By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterNovember 10, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A former Fort Rucker Soldier was memorialized and a building named in his honor during a ceremony honoring his work as the first warrant officer to serve as a foreign exchange officer.
The Fort Rucker Liaison Office is now known as Foley Hall in honor of CW5 George W. Foley, former Aviation project officer for the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence Directorate of Training and Doctrine.
"Bill Foley's lifetime of achievement and dedication to our nation and the United States Army and Army Aviation in many ways will live on through the dedication of this building," said Col. Brian Walsh, DOTD director, at a ceremony Nov. 4 to dedicate the building in Foley's name. "His dedication to duty and service lives on in all of us and serves to inspire each of us every day."
Foley, who passed away in 2013 of an illness, served more than 28 years of active service, some of which he served in Vietnam as an AH-1 Cobra pilot. He also served in multiple key leadership positions and was the first warrant officer to serve as a foreign exchange officer.
During his assignment with the Royal Netherlands air force, Foley began to develop a reputation as the U.S. Army's ambassador to the international rotary-wing community.
"Bill's service not only had significant impact to Army Aviation, but the international Aviation community, as well," said Walsh.
Even after active-duty service, Foley continued to serve his country following his retirement as the U.S. head of delegation for the NATO Standardization Organization and the coalition between American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand armies. He also served as the primary contact officer for the center's foreign liaison officers.
Capt. Christopher Foley, son of Bill Foley, was also on hand during the ceremony to offer his words of gratitude, and share stories of his father and how he influenced his own career.
"It's been a fantastic opportunity for us as his family to see how much he was cared about throughout the whole community," said Christopher. "He once told me that a successful career is all about learning from successes and failures."
Christopher said his father had the chance to be an exchange officer with the Dutch air force, which turned out to be one of the best experiences of their lives -- having the opportunity to live in Holland.
"The one thing that we did learn was that transition is different for every family and that you can't just one-size-fits-all every family when they have a transition like that," he said. "That was definitely the case for us, and I'm sure that's the case for all families as they transition back and forth from the U.S. to their home countries.
"Settling a family in an unfamiliar situation, whether its language barriers, questions of where to send the kids to school and what the best housing opportunities look like, are all things that we all encountered in the late 1980s as we settled into Holland," he continued. "These are things that both the embassy and our Dutch sponsors helped us through, and going forward, that was what really led my father to really love this job and love the people that he worked with."
Through that experience, Christopher said his father learned to truly care about each and every family that came through Fort Rucker, and he did everything he could to make their transition smooth and treated them as if they were an extension of his own family.
"He fully understood what that transition was like not only as a service member, but as a family, and he wanted to make it plausible and as seamless as possible, and that's really what drove him to love this job," he said.