AAAA team, I want to thank MG Tim Crosby, for his dedicated and passionate service and efforts over the past two years as your 35th AAAA President; what a great run…we are a stronger organization because of your leadership, Tim. I also want to thank all our previous Vice Presidents and Committee chairs who served on Tim’s team. More to follow as we start our new leadership appointments after our Connecticut meetings.
Remember to send me any thoughts on how we can, to coin a phrase, “Make AAAA All it Can Be!”
MG Walt Davis, U.S. Army Retired
36th President, AAAA