President’s Cockpit / By BG Steve Mundt, Ret.: The National Executive Group (NEG), the National Executive Board (NEB) and the entire AAAA Staff are so excited to welcome you back to Nashville and the 2018 AAAA Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit.
It has been a challenging six years since Army Conference policy dramatically impacted the attendance of Soldiers and families at not-for profit professional development opportunities like the Summit.
I am pleased to report that thanks to those leaders who came before me and the current NEG we have overcome that hurdle and this event this year is the largest event in AAAA’s 61-year history. Opryland’s almost 3,000 rooms sold out in a few weeks, the exhibit revenue is at an all-time high, and the registration for the professional sessions and recognition events like the Hall of Fame induction dinner of a class of all warrant officers has set records as well. This is great news as we rebuild our “Emergency Fund” while supporting our chapters, members and families, which are the life blood of our organization and at the core of our stated mission: “Supporting the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family.”
At the Annual Summit we truly live the AAAA Mission Statement through our four pillars of Networking, Recognition Voice and Support.
From the opening ceremony recognizing the 35 years since the formation of the Branch on April 12, 1983, and the exploration of the Multi-Domain Battlefield, to the awards ceremony recognizing our great Soldiers and units from our “Total Army” of the ARNG, the USAR, the Active and Special Operations forces; from enlisted to warrant and commissioned officers. AAAA is the umbrella professional organization that represents your Aviation centric concerns.
This is the only time of year that all aspects of our community gather to work the issues for you in one place at one time: acquisition, training, research and development, industry, and all Components. Even our NATO Allies conducting the Helicopter Inter-Service Working Group (HISWG) and so many of our coalition partners are here this week. The U.S. Army National Guard State Army Aviation Officers and their leadership are here conducting their annual conference. We are also pleased to have our Veteran groups holding reunions like the 227th and 2-6 Cav. We are even able to demonstrate how Soldiers take care of Soldiers by recognizing Chris and Garret and their story that I mentioned in my January column on the donation of Chris’ dog Uno.
Members of our Senior Executive Associates (SEA) who bring your concerns to the highest levels of leadership and government are attending the Summit this year along with a number of Congressional staffers. We are your Voice to decision makers through the AAAA supported Army Aviation Congressional Caucus and The Military Coalition.
We stand today at over 17,000 members and a record 76 Chapters. The AAAA Scholarship program is at its highest levels. Our donations from National back to our chapters exceeded $180,000 for support of events like welcome home ceremonies in 2017. And the future looks bright indeed.
Speaking of support, for those of you in uniform, be sure to catch the Soldier Café near Registration which features reduced rate price options for breakfast and lunch – this is for our currently serving Active, Guard and Reserve soldiers only. It is our small way of giving back and helping to defray their costs.
Thank you AAAA industry Members for the record exhibit revenue. This has made it possible to fund our chapter requests and keep AAAA dues low and without a rate increase for 20 years! New this year is the Networking Café in the Exhibit Hall. This provides a wonderful opportunity to have informal meetings and exchange ideas for all attendees. And a greatly expanded theater in the exhibit hall central AAAA community area seating 350 where you can bring your questions for key aviation leaders – check out the App 18Summit for the latest schedule.
Finally, thank you to all our sponsors who make it possible to keep costs down so we can best support our Soldiers and families.
Above the Best!
BG Steve Mundt, Ret.
33rd President, AAAA