REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - More than 280 U.S. Army aviators, maintainers and logisticians from around the world convened at U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal to attend the sixth annual AMCOM 101 for Aviation forum, Feb. 19-20.
Soldiers representing many Army aviation units participated in briefings, panel discussions and break-out sessions designed to increase aviation units' readiness by expanding their understanding of how AMCOM and Army Materiel Command can help them and informing them of improvements in the pipeline.
"AMCOM 101 is tailored to meet the requirements of aviation units and maintenance activities in the field," said AMCOM's Aviation Maintenance Officer Chief Warrant Officer 5 Mike Cavaco. "We host this professional development forum to help Soldiers understand the sustainment capabilities that AMCOM provide, who and how to reach back for additional help and to capture direct feedback from the field to help AMCOM improve Army Aviation readiness."
The Army Materiel Command's Deputy Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Edward Daly, set the tone right from the start of the event.
"This is going to be a great two days," said Daly. "You need to walk away from [this forum] feeling empowered; you need to walk away knowing you learned new things; and you need to walk away knowing you have tremendous support from the Aviation enterprise. You have to give us honest feedback. Tell us how to get better and about your points of friction. I guarantee, that if we know those points of friction, the entire Aviation enterprise will launch toward you [with support]."
The collaborative event featured presentations on the future of Army Aviation and support from senior aviation leaders to include AMCOM, Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Program Executive Office - Aviation, and Future Vertical Lift. Additionally, several panel discussions and break-out sessions covered everything from strategic materiel readiness to advanced tactical training.
Those in attendance noted AMCOM 101's agenda was on target with their needs.
"This is a great opportunity to hear directly from Army Aviation leaders and to learn more about where aviation in moving in the future," said 1st Lt. Sterling Cornelison, a pilot and the 1st Infantry Division adjutant, from Fort Riley, Kansas. "This is my first time to attend this type of event. I appreciate hearing about all aspects of sustainment and readiness to help broaden my knowledge and understanding of how the entire Army Aviation enterprise works."
A recurring theme across many sessions was easing Soldiers' maintenance burden.
"It is our job to make you better and make your readiness better," said the AMCOM Commander, Maj. Gen. Todd Royar. "I think technology is really improving our ability to reduce the maintenance burden on Soldiers in the field. We want units spending less time turning wrenches and more time flying. Technology is a way to help achieve that goal. Additionally, we need direct feedback from the field to make sure our efforts are improving overall readiness."
An example of technology improving maintenance comes in the form of the Aircraft Notebook (ACN), currently being fielded to Soldiers. It allows maintainers to track and plan logistics functions, enabling them to order, move, track and maintain equipment. This new capability was a hot topic during the Strategic Logistics Information Readiness panel discussion on the second day of the event.
"I really wanted to learn more about new systems coming our way, like ACN," said Warrant Officer William Quintana, an aviation maintenance technician with the 1st Aviation Combat Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas. "I also wanted to hear from the Defense Logistics Agency because I work with them on a daily basis back at my unit."
Royar's closing remarks reminded everyone in attendance that Army air power plays a vital role in the Nation's warfighter capabilities.
"Thank you for what you do in making a difference every single day," said Royar. "You are in high demand, and every formation on the ground wants more air support. If we can help provide capability from a readiness standpoint, please don't hesitate to call. We want to help solve your problems today and in the future. We are here to help optimize warfighter capabilities."