By Kari HawkinsDecember 18, 2017
Speaking to more than 200 aviation leaders and Soldiers at the Aviation and Missile Command's 101 for Aviation on Dec. 13, AMCOM commander Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram said the annual meeting is a one-of-a-kind event that other Army branches are trying to emulate.
"We are one team, one fight," Gabram told the aviators, who travelled from units around the world to attend the two-day AMCOM 101 for Aviation at Redstone Arsenal. "No other branch has this kind of event. It's something that benefits the aviation branch and the Army."
AMCOM 101 for Aviation brings together aviators from across the Army aviation enterprise to learn about the sustainment capabilities of AMCOM, and to discuss aviation challenges and solutions. It is a venue that allows Soldiers to engage on a multitude of issues related to maintenance, sustainment and future needs, and directly with the workforce that enables their success. Futhermore, AMCOM 101 foster networking and relationship-building.
"We need all of you to help us in sustaining aviation readiness," Gabram told the crowd gathered in the Sparkman Center's Bob Jones Auditorium.
In discussing the global environment, Gabram referred to a quote from Army Materiel Command's Gen. Gus Perna - "In war, the difference between being ready and reacting is the amount of lives lost. We must hold ourselves accountable to being ready." Gabram emphasize to the AMCOM 101 group that they must be relentlessly focused on preparing themselves for whatever may come in the future.
"Being as ready as you can be is absolutely critical. What have you done to get your team ready?" Gabram said.
The two-star general recalled the urgent turn of events during the beginning of Desert Shield/Desert Storm just over 25 years ago. At the end of July, Gabram was training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in a simulated invasion of Kuwait. On Aug. 3, he and his unit were told to pack their bags and get ready to move out in 18 hours. On Aug. 10, he was in the desert, trying to figure out how to protect helicopters from the sand.
The purpose of aviation in any mission, he said, is to ensure the ground Soldiers are successful.
"What are we here for? The only reason we exist is to support the Soldiers and commanders on the ground," Gabram said. "In Iraq, in Afghanistan, look at the optempo and look what we've done for Soldiers the past 17 years. When commanders talk about Army aviation, they talk about trust. Trust is what we have with the ground force. We can't break that trust."
No matter the conditions, the weather, the time of day, Gabram said Army aviation will be there to lend its capabilities to enable the Army's mission.
"Bottom-line, if we have Soldiers there who need us, a helicopter will be there to pick them up. At the end of the day, that's sacred and we can't change that. At the end of the day, we have to be there for them," he said.
When Soldiers are moved out on short timelines, Gabram said a similarly quick response will be required for organizations like AMCOM that provide the logistics, maintenance and sustainment support crucial to the Soldier. AMCOM's unity of effort is accomplished by leveraging the Army Contracting Command-Redstone; Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center; Security Assistance Management Directorate; Corpus Christi Army Depot (Texas); AMCOM Logistics Center; Test, Measurement and Diagnostics Equipment Activity; Letterkenny Army Depot (Pennsylvania) and Aviation Center Logistics Command (Fort Rucker, Alabama).
The agenda for the opening session of AMCOM 101 also included presentations from Brig. Gen. Todd Royar, the deputy commander for support of the 101st Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd, program executive officer for Aviation; and Maj. Gen. Bill Gayler, commander of the Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker.
While Royar encouraged the aviators to ensure readiness of their units by providing concerns and solutions to their higher command, Todd spoke about the PEO's role in designing, developing and delivering aviation capabilities to the warfighter and Gayler discussed the aviation training mission along with the need for consistent funding.
"We need steady and consistent funding that allows for modernization and training while filling the current demand for aviation assets," Gayler said.
AMCOM is actively solving issues impacting Army aviation, including the reduction in time to recapitalize helicopters, improving engine and blade repairs, addressing generator and transmission modifications, and developing solutions for making helicopters faster, safer and more lethal.
"The aviation enterprise is working for Soldiers and their units. We must continue to leverage the power in the enterprise to address the most pressing needs of our branch," Gabram said. "It is this unified effort that provides the best capabilities for our most precious resource - the sons and daughters of our nation."