By C. Todd Lopez
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 30, 2015) -- The Army's vice chief of staff kicked off the 2015 Army Aviation Association of America conference here by highlighting some of the best aviation units in the Army.
"I am incredibly proud of the incomparable courage and competence of our great aviators," said Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, March 30. "I always have been, and always will be."
Allyn spoke before more than 1,000 Army aviators and aviation industry representatives at the beginning of a two-day aviation conference sponsored by the Army Aviation Association of America, known as Quad A.
Allyn noted several Army aviation units, who would later be named recipients of national-level Army aviation awards, units, who he said were "consistent with the future our Army leadership envisions for Army aviation and for Force 2025 and beyond."
First among those named by Allyn was the 2nd Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, out of Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The unit is a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, battalion and is responsible for training unmanned aerial surveillance Soldiers on four different aircraft systems.
"The 2-13 is a model of a unit that embraces innovation, by combining technologies, all the while maintaining their warrior ethos in a cavalry and scout mentality," Allyn said. "They are at the cutting edge of innovation and technology, learning how to best integrate our unmanned aerial surveillance and implement manned and unmanned teaming. In addition to their training mission, 2-13 deployed two companies to Afghanistan last year and supported the Department of Homeland Security in their continental United States mission."
Allyn also honored the Army National Guard's aviation unit of the year, Company B, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
"They are a picture of the future as we become even more reliant than we already are on the total force, executing diverse missions across the globe," Allyn said. "During 2014, the 'Voyagers' provided medium-lift capabilities to conventional, special operations, and multi-national forces. They performed missions across the spectrum of lift capabilities, including forward operating base retrograde, combat resupply, night insertion and extraction of special operations forces, and battlefield circulation. They represent true aviation professionals."
Finally, Allyn highlighted the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, or CAB, out of Ansbach, Germany, later named the "outstanding aviation unit of the year."
Allyn said the 12th CAB demonstrates "a lot of adaptability and interoperability in a multi-national environment. The 'Griffins' flew over 2,388 combat missions in Afghanistan and participated in 22 major multi-national training operations in 37 different countries. The 12th CAB performed both strategic shaping in a multi-national environment, while maintaining steadfast combat focus at all times."
Allyn said the accomplishments of those units "exemplify an aviation community moving in the exact direction we have in mind for Force 2025 and beyond."
During the opening ceremony, 11 aviation individuals and units were recognized. They include:
-- The Joseph P. Cribbins Department of the Army Civilian of the Year award: Ellis W. Golson, Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Alabama
-- The James H. McClellan Aviation Safety Award: Sgt. 1st Class Eric D. Wright, Company B, Special Operations Training Battalion, Fort Campbell, Kentucky
-- The Army Aviation Soldier of the Year Award: Spc. Luis D. Marino, Company B, 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Campbell, Kentucky
-- The Henry Q. Dunn Crew Chief of the Year Award: Spc. Benjamin J. Rosa, Company A, 1st Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
-- The Rodney J.T. Yano Non-commissioned Officer of the Year Award: Sgt. 1st Class Bryant D. Macfarlane, Company D, 1st Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas
-- The Michael J. Novosel Army Aviator of the Year Award: CW4 Michael J. Siler, Company C, 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Kentucky
-- The Robert M. Leich Award: 2nd Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Accepting the award were: Lt. Col. Clinton J. Conzemius, commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. S. Todd Schmidt
-- The U.S. Army Reserve Aviation Unit of the Year Award: 90th Aviation Support Battalion, 244th Aviation Brigade, Fort Worth, Texas. Accepting the award were: Lt. Col. Lee D. Hyder, commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Robert N. McGee
-- The John J. Stanko, Jr. Army National Guard Aviation Unit of the Year Award: Company B, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Accepting the award were: Maj. Byron N. Cadiz, commander, and 1st Sgt. Keith I. Nakahara
-- The Active Aviation Unit of the Year Award: 3rd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. Accepting the award were: Lt. Col. Fred J. DuFault, commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip Paniagua
-- The Outstanding Aviation Unit of the Year Award: 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Ansbach, Germany. Accepting the award were: Col. Vincent H. Torza, commander, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Thomas R. Walton, and Command Sgt. Maj. Osvaldo Martell