By Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Troth, CAB, 1st Infantry Division Public AffairsJune 2, 2011
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Noncommissioned officers on Fort Riley found out what the future holds for Army Aviation during a brief given to them May 19 by the senior enlisted Soldier in their career field.
Command Sgt. Maj. Tod L. Glidewell traveled from Fort Rucker, the home of Army Aviation, to let the NCOs of the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, know what lay ahead for them and their Soldiers.
“For the past 24 months, these Solders have either been preparing for deployment or deployed,” said Glidewell. “Their focus has been on that mission. I came here to tell them about the changes that have happened during that time and what is scheduled to happen.”
Some of those changes have happened at the schoolhouse, said Glidewell.
“We are changing the way we teach, based on feedback from Aviation NCOs,” he said. “We are trying to get back to basics at ALC (Advanced Leader’s Course).”
One of the basics the Aviation students will have is writing, said Glidewell. Also added to their curriculum is writing a paper on someone that has made a significant contribution to Aviation or an Army Aviation unit that distinguished itself.
“The next initiative is that every ALC student will have to teach at least a 10-minute class,” said Glidewell. “Soldiers have to understand how to lead in garrison, as well as lead downrange.”
In the future, Aviation Soldiers will have technology to help them train at Fort Rucker, as well as at their home station, he added. At the recent Army Aviation Association of America convention, a 42-inch touch screen TV was demonstrated that allows Aviation mechanics to remove and work on a helicopter’s engine in a synthetic environment.
The plan is to eventually push these high-tech training tools out to Aviation units so Soldiers can immerse themselves in an environment where they can pull different types of engines in a synthetic environment, Glidewell said.
This can be used for a mechanic to regain his confidence on an engine he has not worked on in awhile, and the command sergeant major sees this as an excellent tool for sustainment training and sergeant’s time.
Glidewell also talked to the Aviation NCOs about how their Branch is looking at reallocating slots within Aviation units. This was good news to Staff Sgt. Joseph Wolfe, a Kiowa mechanic with the brigade’s 1st Cavalry Squadron, 6th Aviation Regiment.
“For the Kiowa community, with our small helicopter, most of the maintenance is done at the troop level and not at the higher level,” said Wolfe. “Having our maintainers not in a line unit is a waste for those Soldiers because they don’t get to touch helicopters that much, so bringing those Soldiers to us would help a great deal.”
But even with the changes in the Aviation community, Glidewell said that everyone needs to stay focused on their mission. He and the rest of the Aviation Branch headquarters work to make accomplishment of those missions easier, he said.
“Right now, we have more aircraft deployed than we ever had,” he said. “We are very, very busy, but at the highest levels they understand and they are trying to get us the assets we need to complete our missions.”