The U.S. Army Aviation Association of America honored its National Award recipients for 2011 during Monday’s opening ceremonies of the annual Professional Forum & Exposition (Quad-A) in Nashville. The awards recognize outstanding achievements of aviation units, individual soldiers and civilians. This year six soldiers, five units and two civilians received awards.
The Boeing Outstanding Aviation Unit of the Year went to Task Force Falcon, part of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade in Fort Drum, N.Y. The 10th CAB served in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom less than a year after its deployment with Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Members of Task Force Falcon accept the Outstanding Aviation Unit award. Photo by Andrew Parker
Task Force Six Shooters of the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment from Fort Drum, N.Y., received the L-3 Communications Active Aviation Unit of the Year award for its work in the Northern Konar Valley of Afghanistan. Task Force Six Shooters flew more than 30,000 accident-free hours, participated in more than 140 assaults, transported more than 50,000 passengers, and delivered in excess of 7 million lbs of cargo.
Honeywell sponsored two awards this year, with the Army National Guard Aviation Unit of the Year going to the 211th Aviation Regiment of Company B, which is part of the 2nd Battalion in Davenport, Iowa, and the Army Reserve Aviation Unit of the Year presented to the 229th Aviation Regiment with the 8th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, based out of Fort Knox, Ky.
The Northrop Grumman-sponsored Robert Leich award landed with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, based out of Fort Campbell, Ky. The 160th provides elite special operations forces with helicopter support.
This year AAAA honored two recipients with Boeing’s Department of the Army Civilian of the Year. The first, William Braddy, Deputy Commander for Production at Corpus Christi Army Depot, implemented cost-effective changes to helicopter overhauls and repairs that resulted in increased helicopter production for the Army. The second, Andrew Ksepka, is referred to as “the godfather of aircraft modifications.” Ksepka oversaw the modification of 430 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks. He also implemented a program to supply sponson forward looking infrared (FLIR) systems for medevac helicopters.
The James H. McClellan Aviation Safety Award, sponsored by GE Aircraft Engines, recognized CW4 Michael Jones of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, based out of Fort Drum, N.Y. The Bell Helicopter Army Aviation Soldier of the year went to Spc. Jason Gustine with the 101st CAB. Gustine, a UH-60M Black Hawk mechanic, led his team in periodic maintenance inspections (PMI), build-ups and tear-downs over several helicopter variants, including Bell OH-58D Kiowas, Boeing AH-64D Apaches and Sikorsky Black Hawks.
Robertson Fuel Systems sponsored the Henry Q. Dunn Crew Chief of the Year award, recognizing Sgt. Chad Gregory with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The Lockheed Martin Noncommissioned Officer of the Year was Sgt. Clifford Aughe of the 171st Aviation Regiment. Aughe, a flight medic, flew on more than 150 combat medevac missions within the first 90 days of his Afghanistan deployment. Sikorsky sponsored the Army Aviator of the Year award. CW4 Stefan Kadur of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment was honored for his leadership and training as an instructor and regimental assault flight lead.