By Capt. Michael Barranti (USAREUR)January 31, 2013
3-58 Aviation Operations Battalion wins Air Traffic Control Unit of the Year.
Story by Cpt. Michael Barranti, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs.
ANSBACH, GERMANY -- The Army Aviation Association of America awarded the Air Traffic Control unit of the year award Tuesday January 29, 2013 to 3-58th Airfield Operations Battalion for their outstanding performance in 2012.
The award recognizes 3-58 as the best of all U.S. Army Air Traffic Control units at providing air traffic services, airfield operations and management, and over-all support to aviation customers from all services and nationalities.
"These Soldiers and their families deserve this distinguished honor, and Sgt. Maj. Terri Clavon and I could not be more proud of what they have accomplished and what they stand for. They truly are the best of the best," said Lt. Col. Harold H. Whiffen, 3-58th AOB commander.
The battalion is presently deployed to Tarin Kowt, in the southern region of Afghanistan, where, since June, it is responsible for airfield operations on a multinational forces base there.
The Army Aviation Association of America, or Quad-A, is the professional society for Army Aviators and their supporters. It is comprised of more than 20,000 members world-wide. Its mission is to create a forum for the Army Aviation community and to represent their interests to the Army and to Congress.
"The Army Aviation Association of America provides stiff competition for each of its unit and individual awards. For Soldiers to receive this recognition is very special; it distinguishes them as the best of the US Army's 31 Air Traffic Control units. It signifies public recognition that these Soldiers are the best Air Traffic Controllers, the best Airfield Managers, and members of the best support staff that the Army has to offer. Most importantly, it says that they, as a team, are truly exceptional at what they do," said Whiffen.
Quad-A recognized 3-58th Airfield Operations Battalion (AOB) as the premier AOB in the Army for 2012 because of significant impacts in the safety and efficiency of air operations 3-58th made in Afghanistan's Regional Commands South and West during this deployment. From locations at Tarin Kowt and Farah, 3-58th AOB safely executed over 30,000 movements of multinational manned and unmanned fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
The unit's cooperative relationships in a joint and multinational environment ultimately aided in the development of commercial civil aviation operations at both Tarin Kowt and Farah. These efforts provided for safe and efficient aviation operations, but the unit's most critical impact was the infrastructure and procedural development necessary to prepare the Coalition for the impending transition of these facilities to Afghanistan's control.
Beyond the battlefield, the battalion's philosophy of being "a family and a team" extends to the people in Germany and around the world who mean the most to the Soldiers. Whether the family and friends are sending care packages or excelling in the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade's Combat Spouses Day, they embody the spirit of these forward deployed Soldiers in word and deed, and they deserve much of the credit for the unit's success.
3-58th AOB is stationed in Illesheim Germany and has been a part of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade since June 1992. 3-58th has deployed as a whole or in part to several contingencies since then. Starting with Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in December 1992, the battalion has been deployed almost constantly in one form or another for the past 20 years. It has provided air traffic services during Operation Provide Comfort in Turkey and Northern Iraq from 1992 to 1996, Operation Joint Endeavor, Joint Guardian, and other missions in the Balkans from 1996 to 2001, as well as supporting the Global War on Terror, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2002 to 2013.
"For every Soldier, there's a significant group of people that makes everything possible. Moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers - each of these family members are true patriots. Their sacrifice is greater than the Soldier's. They make our lives easier while we are gone, and they are the reason for our excitement upon return. They are a special reason for this award, and I truly believe it would not have been possible for our team to win without their support," Said Whiffen.
3-58 has been deployed to Afghanistan since May 2012 and is expected to return next month.