By Emily Brainard, Army Flier StaffMay 28, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- First Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment Soldiers received the prestigious Department of the Army Superior Unit Award during a ceremony May 14 at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.
The ceremony marked the second time the unit earned the coveted recognition. They won it for the 2006-2007 year as well, according to Capt. Matthew Baringhaus, battalion adjutant.
"The Army Superior Unit Award is awarded for outstanding meritorious performance of a unit during peacetime in a difficult and challenging mission under extraordinary circumstances," Baringhaus said. "The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks to set it apart from and above other units with similar missions."
The battalion provides air traffic control services and flight simulator support at Fort Rucker, according to Sgt. 1st Class James Finney, a C Company air traffic control chief. First Bn., 11th Avn. Regt. operates more than 20 ATC facilities in the area.
Baringhaus said the superior unit award is as prestigious as the meritorious service awards many units down range receive while in combat, proving Fort Rucker's Soldiers are just as dedicated at home as they would be on deployments.
"(The unit) is an indispensible element to flight training," said Col. Russ Stinger, 110th Aviation Brigade commander, which the battalion falls under. "When a need arises, they develop solutions."
Stinger noted the unit conducted 1.8 million aircraft movements in the Fort Rucker and Wiregrass areas during the award period - from July 2008 to July 2009. He compared it to the second highest number of movements in any other part of the country, with 987,000 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
"(They demonstrate) exemplary leadership at all levels," he said. "The battalion is unparalleled. (It) has earned its reputation as 'Squared Away.'"
Pfc. Carlos Marin, an A Company Soldier, said this is his first duty station in the Army and he's enjoyed being a member of a unit with such high standards.
"I feel like we're a good company. (Being part of this unit) has given me a good outlook on the Army," said the shift leader at Runkle Stagefield in Coffee County.
Sgt. Heather Johnson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company human resources noncommissioned officer, said ATCs are integral in conducting the installation's missions.
"They're supporting Fort Rucker as a whole. They impact permanent-party Soldiers and Flight School XXI (students)," she said. "Without ATCs, they wouldn't be able to fly. The mission here wouldn't get accomplished without 1st Bn., 11th Avn. Regt."