Defense

June 28, 2012

Fort Rucker critical to Army’s future

Tags:
by Angela Williams
Fort Rucker, Ala.

Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield gives Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal a tour of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that they flew in June 25, 2012, over Fort Rucker, Ala., to give the secretary a perspective of current operations.

Observing aviation training firsthand and interacting with the soldiers going through flight school were just a few of the reasons Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal said he visited Fort Rucker, Ala., June 25 and 26.

“I think aviation is such a critical element in terms of the development of the force of the future,” the secretary said before his departure Tuesday afternoon. “We cannot reduce our support or compromise our ability to deliver that kind of support to our soldiers around the world.”

During the two-day visit, Westphal flew in several different aircraft; experienced simulation training at Warrior Hall in Daleville; observed Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape training; visited the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center; and spent time with Soldiers on post.

He praised the training at Fort Rucker, saying it “has been the stalwart of our efforts in the last 10 years of very significant combat operations in two theaters of war.”

Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal receives a flight demonstration in an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter at Cairnes Army Airfied, Fort Rucker, Ala.

Westphal said his visit to Fort Rucker was an important part of understanding the role of Army aviation and how to further investments in the branch as combat operations in Afghanistan come to a close and the Army braces for potential budget cuts.

Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, called Westphal’s trip to the post a “critical visit.”

“I think the important thing is it gives him insight into what’s happening down here at Fort Rucker and how we conduct aviation training,” Crutchfield said, adding that he did not anticipate any cost-cutting measures that would degrade the training conducted on post.

“We are not facing any drastic resource cuts in this branch,” he emphasized. “Army aviation is the best-resourced branch in the Army and that’s not going to change.”

One of the highlights of Westphal’s visit to Fort Rucker was a flight in a new Chinook model, a CH-47F.

The secretary said he wanted to learn about the differences between the Fox model and the more standard models the Army has used over the past 10 years.

Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal receives a brief on the incorporation of flight simulators during the training of Army helicopter pilots at Fort Rucker, Ala.

Westphal spoke to the pilots of that aircraft to learn exactly what those differences meant for the soldiers who would be using the equipment.

“Learning about that, seeing how it operated, feeling the ride, understanding the role of that aircraft and understanding a little bit about the training and what our soldiers are going through to learn to operate it was very, very instructive,” he said.

The best way to learn about aviation training, he said, wasn’t reading a briefing, but visiting the Soldiers where they are and talking to the people who actually fly the aircraft.

“Those are reasons I think it was important for me to come here,” he explained.

During his time at Fort Rucker, Westphal said he was able to ask soldiers pointed questions about the installation, training, redundancies, equipment and training schedules.

He also spoke with almost every level of soldier, from junior enlisted to senior officers.

“I think their candidness and their willingness to share their experience is pretty valuable,” Westphal said. “I think they feel that in their own way, this is another way they can contribute to the Army and their country because they realize that these types of conversations lead to decisions down the road.”

Westphal maintained Army aviation is an “absolutely critical and essential” piece of that plan for the future.

“The Army needs aviation. The nation needs the Army to be mobile and needs the Army to have the kind of assets that it needs to get our soldiers to places they need to get to,” Westphal said, adding that Army aviation is also an essential element of disaster relief and homeland defense.

“Coming here gave me a very good perspective on how we sustain that readiness in Army aviation,” he said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 23, 2014

News: Israel’s Iron Dome defense in line for tripled U.S. spending - Israel’s iron Dome missile defense system may end up getting triple the U.S. funding that the Defense Department sought for it in March. Ukraine asked U.S. for systems to counter Russian missiles - A month before the United States says a Russian missile likely brought...
 
 

News Briefs July 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,194 As of July 22, 2014, at least 2,194 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is three less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Raytheon completes key Air, Missile Defense Radar reviews

Raytheon photograph Partially-populated, full-sized Air and Missile Defense Radar array. Raytheon has completed two critical program reviews for the new Air and Missile Defense Radar, the U.S. Navy’s next generation integ...
 

 
Insitu photograph

Insitu demonstrates long endurance capabilities of Integrator unmanned aircraft

Insitu photograph Insitu’s Integrator unmanned aircraft recovers via SkyHook; the aircraft recently completed a 24-hour endurance flight. Insitu announced July 22 the successful 24-hour flight of its Integrator unmanned a...
 
 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 
 

U.S. Navy selects Northrop Grumman for ship self-defense system

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $12 million task order for a full range of engineering services to continue modernizing the Ship Self-Defense System Mark 2. The contract has a potential value of $61 million over five years, if all options are exercised. SSDS MK2 is a combat system designed for anti-air defense...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>