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.


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Maeson L. Elleman

Hanscom working to provide 5th, 4th gen aircraft common tactical picture

Air Force photograph by SrA. Maeson L. Elleman A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle taxis for takeoff on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 16, 2014. The Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks Division at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is worki...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Staci Miller

Australian F-35 lands at new home

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Staci Miller The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrives at Luke Air Force Bas, Ariz., Dec. 18, 2014. The jet’s arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to a...
 




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>