More than 140 PEO Aviation DA Civilians and contractors received a three-day orientation Aug. 1-3 to gain insight into the Army and unit mission, culture and core values.

The first PEO Aviation 101 was an acculturation event for recently hired members of the PEO Aviation workforce to learn and understand the Army and the Army Aviation Enterprise. The goal was to familiarize new civilians and contractors with the organization's mission supporting Army readiness, and foster an appreciation for the importance of their role in supporting Soldiers.

"The orientation for new employees is vital for the success of the organization," said Col. Chad H. Smith, director of contingency operations for PEO Aviation G-3. "Brig. Gen Todd's goal for PEO Aviation 101's is to increase our new team members' situational awareness by providing an overview of the Army and the Aviation enterprise, while combining PEO Aviation's mission of increasing Army readiness. Additionally, the training will provide an excellent opportunity for developing trust and strengthening relationships with their teammates across PEO Aviation."

The program was conducted in three phases. Phase I began with remarks from the PEO Aviation leadership team. Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd and Sgt. Major Woody Sullivan welcomed new teammates to the organization, and each talked about the critical roles civilians and contractors play in supporting PEO Aviation and the Army. Employees also received briefs on a variety of topics including the Army mission and organizational structure, the Army Aviation Enterprise and Army ranks.

PEO Aviation
During Phase II employee received an introduction to the organization through briefings from primary and special staff sections on organizational policies and procedures, goals, financial appropriations in support of Army aviation and other subjects aimed at helping employees become part of the team. Additionally, representatives from PEO Aviation's nine project management offices provided information on their organizational structure, roles and responsibilities and current projects and initiatives.

Hands-on Familiarization
Phase III, hands on training, provided an opportunity for workers to get a firsthand look at some of the actual products they facilitate providing the Warfighter. During this phase attendees were transported to the Redstone Test Center hangar to get up close to several aircraft and systems in the PEO Aviation portfolio. Employees were able to move in and around aircraft on display including the AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook, while pilots and operators answered any questions about the aircraft and how they operate. Unmanned aircraft systems on display included the RQ-7B Shadow, RQ-11B Raven and QR-20A Puma.

Besides the aircraft exhibit, employees were also introduced to flight training via a highly immersive simulator called the Black Hawk Aircrew Trainer. The AMRDEC-developed BAT is used to help train and maintain proficiency in the Black Hawk. The simulator allows pilots to train on certain tasks for accreditation, while doing so at a reduced cost versus the expense of actual flying hours.

"This orientating provided an excellent opportunity to gain an enterprise level look at the organization," said Tonnesha Lewis, a logistics supervisor in the Aviation Turbine Engine project management office. "For those of us who will primarily work on one system, it helped us to understand the diverse product lines and programs being executed throughout the organization in support of the Soldier."

According to Smith, PEO Aviation plans to expand its orientation, and host them on a quarterly basis. Civilians are a critical aspect of the Army, and it's important to welcome them to our team in a way that they understand the mission and how we support the Soldier, Smith said.