ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 21, 2014) -- The U.S. Army Research Laboratory recognized the Maryland Army National Guard Feb. 26 for their support of its greening course.

"The greening course is not only a special event for the participants, but also for the military," said Sgt. Maj. Christopher Harris, ARL senior enlisted advisor. "This is where we (the military) get to feel like we are contributing and making a difference. Our Soldiers are so used to being a part of something that's bigger than them. We learn as much from each participant as they do from us."

Twenty-five civilians from ARL recently completed a greening courses that the organization planned and executed. The event took place at APG in January and included an aviation orientation by the Maryland Army National Guard and a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter ride.

"My favorite experiences were the Black Hawk helicopter ride and driving the M1 Abrams tank -- opportunities I thought I would never have," said Vishal Bhagwandin from ARL's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate.

Harris wanted to ensure the crew at the Maryland Army National Guard knew how much they were appreciated.

"I wanted to personally thank the Maryland Army National Guard for their professionalism and dedication in making this event so memorable. We couldn't have been successful without their support," said Harris. "One team -- one mission."

The crew at the Maryland Army National Guard was happy to support.

"I and the aircrew were honored to receive the group plaque and the individual certificates from Sgt. Maj. Harris on behalf of the ARL staff," said one of the pilots, Chief Warrant Officer 5 David Eppler, 29th Combat Aviation Brigade. "We are happy the course participants enjoyed their Blackhawk experience."

ARL's Staff Sgt. Kirt Wheatley, an avid woodworker, created the plaque that Harris presented to the group.

"It's a great feeling to be able to put your side talents to work by designing and creating the plaque for those at the Maryland Army National Guard who were so supportive to ARL's greening course," Wheatley said. "The course participants were so excited about the time they spent in the Black Hawk helicopter, as was I."

ABOUT ARMY RESEARCH LABORATORY

ARL is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness--technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection and sustainment--to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.