VCSA: Army Aviation's future bright -- Branch's contributions critical for combat success
February 4, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli commended aviation Soldiers for their countless contributions in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as outlined challenges continuing to face them during the 2010 Aviation Senior Leaders Conference, Jan. 28.
"The future of Army Aviation is bright," he said. "It's definitely a growth industry. It's close to the highest (operations) tempo we've got today. It's tough on our aviators, and that leads to challenges. It's tough on their families, but it just underlines the importance of Army Aviation in both theaters today."
Chiarelli said Combat Aviation Brigades' leaders and Soldiers have a tough mission "they have done exceptionally well - in very difficult and demanding environments - integrating both manned and unmanned Aviation assets into a single, cohesive combat capability. I think Army Aviation could lead in the integration of UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). I am just absolutely thrilled at how the community, the branch, has embraced UAS and (looked) for ways to integrate them into their formations."
Since the start of the war, Chiarelli noted that CABs have fought in all the major battles, flown hundreds of thousands of combat missions and assisted in numerous counterinsurgency operations.
"The role of Army Aviation in the counter-insurgency fight is documented and supported by eight years of war," he said. "Again, when you're deploying at the rate we're deploying right now, we can't put another unit in the field because the demand is so great and we are using it to its full capability. I don't think it's just counter-insurgency, I think it's full spectrum operations, which is really the way we'll fight all future wars, as our doctrine says. The role of Army Aviation, no matter what the mission, will be absolutely critical."
Chiarelli said the service's senior leaders are working hard to figure out how to relieve some of the pressure on its force, and particularly Army Aviation that's providing the Soldiers needed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaders and commanders at every level are needed to ensure the Army takes care of its Soldiers and their families - both personally and professionally - to include behavioral health issues such as post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army also spoke about the Army's Modernization Program.
Chiarelli asked the leaders attending the conference to "please pass along my sincere thanks and admiration for the men and women of Army Aviation and their families. You've done an absolutely remarkable job over the past eight-plus years, and I am confident you will continue to do great things in the days ahead."