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    Geneva city leaders tour Fort Novosel

    Geneva Visit

    Photo By Kelly Morris | Mayor David B. Hayes of Geneva shakes hands with Lt. Col. Jeramy Norland, 1st...... read more read more



    Story by Kelly Morris    

    U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence

    FORT NOVOSEL, Ala. — Local civic leaders from the city of Geneva visited Fort Novosel to participate in a Meet Your Army event to learn more about the Home of Army Aviation Dec. 15, 2023.

    The group, including the city mayor, police chief, council members, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Disabled American Veterans group, the Board of Education, and the city clerk, were treated to a full day of touring and hands-on activities focused primarily on their community partner, the 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment.

    Col. Richard P. Tucker, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence chief of staff and former 1st Aviation Brigade commander, kicked off the visit with a welcome and overview briefing on the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence mission.

    “We are super happy to have you all. It’s really exciting for us,” Tucker said.

    Though the 1-13th has a history of efforts to try to help connect the city to the installation, in recent years that partnership had atrophied, and the Center looks to reinvigorate that, Tucker explained.

    Tucker provided an overview of the mission and activity at USAACE, to generate highly trained, disciplined and fit Aviation Soldiers, develop leaders of character who are experts in combined arms maneuver, drive change to fight, and win in multidomain operations, and impart Aviation warfighter culture across the total Aviation force.

    The USAACE commanding general wears multiple hats, including serving as installation senior commander, flight school commandant, and the Aviation branch chief and force modernization proponent looking out over the entire operational force, he explained.

    USAACE training is geographically dispersed, including conducting its aviation maintainer training at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., and Unmanned Aircraft Systems operator and maintainer training at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

    Training at Fort Novosel includes the Army’s flight school - training aviators across all components of the Army to fly the Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters, as well as fixed wing aircraft.

    Aviation technical training conducted at Fort Novosel includes advanced qualifications and graduate flight tracks; Advanced Individual Training — where Soldiers who have completed Basic Combat Training are trained at 1-13th Aviation to become air traffic controllers and flight operations specialists; nonrated crew member instructor training, and the Air Cavalry Leader’s Course. The Center conducts various Professional Military Education courses. U.S. Army Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Level-C training is conducted on Fort Novosel.

    Tucker said Fort Novosel launches approximately the equivalent of three combat aviation brigades’ worth of aircraft per day.

    “We cannot do what we do here anywhere else in the country because of the communities that we have around us and the partnership,” he said.

    “To have that number of aircraft move out and conduct their training and move back to really five airfields, and all launch out and go back and conduct more training in the afternoon, come back the airfield, and do it a third time at night, and do those five or six days a week requires the support of everybody else that lives in the area,” Tucker said.

    The visit included an overview of installation emergency operations, and an opportunity to strap into a M model Black Hawk helicopter for an orientation flight.

    A working lunch with garrison leaders was followed by tours of Braman and Yano Halls for a closer look at 1-13th Aviation’s mission and training.

    Sgt. 1st Class Ronald P. Hogge, tower section chief within Air Operations Training Committee, Company C, 1-13th, explained the crawl-walk-run approach to AIT training using simulations technology at Braman Hall.

    “They’re crawling in academics, learning the basic fundamentals of what they need to do, starting to walk when they get on the ground control position, and when they get to the local control position they are running, every aircraft is moving, time does not wait for anybody, they have to get the aircraft in and out, they have to give the advisories because of safety.”

    “The day we get (the Soldiers), they are terrified of the world. The day they leave, they are the most confident person I’ve ever met in my entire life and they could probably take my job tomorrow,” Hogge said.

    Volunteers were also able to suit up to participate in training demonstrations, including firefighting and military police working dog bite capability training demos with the 6th Military Police Detachment and 906th Military Working Dog Detachment.

    They were also able to witness the first ever presentation of the unit’s Fujii Award to Staff Sgt. Janai Thomas, training management noncommissioned officer at 1-13th Aviation.

    The award is named for Medal of Honor recipient Spc. 5 Dennis M. Fujii, a crew chief who served with the 237th Medical Detachment, 61st Medical Battalion, 67th Medical Group. After his helicopter was shot down in Vietnam, he continued to protect and defend U.S. military personnel as well as Vietnamese military personnel.

    The award is given to a Soldier that represents what it truly means to be a well-rounded Soldier and servant leader, according to Sgt. 1st Class Ashley J. Hogge, battalion S-3 noncommissioned officer in charge at 1-13th Aviation.

    Lt. Col. Jeramy R. Norland, 1-13th Aviation commander, said he was happy to see familiar faces from Geneva on post, and that were able to see the Soldiers in action.

    “Sergeant major and I have been working really hard to build that connection. They’re a little bit farther away than everybody else is, so it’s a little bit more of a commitment,” he said. “It’s a lot of extremely important members of the community … and I really appreciate the fact that they took the time out to come out and see us and build that relationship so it’s not just us going out there, so it’s kind of a two-way thing.”

    Geneva Mayor David B. Hayes said he looked forward to the visit “like a kid looking forward to Christmas.”

    “It’s probably one of the most exciting days I’ve had in the three-year term that I’ve had so far,” Hayes said, at the close of the visit.

    “The day went by so fast, and we’ve learned so much, things I didn’t know — and I grew up here — the number of people and the number of things that are done here anymore,” Hayes said. “I hope we can take the word and spread it further, so people will know what’s going on on Fort Novosel because it’s absolutely incredible.”


    Date Taken: 12.19.2023
    Date Posted: 12.19.2023 16:02
    Story ID: 460376

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