James Kelton Receives The Department Of The Army Civilian Of The Year Award
James Kelton is recognized with the Joseph P. Cribbins Department of the Army Civilian of the Year Award during the April 18 opening session of the Army Aviation Association of America annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Nashville. Presenting him with the award are, from left, association president retired Brig. Gen. Rod Wolfe, Gen. James Thurman and Maj. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--Exploring ways to improve Army aviation in low-level airspace has kept James Kelton in a job at Redstone Arsenal that he very much enjoys.

It also led to his being named the Joseph P. Cribbins Department of the Army Civilian of the Year at the Army Aviation Association of America annual Professional Forum and Exposition on April 18. The award is presented annually to the Army civilian who has made an outstanding individual contribution to aviation in the previous year.

He was one of 11 award recipients recognized during the opening session of the forum.

Kelton's work as the assistant product manager for the Army's Tactical Airspace Integration System in the Air Traffic Control Product Office at Redstone has given him the "freedom to explore innovative ways to improve air/ground integration," he told the gathering of forum participants at the opening session.

Kelton thanked the team he works with at Redstone, saying "my recognition is simply a function of their hard work and the magnificent men and women of our armed forces."

In his position, Kelton's efforts directly affect combat effectiveness by providing tactical commanders freedom of maneuver in the third dimension of battle space. He has done revolutionary work with the Airspace Integration Improvements Initiative, which will lead to changes in Air Traffic Control and Airspace Command and Control.

Under his leadership, TAIS systems were successfully deployed in support of the Coalition Attack Guidance Experiment in Canada, Army North Exercise Vibrant Response, and in airspace information centers around the world. He has continually improved TAIS, streamlining the ability to rapidly clear airspace for immediate missions.

His contributions enhance safety and effectiveness of the tactical and national airspace environments.

In other awards, the Utility Helicopters Project Office was the recipient of the Robert M. Leich Award, named after the association's first president and given annually to a unit for sustained contributions to Army aviation.

The Utility Helicopters Project Office supports more than 400 utility helicopters in active combat zones, more than 300 processing through preset and more than 300 moving through the sustainment process. More than 900 additional utility helicopters are ready to respond to worldwide natural disasters, rescues, MEDEVACs and similar operations.

The utility helicopter fleet has amassed the highest number of combat helicopter hours in history, with more than 1.5 million combat hours and more than 6 million total fleet hours.

In support of aviation Soldiers, the utility helicopters team at Redstone has worked to rapidly increase the fleet, digitize helicopter systems, improve situational awareness, modernize the airframes and field sophisticated sensor systems. These include 118 new UH-60M Black Hawks, 54 new UH-72A Lakotas and 435 new T701d engines.

Of the employees of the Utility Helicopters Project Office, project manager Col. Neil Thurgood said: "Their passion, service and dedication to serve the Soldiers is unmatched ... Not a day goes by, not a minute goes by that we don't focus on our combat action brigade Soldiers."

The association also inducted Army aviators in their Hall of Fame during the association's forum. Those with Huntsville connections are retired Lt. Gen. Anthony Jones, a Boeing vice president and Huntsville site executive; retired Brig. Gen. Edward Sinclair, chief executive officer for Science Engineering Services in Huntsville; and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Buford Thomas, who lives in Athens.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16