REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - Serving in the community keeps one space officer grounded.

Maj. Alexander L. Jehle, principal investigator for the Space Systems Division, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Technical Center, received the 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Martin Schilling Award for his service as the AIAA 2018-2019 chairman at the society's 67th annual awards dinner at the Jackson Center in Huntsville, Alabama May 17.

"It was an honor to be recognized by the AIAA Greater Huntsville Section, and join the venerable list of prior awardees," Jehle said. "I'm thankful for having had the opportunity to serve the community these past few years, to be trusted to lead and uphold the traditions of the section, and am looking forward to continuing to volunteer with the section and with AIAA.

"It was a privilege and honor to lead the largest section of the largest aerospace professional society," he added. "I have had the opportunity to meet and volunteer with outstanding professionals and students throughout Alabama and Northern Mississippi, and am thankful for the mentorship and camaraderie of working with the past chairs of the section."

Founded as the Alabama Section of the American Rocket Society in 1952, the current Greater Huntsville Section, or GHS, of the AIAA works to provide a professional forum for the local aerospace community. The Huntsville section is one of the largest in the AIAA with approximately 1,000 members representing industry, government and academia.

"I became a member of AIAA so that I could remain connected to the Aerospace profession," Jehle said. "I graduated in 2006 with degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering, but was initially selected to be a Quartermaster officer. AIAA kept me involved in the profession, and provided me with continuing education opportunities."

The Greater Huntsville Section has a number of upcoming events for this year, including: sponsoring a "Pass the Torch" lecture July 18 at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center; NextGeneration Symposium; Engineers Week; science fair judging; sponsorship of the Regional Student Conference and College Scholarships, NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center; and the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.

"AIAA's mission is to promote the aerospace and aviation professions," Jehle said. "We work to inspire K-12 students to pursue a major in a (science, mathematics, technology and engineering) field of study, support students in their efforts to join the aerospace workforce, and work to connect aerospace professionals to mentors. This past year AIAA GHS held multiple events to help promote the aerospace industry and help the workforce."

AIAA is the principal society and voice serving the aerospace profession to advance the arts, sciences and technology of aeronautics and astronautics and to foster and promote the professionalism of those engaged in these pursuits. AIAA is a global organization with nearly 31,000 members.

"AIAA is a great opportunity to seek your own way to make a difference in the profession and community," Jehle said. "Whether you are looking for opportunities to increase your knowledge, advance your career, or for are looking for ways you can give back to the community, there is something for everyone."