FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- An honor more known to be given to Army Aviators was awarded to a civilian Aug. 11 for his nearly 33 years of dedicated service to Army Aviation.
Jeffrey Babine, former visual information specialist with the Fort Rucker Multimedia Visual Information Center, was inducted into the Order of St. Michael during a ceremony at the training aids, devices, simulations and simulators building where he received a medallion and plaque to commemorate the honor.
"Rarely do we recognize non-Aviators, but we can't do this Aviation business without the support system of our civilians who do this, so I've personally made it my goal to find those civilians who spend the vast majority of their career supporting Army Aviation," said Col. Richard. T. Calchera, U.S. Army Reserve deputy assistant commandant, during the induction. "I wanted to make sure Jeff got that recognition because of the 33 years he spent supporting Army Aviation in different places."
"I'm almost speechless," Babine said. "This is a great honor and I thank Colonel Calchera for putting [me in for it] -- it was totally unexpected. I thank everybody for supporting for the close to 33 years of my career -- without you guys I wouldn't be where I'm at today."
Babine began his career in civil service in 1984 as an equipment illustrator at Cairns Army Airfield with the U.S. Army Aviation Board, and produced graphic art for both his primary organization, as well as for the U.S. Army Technical Test Center. During his time there from 1984 to 1996, he produced graphics that included two-dimensional technical illustrations of Aviation systems and sub-systems, brochures, fine art graphics, illustrations, and computer generated graphics and animations.
"My job was basically to help Army Aviators get what they need from anywhere from fine art graphic design to charts, graphs and other instructional material to help keep the Soldiers alive on the battlefield," said the inductee. "That's what my calling was -- to support the Army Aviator."
In 1996, he was assigned to the MVISC training division of the Directorate of Plans, Training Mobilization and Security as a visual information specialist where he produced graphics and visual graphic designs per customer requests.
The Order of St. Michael recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to the promotion of Army Aviation in ways that stand out in the eyes of the recipient's seniors, subordinates and peers, and Calchera said Babine has done that and more throughout his career.
"I've known Jeff for 28 years -- back when I was a captain working here -- and to me, Jeff is a cornerstone of Fort Rucker," he said. "We really appreciate all of his talents and we're glad that Army Aviation was able to capitalize on some of those throughout his career."
Babine, who is a professional artist by trade with two degrees in studio art, retired from civil service in May. He is proficient in oil paints, acrylics, water color, inks, charcoal and pencil art, and said he plans to continue working on his art in his studio.