Wheels Up
Benita Martin-Dwight, chief of the Intensive Management Office at AMCOM Security Assistance Management Directorate, gives the final OK before the C-17 ramp closes. The five Bell Jet Ranger training helicopters, destined for the Iraqi Air Force, were loaded onto the C-17 at Redstone Airfield.

Team Redstone workers gathered Dec. 1 to celebrate the delivery of five Bell Jet Ranger training helicopters to the Iraqi Air Force.

"When you're not worried about who gets the credit, you can do phenomenal things," Dr. Tom Pieplow, director of AMCOM Security Assistance Management Directorate, said. "This is a stellar example of the partnering among U.S. government entities, contractors and foreign governments."

"When anybody has a need, they come here," AMCOM commander Maj. Gen. Jim Myles said. "And when they come here, we pile on quickly and get things done; it's called teamwork. That spirit of teamwork has been perfected here and taken to a higher level.

"This is about giving the Iraqis a way to defend their own country so our Soldiers and civilians can get back. And the AMRDEC's PIF (Prototype Integration Facility) is doing just that. In this case we're helping a country develop their own internal training capability. Iraq will now be able to train their own forces, and that will allow us to have our Soldiers come home to be with their families."

"This is an example of how the citizens of Huntsville, Madison and Madison County have come together to help our Soldiers, our country and our friend and allies," Myles said. "This is a microcosm of what goes on at the Arsenal every day: Team Redstone coming together with a mission and a purpose to take care of Soldiers in the matter of a few months."

Myles explained that the five commercial Bell Jet Rangers came from points across the country and were equipped by the Prototype Integration Facility with the avionics and communication and navigation systems needed by the Iraqi Air Force.

"You all have hit a home run. Hooah!" Myles said. "Enjoy this split second and thanks, but we have more challenges to face in the future."

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison Mayor Paul Finley and Madison County Commission Chairman Mike Gillespie attended the ceremony, which acknowledged the accomplishment of a unique mission on a tight, compressed schedule.

"This is one of the greatest days that I've had, particularly from a community standpoint," Gillespie said. "We're all in this together, because we're all in the same community. This Arsenal does not just belong to this community; it belongs to the world.

"And you all are making us and the world safer. Thank you for everything that you do."

Page last updated Wed December 10th, 2008 at 13:34