President’s Cockpit / by BG E.J. Sinclair, Ret.: Summer is in full swing, but the Army Aviation Branch and AAAA remain very engaged.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter promotes LTG Ron Lewis in a private ceremony in the Secretary of Defense’s Office in the Pentagon on July 2nd, 2015. / AAPI PHOTO
I had the great pleasure of visiting the Aloha Chapter last month and getting to know some outstanding Americans who were honored with The Order of Saint Michael (OSM). The Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) from Hawaii and Gold Star father Alan Hoe, and Gold Star spouse Kristy Balli, were inducted as Knights of the Order. Alan Hoe, a medic during Vietnam, has been a great supporter of 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) for many years. Unfortunately, he lost his son in Mosul while serving with the 25th Infantry Division (ID). Ms. Balli was accepting the honor on behalf of her late husband, CW2 Edward Balli, a UAS Soldier who died in Afghanistan in January 2014 during an attack. Additionally, CW5 Terry Horner, 25th CAB Command Chief Warrant Officer and Command Sergeant Major Benjamin Jones, the 25th ID CSM, were inducted. It was truly a very moving and memorable day.
The following week MG (Ret.) Tim Crosby was down in Louisiana at the Voodoo Chapter. The chapter is in excellent shape with the leadership very energized in growing their chapter. They were already looking to the future for the next events, especially a red-fish fishing tournament in the fall. Tim assured Voodoo that the National AAAA office is here to offer support. The Voodoo Chapter is also responsible for breathing new life into the old Sustaining Membership program, rebranded “Community Membership,” designed for local (non-defense) businesses or agencies that would like to support Army Aviation at the local level. Thanks, Voodoo!
Bill Harris and Janis Arena, from the AAAA National offfice, visited the leadership and about 20 key influencers in the Narragansett Chapter. They reviewed available AAAA National programs like Soldier of the Month, Scholarship, Awards, and especially the free AAAA membership for deployed Soldiers program. Chapter members have deployed twice in the last few years. Thanks to COL Andy Chevalier, chapter president, and his team for taking the initiative with a refreshed membership program, new scholarships, and more chapter meetings to meet the needs of his Soldiers and their families.
CW5 (Ret.) Dave Cooper, our VP Membership, has been doing a fabulous job. We are going back to sending hard copy re-up notices when you get close to your membership term in addition to the email notices. Although our membership has been quite stable over the last few years, we can do better in retaining members and part of the challenge is effective communication. Remember, if you are deployed, let the National Office know and we will extend your current membership for 15 months, or even give you a free initial membership if you are a new AAAA member. Dave is also working with the VP Chapter Affairs, LTC (Ret.) Jan Drabczuk. They are finalizing the plan for the “Discounted Lifetime Membership.”
The Fall Symposia are open for registration. The Luther Jones Sustainment Forum, October 6-8 in Corpus Christi, TX; and ALSE, November 16-17; ASE, November 16-17; and Joseph P. Cribbins, November 18-19, all three taking place in Huntsville, AL.
We’ve already sold 70% of our exhibits for the next Summit in Atlanta, April 27-30, 2016! Event registration and housing will be open later this summer. The HQ hotel, the Omni, is attached to the Georgia World Congress Center. The other five hotels are within an eight minute walk. We have already submitted the proffer to offset costs for key military and Department of the Army civilians to attend the Summit so we expect a great turnout of key decision makers and Soldiers again this year.
Finally, one of Army Aviation’s great leaders was promoted to lieutenant general this month. The Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, promoted Ron Lewis to LTG in a small ceremony in his office on July 2. Congratulations to Ron!!
Have a great summer. Stay safe. And remember, we still have many, many Army Aviation Soldiers in harm’s way. Keep them and their families in your thoughts.
Above the Best!
BG E.J. Sinclair, Ret.
32nd President, AAAA