By Staff Sgt. Kulani LakanariaMay 27, 2019
SOUTH CAMP, Sinai, Egypt - Maj. Amoreena York relinquished command of the U.S. Army's Aviation Company (AVCO), Task Force Sinai (TFS) to Maj. Mark Axtell May 23, 2019. AVCO supports the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) mission of supervising the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace and employ best efforts to prevent any violation of its terms.
"The aviation company here is quite a unique organization within the U.S. Army aviation enterprise," said Col. Mark Ott, Task Force Sinai commander. "There is no other company in the Army like it, for that reason, there is a major ... commanding a company element. AVCO lacks a lot of the aviation expertise and support provided from the battalion and brigade level that helps to facilitate getting the job done."
A self-sustaining aviation company, AVCO is enhanced with all the support elements of a traditional aviation battalion. Comprised of two flight platoons, a maintenance platoon, a headquarters platoon which includes a fuel detachment, production control, quality control, technical supply, AVCO supports the MFO in peacekeeping operations in Egypt and Israel.
It provides critical rotary-wing support, flying in day and night conditions. On average the unit delivers 15 sling loads a week to deliver food, water and supplies to the MFO's austere remote sites, provides aerial observation for the Observer section, casualty evacuation and VIP escort.
"This is a different environment than Afghanistan and Iraq, with a different joint staff," said York. "Having the autonomy to operate as a company was amazing and very unique compared to any other mission."
York, of Port Orchard, Wash., has commanded AVCO for the past 13 months, and under her leadership the unit has had more flight hours than years before, as well as coordinating and conducting phase maintenance with contractors in Sinai - saving time and money.
"Flying in the Sinai was epic," said York. "We have had some long NVG (night vision goggles) flights over the desert with zero illume, I will never forget that."
AVCO formed in March 1982, comprised of 10 UH-1H Huey helicopters based out of South Camp. In 1990, the Canadian squadron providing rotary-wing support to Forward Operating Base North (FOBN) redeployed and AVCO split its assets between the two camps. In 2005, AVCO exchanged the UH-1H Hueys for today's UH-60 Blackhawks.
"This is a great assignment and I appreciate my time in the MFO," said York.