U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael McCurry, director of Force Development, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 at the Army Pentagon, congratulates his daughter, 1st Lt. Mary Delvaux, as she exits the stage during the flight school graduation at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker, Alabama, May 20, 2021.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael McCurry, director of Force Development, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 at the Army Pentagon, congratulates his daughter, 1st Lt. Mary Delvaux, as she exits the stage during the flight school graduation at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker, Alabama, May 20, 2021. (Photo Credit: Kelly Morris) VIEW ORIGINAL

U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Michael C. McCurry, director of Force Development, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 at the Army Pentagon, delivered a message about the importance of people to flight school graduates at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Ala., May 20, 2021.

“As you go out to the force always remember that although we love our machines, it’s important we remain focused on our people,” McCurry said.

He challenged the aviators to train hard, never accept less than the standard and honor their commitment.

McCurry explained the primary reason Army Aviation exists is for the Soldier on the ground.

“We see, smell and feel the battlefield as a foot Soldier,” he said.

“When that Soldier needs to know what’s just over the hill, we go find out. When that Soldier needs to be placed in a better tactical position, we put them there. If they’re running low on ammunition, we deliver. If that Soldier needs an extra little bit of fire power, we bring it to bear on the enemy. And God forbid, if that Soldier is wounded on the field of battle, we’re coming to get them,” McCurry said.

A master aviator with more than 30 years of service, and an aviation legacy passed down to him from his own father, McCurry said he was passing along that sacred bond to the group of graduates at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence.

“I am committed to passing this bond on to each of you, including my own daughter and son-in-law who are also aviation warfighters. As a father of an armored lieutenant and an infantryman as well, I know they expect and deserve nothing less from Army aviation,” he said.

Moments later McCurry would later pin the wings on his own daughter, 1LT Mary Delvaux, as she graduated, while her husband, 1Lt. Evan Delvaux, who is also an Army aviator, looked on.

He congratulated the graduates on earning their silver wings, and thanked the families for their love and support.

“Without their support, none of our newest Army aviators would be here,” he said.

Graduates should consider the milestone of their graduation as an opportunity to learn, he said.

“As aviators we tend to identify with our platforms, so many of you are now calling yourself Apache or Black Hawk or Chinook or airplane pilots. That’s great. But as you graduate from flight school today you are aviation warfighters with a license to continue learning our business,” he said.

McCurry explained graduates will now move on to their units or go back to their home states, and “get to work”-- progress through readiness levels, and begin to participate in a crew.

“You will work with our brilliant enlisted maintainers. You will begin to train in larger and larger groups and collective training events,” and train for all types of conditions, he said.

“This is where you really begin to do the business of Army aviation--to integrate as a member of the combined arms team, performing reconnaissance, employing fire and maneuver. This is where we maneuver our ground partners and critical supplies or perform medical evacuation. That is the essence of being a true aviation warfighter,” he said.

With Future Vertical Lift on the horizon as the Army continues to modernize, it’s important to remember to place a priority on people.

“People have always been the heart of Army aviation…. You must always be ready, training hard and taking care of each other,” he said.

McCurry, who served as a scout and attack aviator, thanked Maj. Gen. David Francis, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, for the opportunity to be back at the Home of Army Aviation, where McCurry met his wife Sadie 28 years ago.

“It’s always incredible coming home--home to the Wiregrass, Mother Rucker, and of course our tremendous Army Aviation Museum,” he said.