ATLANTA (Army News Service, April 29, 2016) — Army aviation provides ground commanders multiple options, while presenting multiple dilemmas to adversaries, said Gen. David G. Perkins.
Perkins, commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, gave the keynote address at the Army Aviation Association of America-sponsored 2016 Army Aviation Mission Solution Summit here, April 29.
To win in a complex and unpredictable world, disparate forces must have the ability to maneuver with the help of Army aviation over multiple far-flung locations and domains, including land, air, space and even the sea domain. That’s happening right now in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Perkins said.
The only thing that physically links these dispersed forces is Army aviation, he said, terming it the “connecting tissue.” Without Army aviation, these ground forces would be isolated and significantly less effective.
Perkins noted that ground formations are dispersed to prevent the enemy from identifying and targeting them in a large, static formation.
Some of the capabilities Army aviation brings include attack gunships, unmanned aerial system reconnaissance, troop movement and supply, he said.
THE SECRET SAUCE
The “secret sauce” that makes Army aviation so effective, Perkins said, is its people. They’ve been making it happen since the 1950s and they are “the epitome of what we’re trying to do for the future force. That didn’t just happen overnight.”
The five attributes of these aviators, he said, are expertise, honorable service, trust, esprit de corps, and stewardship of the profession
As an armor officer, Perkins said he always put the highest trust in the pilots and crew of helicopters he was transported in. Often, he said, he only saw the backs of their helmets in the middle of the night, trusting that they knew what they were doing.
“That trust has never been misplaced,” he added.
Aviators have always maintained good stewardship of their profession, he said, policing their own ranks and giving safety and standards the highest priority — “without which things can go bad very quickly.”
As to esprit, aviators “have always had that enthusiasm to make it happen and get it done, and that inspires all who operate around them,” he said.
Perkins pointed out that esprit also means aviators hold a “jealous regard for the honor of their unit, the Army, and the United States of America.”
Addressing honorable service, Perkins showed slides depicting the faces of fallen aviators over just the past year in Afghanistan. As a bagpiper played, attendees stood in a moment of silence to honor them.
Perkins added that others like them in the past have exemplified the ultimate sacrifice paid in honorable service.
The 2016 Army Aviation Mission Solution Summit runs April 29-30 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo caption: U.S. Army Soldiers, assigned to 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, hover over a landing zone in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters during air assault training at Jalalabad Airfield in eastern Afghanistan, Sept. 16, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Charles Emmons.