From the President's Cockpit
Providing a VOICE for Aviation Soldiers and Families
Army Aviation is in the cross-hairs of budgeteers and those who believe a smaller Army is better; those who believe airpower and seapower can provide strategic leverage and dominate future conflicts at the expense of ground forces. Now, more than ever, it is vitally important for our constituency to have a Voice that can be heard by key decision-makers at all levels of government.
The AAAA will not advocate on behalf of one component over the other, but rather, strongly advocate on behalf of Army Aviation as the most sought after maneuver force by ground force commanders. It will be those issues that are in the best interests of Aviation Soldiers and their families that the AAAA can provide a Voice for each of you; Active, National Guard, Reserve, DA Civilian, Industry, and Retirees. Several tools are at our disposal.
First, the Army Aviation Caucus is the forum of 52 members of Congress and their staff. It provides a conduit to inform and provide awareness of critical issues facing Army Aviation and our industrial base and garner their support for Army Aviation. Second is our Senior Executive Associates, which is a group of retired 3-and 4-star non-aviator general officers, who inform Army Aviation leaders on the strategic landscape affecting current and future Army aviation initiatives as well as advocating on behalf of the Branch within DoD, HQDA, and throughout industry. Third, our membership in The Military Coalition (TMC) links us together with 5.5 million members to make a big impact in Washington on your behalf. In fact, over the last 32 years as a member of the TMC, AAAA has played a decisive role in winning enactment of virtually every significant legislative initiative affecting compensation and benefits for Active, Reserve, Guard and retired members.
You too have a tool to get your Voice heard; ARMY AVIATION magazine in both print and digital versions. The magazine is distributed at all senior leadership level both in DoD and in Congress. I would encourage your thoughtful, introspective and experiential articles that articulate how decisions in Washington are affecting Aviation Soldiers and families in the field.
This is not the first time your Association has advocated on behalf of our members. Simultaneously with AAAA's birth in the Spring of 1957, an issue was raised by AAAA concerning the Army Guard and Reserve aviators being denied 36 paid drills per year that had been granted to the Air Force Reserve. In 1959 the AAAA President, Bryce Wilson, wrote the Secretary of the Army directly addressing inequities in flight status and training. In the 1970s we pressed for equalization of Flight Pay between commissioned and warrant officers, again culminating in a direct letter from AAAA President MG George Beatty this time to the Secretary of Defense in 1980. In the 1980s it was also the fixing of the "gates" in Aviation Career Incentive Pay (ACIP). In the 1990s it was branch insignia for our warrants, and in the 2000s we fought for full ACIP for the Reserve Components.
I want to give a shout-out to two of our chapters, the Thunderbird Chapter and Southern California Chapter. This past month I had the opportunity to visit them in Oklahoma City and Anaheim, respectively. Both are making great strides to increase membership in the National Guard, have infused excitement into their chapters, recognized key contributors, and provided excellent venues for Networking amongst their Soldiers and families.
Finally, be sure to catch the latest news on the upcoming Army Aviation Summit in Nashville on the website and download the convention App! Hope to see you there May 4-6, 2014.
Above the Best!
BG Howard W. Yellen, Ret.
31st President, AAAA