The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence announces the winners of the Lt. Gen. Ellis D. Parker Army Aviation Unit Awards for fiscal year 2019.The multi-component Department of the Army level award recognizes excellence at the battalion level, with a primary focus on safety, leadership, training and maintenance. The annual awards include category awards for combat support, combat service support, table of distribution and allowances, and an overall top battalion of the year.• The top battalion in the Combat category, as well as the Overall Aviation Battalion of the Year is the 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.• The top battalion in the Combat Support category is the 6-101st General Support Aviation Battalion, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.• The top battalion in the Combat Service and Support category is the 638th Aviation Support Battalion, (Task Force Taz), Camp Buehring, Kuwait.• The top battalion in the Table of Distribution and Allowances category is the Special Operations Aviation Training Battalion (SOATB), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.About the AwardsIn 1993, then- Chief of Staff of the Army retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan approved the Lt. Gen. Ellis D. Parker Award to honor the Army's top Aviation battalion.The "Parker Award" is a multi-component Department of the Army level award that recognizes excellence at the battalion level, the primary war fighting Army Aviation force.The annual award aims to recognize excellence, provides incentive to excel in areas of leadership, training, maintenance and safety, and encourage innovation.Competition is limited to battalion-size units, with the exception of separate units that are not part of a battalion (such as medical evacuation companies), and deployed Aviation task forces.Nominated battalions are initially boarded against category peers, then undergo an evaluation against four primary evaluation criteria--safety, leadership, training and maintenance. Category winners then compete against each other for the top aviation battalion of the year award.About retired Lt. Gen. Ellis D. ParkerA true Army Aviation pioneer, retired Lt. Gen. Ellis D. Parker assumed command as Aviation Branch Chief shortly after its formation. He is credited with having consolidated and modernized Army Aviation hardware, doctrine, training and logistics, making possible the Army's transition from the Cobra to the Apache helicopter.Parker is a veteran Army Aviator and an inductee in both the Army Field Artillery Hall of Fame and Army Aviation Hall of Fame. He is a former commander of the Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Ala.Army Aviation officially became a Branch in 1983, under his watch as Dep. Director of Requirements and Army Aviation Officer, Headquarters, Department of the Army.