FORT HOOD, Texas -- The Vampires of Company C, 1st Aerial Reconnaissance “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cav. Division, were awarded the 2019 Daedalian Colonel Franklin C. Wolfe Weapon Systems Award Oct. 21, becoming the second company to receive the coveted award in its 50-year history.
“It’s the 50th anniversary of the award. The level of performance and level of impact that we did in receiving the award is absolutely phenomenal,” Capt. David Greer, the Vampires’ company commander, said. “We’re the second company in 50 years and the first conventional company to win.”
From February to May 2019, the Vampire aviators conducted the first successful test of the AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile, nicknamed the JAGM.
After receiving training on the JAGM at the Boeing plant in Mesa, Arizona, the AH-64E Apache aviators then conducted simulated training here at Fort Hood. The Vampire aviators conducted the first successful life-fire test of the JAGM during a training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. There, they conducted both land and water training, blowing up boats, tanks and personnel carriers.
Capt. Clayton Jaksha, brigade adjutant, who was one of the aviators who tested the JAGM in 2019, described the weapon as the next step forward from the AGM-114 Hellfire, which is currently in use. He said there are different variants of the Hellfire missile – one is laser-seeking, while the other is radar-guided – which is aggregated in the JAGM.
“What JAGM did is it combined both, so it has a laser-seeker and a radar transmitter in front,” Jaksha said. “You can fire it in blended modes, where you can start lasing and then stop lasing. You can do more dynamic stuff. Because of those two technologies together, it always finds its target.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Nicholas Kehoe, national commander of the Order of Daedalians, said the award is presented annually to military or civilian individuals, groups or organizations who have contributed the most outstanding weapons system development, which operates, in whole or in part, in the aerospace environment. Recipients of the award are selected by the Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force, awarded on a rotating basis in that order.
“It will be used across the defense and other services, as well as the Army, and that’s why you were identified to receive this award,” Kehoe said about the JAGM.
Kehoe presented the award to Lt. Col. Jason James, battalion commander, who then presented the award to Greer Kehoe said transferring the award that way symbolizes putting the award back in the chain of command.
“This award is not a recognition of a single individual,” Greer said, “but rather the representation of hard work, dedication and, most importantly, team work from the entire company.”