By Jason CutshawMarch 21, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - More than 280 members of the Army aviation community gathered at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command headquarters during the AMCOM 101 for Aviation, Oct. 30-31.
During the event, aviation Soldiers and civilians participated in presentations and discussions focused on aviation readiness and sustainment across the aviation enterprise. They also learned about new aviation technology that is being developed in support of Soldiers and their equipment.
"AMCOM 101 is aimed at increasing awareness in the assets the aviation enterprise and AMCOM, specifically, can bring to bear to increase readiness in their formations," Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael D. Cavaco, AMCOM Aviation Branch Maintenance Officer explained. "We host this annually as a leadership and professional development event for deputy commanding generals down through combat aviation brigades' (CABs) chains of command."
Cavaco said AMCOM can provide many resources above the combat aviation brigade-and division-level that many Aviation leaders may be know about.
On the first day, the aviators and support personnel received briefings and discussed several strategic topics, such as readiness, observations from the field, support from home stations, reporting, policies, and others. At lunch, the group attended professional development sessions for commanders, warrant officers and noncommissioned officers, respectively.
"Having a better understanding of what happens at the aviation enterprise and the different levels of maintenance and the different resources that are available to us only helps us build readiness," said Lt. Col. Shoshannah Lane, battalion commander, 46th Aviation Support Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. "Knowing who to talk to when you have issues and knowing the right buttons to push when you have a problem is always helpful. To be able to get to that more quickly is one of the big benefits of something like this.
"Another benefit is getting all the experience from the field and gaining something from every different comment," she added.
On the second day, AMCOM hosted panels on various topics, including reset and condition-based reset, training and inspections, airframe-condition evaluations, corrosion, the Corpus Christi Army Depot, training opportunities and quality control. Following the panels, the attendees separated into smaller groups for breakout sessions on various aviation topics.
"The importance of AMCOM 101 is to synch up and see what other issues people are having and how we can work together to figure it out," said Staff Sgt. David Crockett, a production-control specialist with the Army Reserve's 8th Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, at Fort Knox, Ky. "Maybe something I am not seeing, someone else is seeing. With this [forum] we can get a collective picture of what's going on. I would tell anyone in the production-control and quality-control fields they need to be involved in these discussions."
The AMCOM 101 is not just for aviators, but for all leaders involved in aviation, including logistics and sustainment, Cavaco explained.
"For a CAB, the importance of AMCOM 101 is gaining knowledge of all the different systems and processes that are out and available to us," said 10th Combat Aviation Brigade Command Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jeff Starritt from Fort Drum, N.Y. "A lot of times we get Soldiers thinking the Army is only made up of 'green-suiters.' We forget, or never learn, how many Army personnel supporting us is not wearing a uniform.
"I think we almost have to mandate AMCOM 101, it's that important," Starritt added. "There are so many things that won't run if we are not using systems and assets available to us."
As they prepared to fly away from Redstone Arsenal, one participant said AMCOM 101 definitely met its intent to help members of the aviation enterprise be on the same page and learn how AMCOM supports them, especially when they are deployed.
"Working with the Multinational forces and observers is a very unique logistics challenge for us," said Maj. Amoreena York, commander, Task Force Sinai Aviation Company, Multinational Forces and Observers, who traveled from Egypt to attend the symposium.
"Most of the support we receive is not on-site or on location, so we rely on our logistics assistance representatives and outside sources in order to get us the pieces and parts we need," York explained. "Coming to AMCOM 101 helps us understand what assets, directorates and organizations are out there to help us, but also to understand the larger picture of when we have a demand for a part, why we can't get it immediately and how to communicate that to our higher elements so there is expectation management. Understanding the larger picture and logistics issues in aviation is so important because you can do expectation management and also manage your forces correctly."
AMCOM has hosted 101 for Aviation annually since 2014. Each year, following the forum, the AMCOM leadership solicits feedback from the participants. They then use that feedback to further improve next year's event.
"We had our highest participation this year with almost 300 leaders across the aviation enterprise from around the world," Cavaco said. "We received great feedback, had great interaction and the event was very successful."