AAAA Membership CW5 (Ret.) Dave Cooper
Do you ever wonder who is joining AAAA? As you know, AAAA has a unique cross section of members … Aviation Soldiers, acquisition professionals, industry partners, and retirees. As of this writing, AAAA’s newest member is none of the above.
Recently LTC Pete Barger, commander of 1st Battalion (Airfield Operations), 245th Aviation Regiment said, “I wanted to expose Soldiers outside the Aviation MOSs to AAAA; so, to do this I asked the Thunderbird chapter to acquaint my headquarters company Soldiers with AAAA.” Kevin Tullberg, the chapter enrollment vice president gave the briefing. He discussed what AAAA does not only at the national level but at the local level for Soldiers and their families.
SSG Ken and SFC Ashley Tallent pose for a family photo with their children.
The briefing was a huge success – current AAAA members attending the brief got reacquainted with the benefits of membership and the event produced ten new members. I’d like to highlight one of those new members in particular.
Our newest member is SSG Ken Tallent from Oklahoma. Ken is 38 years old and a full time technician for the State. He serves as a 91B, Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, in the 1-245th AOB in Lexington, OK, and maintains the unit’s high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV) and light medium tactical vehicles (LMTV) as well as the unit’s generator sets. When I spoke with SSG Tallent and asked him what made him decide to join AAAA, his answers surprised me. He said after listening to Kevin Tullberg’s briefing he made up his mind to sign up on the spot. “I’d see the AAAA magazine in the Orderly Room and always picked it up and read it. I didn’t know I could join because I’m not in aviation.”
He went on to say, “This is my first aviation assignment so I thought I better know what’s going on in the branch. I want to know what’s new and upcoming in Army Aviation.” Ken is an 18 year veteran of the Army who has seen his share of combat. From January to October 2008, he was assigned to Company D, 1st Bn., 179th Infantry, at a forward operating base just south of Ballad. He shared that while he enjoyed maintaining the unit’s vehicles he said his biggest thrill was being a TC on a gun truck. I wondered what his wife thought of that.
SSG Tallent told me that his wife is a Soldier too. Assigned to the 90th Troop Command, SFC Ashley Tallent serves as a 42A, Human Resources Specialist. Like her husband, she is also a full time technician and an Operation Enduring Freedom veteran. As if defending the nation doesn’t keep them busy enough the couple’s three young children fill up any spare time available!
While Army Aviation Soldiers join AAAA for the advantages of Networking with like-minded professionals, for the Recognition membership brings, the Voice membership offers, and the Support membership in AAAA encourages, other members have different reasons. A wheeled vehicle mechanic joined our ranks because he wants to better understand the Aviation Branch and the Soldiers that serve it. It says a lot about our Association, our members, and the Branch that outsiders want to join. While we can never rest on our laurels, this story should make all of us stand a little straighter and hold our head a little higher.
A big thank you goes out to LTC Pete Barger and CSM Burrows for their vision to engage prospective members outside the Aviation Branch. Thanks also to the Thunderbird Chapter and their Enrollment VP, Kevin Tullberg. While we are grateful for each new member, we are especially thankful for your focused effort to recruit enlisted Soldiers into AAAA.
Every once in a while you hear about an AAAA member with a unique story, history, or background. SSG Ken Tallent is just such a member. I know the Thunderbirds will take care of him and welcome him into the chapter.
CW5 (Ret.) Dave Cooper AAAA Vice President for Membership