Post honors Parker Award recipients
February 2, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Feb. 2, 2012) -- Soldiers, Family members and other members of the Fort Rucker community gathered for a ceremony at The Landing to honor the recipients of the Lt. Gen. Ellis D. Parker Outstanding Unit Awards Jan. 24.
The award was established in recognition of retired Lt. Gen. Ellis D. Parker's, former director of the Army Staff and previous commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center, long association with Army Aviation and accomplishments in developing the Branch, according to Col. Kevin J. Christensen, 110th Aviation Brigade commander and master of ceremonies.
"The Parker Award is open to all active duty and reserve-component Aviation units worldwide," said Christensen, "and recognizes excellence in leadership, training, maintenance and safety in each battalion or squadron."
The competition for the award is held in four categories: best combat battalion, best combat support battalion, best table of distribution and allowances battalion, and overall winner and best combat support battalion, said the colonel.
Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, retired Gen. Doug Brown, former regiment commander of 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the award's namesake were among those that presented the awards.
Best combat battalion
The winner of the best combat battalion went to 6th Squadron, 6th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, Fort Drum, N.Y., according to Christensen.
"They operated in one of the most challenging and helicopter-dependent areas of operations in all of Afghanistan," he said. "Task Force Six-Shooter combined outstanding maintenance statistics while operating in an austere environment, posted the highest operational tempo in Region Command South, while sustaining the finest safety record of any Aviation unit in this theater."
Best combat support battalion
The second unit to be honored with an award was to 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, Fort Drum, for best combat support battalion, said Christensen.
"They provided outstanding combat Aviation support air movement -- air medical evacuation to U.S. forces, coalition partners and the government of Afghanistan," he said. "Their determination and drive ensured mission accomplishment in all these critical and diverse tasks while under direct support of 11 different brigade combat teams in an area of over 40,000 square miles, and in terrain above 14,000 feet."
Best table of distribution and allowances battalion
The next honoree was Fort Rucker's 1st Battalion, 223rd Aviation Regiment, as the best table of distribution and allowances battalion, according to Christensen.
"The 1-223rd is responsible for providing superb flight training to more than 2,500 student pilots, and flew in excess of 117,000 flight hours during fiscal year 2011," he said. "They also oversaw 70,000 accident-free and incident-free ground vehicle miles, bringing the battalion to over 1.3 million miles without ever having a government operated vehicle accident."
Overall winner of the 2011 Parker Award
The 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, Fort Campbell, Ky., took the award as the overall winner and best combat support battalion, said Christensen.
"The 563rd have proven themselves to be a critical player in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan," he said. "Under the most austere conditions, the battalion has supported over 20,000 missions and 90,000 flight hours; five downed aircraft recoveries; pumped over 700,000 gallons of jet fuel; and distributed over 4 million pounds of cargo.
According to the colonel, the 563rd Avn. Support Bn. saved $2.1 million, exercising supply discipline and cross-leveling General Services Administration excess, saving an additional $488,000.
"They also completed over 27 phase maintenance inspections, 6,000 shop and avionics work orders and completed over 7,000 aircraft repairs," said Christensen. "The battalion epitomized the 'keep it fighting' mentality, proving that they are the best Aviation support battalion this year."
"Our Aviation force has never been better than it is today," said Brown. "We are so proud -- It's very well led, perfectly trained, beautifully equipped and it's never been more in demand and more experienced."