REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Recently, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command welcomed Chief Warrant Officer 5 Patrick O’Neill as its new aviation branch maintenance officer.
O’Neill has been a part of Army aviation for more than 25 years.
He initially entered the Army in 1996 as an enlisted AH-64 attack helicopter repairer. He became a warrant officer in 1998, attended the UH60A/L Maintenance Test Pilot Course in 2003, and has been an aviation maintenance officer since.
CW5 Mike Cavaco held the position since 2017 and, according to O’Neill, has provided a wealth of knowledge and continuity during their handover.
“It’s been a fantastic transition,” said O’Neill. “My colleague CW5 Cavaco has been here for the past month while I have in-processed and been able to give me a great handover - more than I am used to in the Army.”
O’Neill has held many positions at various assignments during his 25-year career. He reflected on a couple notable assignments and how they have shaped his experience and prepared him for his current role.
“Each time I have gone to a different place, each job has been a stepping stone to the next one - so the last two jobs have certainly prepared me to be here,” said O’Neill. “At Fort Hood I was the 1st [Air Cavalry Brigade] brigade aviation maintenance officer. That was a huge eye-opener to this job. And prior to that I served as the 1st [Armored Division] support operations officer and brigade aviation maintenance officer there. They prepared me for what happens on a day-to-day basis here.”
Part of O’Neill’s initial approach in taking on his new role is to observe and gather information which can provide insight into the unit’s operations and how he can work to outline goals and objectives for overall improvement.
“I want to get my foot in the door and get a feel for everything then be able to make an assessment,” said O’Neill.
His passion and drive for the aviation field is longstanding and has been ever-present in his life, even before joining the military.
My entire career I’ve been around maintenance,” said O’Neill. “I went to an aeronautical university before I knew it was a norm for Army aviation warrant officers. I have always been around aviation - my father worked for Pratt & Whitney for 40 years - so I’ve been around aircrafts my entire life. This is what I have always wanted to do. “
“I am thrilled to be here; thanks to Maj. Gen. Royar and Mr. Cavaco for giving me the opportunity,” said O’Neill. My goal is to continue to make Army aviation better so, when I leave here, I leave better aircraft for the future.”