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Max Cruise

President’s Cockpit / By BG Steve Mundt, Ret.: Wow! It is already that time of year when we find ourselves looking forward to the perennial “Blue Book” issue of ARMY AVIATION magazine.

AAAA National President, BG (Ret.) Steve Mundt (2nd from left) pauses for a photo op with the other foursome members (l to r) Ron Kwalek, Michael Frattaroli and newly elected chapter president, John Palumbo, during the Annual Connecticut Chapter Golf Tournament at the Whitney Farms Golf Course in Monroe, August 10, 2017. / AAPI PHOTO BY COREY STOKES

I enjoy catching up with where everyone has moved to around our great Army Aviation Branch from a nostalgic view to see how those we mentored and coached have progressed and, professionally speaking, the contact info is exceptionally useful!

As I browse through all the photos and listings, I am reminded that the Army is all about people. Seeing all your faces brings home the sacrifices you and your families make every day to keep our country safe and deter our potential adversaries. I am especially mindful of our brothers and sisters who were just lost off Hawaii last month. Please keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

I attended the Connecticut Chapter Golf Tournament in August which not only benefited their scholarship program but also recognized their 14 student recipients for 2017. This was an interesting contrast to the Air Assault Chapter meeting at Fort Campbell back in July that Bill, Barbara and I had attended. Connecticut is industry-based and Air Assault is mostly uniformed military in nature of course. The interesting thing is that they are very similar in how they take care of and support their members through scholarships and engaging events. We truly are one big family… Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve, industry, and retired and it shows.

I spent the next day at the AAAA National Office in Connecticut setting the course for the next couple of years and getting briefed by each staff member on their areas of responsibility from membership and chapters, to scholarship, social media, meetings, magazine, marketing, and awards. Thank you to Bill, Janis, Deb, Jenn, Connie, Barb, Sue, Anne, Joe and the whole Team. AAAA’s success does not happen by accident, it is because of our superb professionals and the hundreds of volunteers in the Chapters. We are all part of the story from the National staff to our newest AAAA member.

Lastly, as part of our staff meeting the issue of how we publicize what we do on the Voice pillar of our mission statement especially with regard to Congress and The Military Coalition (TMC) came up. There is hardly a week that goes by that we are not in touch with the TMC though our AAAA representative in DC, LTC (Ret.) Kevin Cochie, who formerly served in the Army Office of the Chief, Legislative Liaison. At least once a month we sign letters to Congress supporting various efforts to carry out our mission statement of “taking care of the Army, Army Aviation, Aviation’s Soldiers and Families.

The latest example is the AAAA supported “Forever GI Bill.” This law eliminates the 15 year window after Active Duty to apply for benefits and makes you always eligible. It also increases other benefits to Purple Heart recipients, survivors, and others. See page 147 for more details.

We support Congressional actions every month but we can do a better job of getting the word out. In addition to Kevin’s monthly column in the magazine we are going to push out social media and email to keep you better informed of what we are doing on the Hill.

Reminder: 2018 Summit Housing opens on October 1. Standby for an email message and more info is available at www.quad-a.org.

In closing I am going to refer back to my opening comments. Seeing all your youthful faces also reminds me what an honor it is to serve as AAAA President. Your loyalty through the last 10 years from the onset of the Great Recession, through restrictive policies, and the downsizing, has resulted in steady and increasing AAAA membership in the face of significant adversity. Thank you.

That said there is always room for improvement. Let me know what we can do better!
AAAA: Supporting the U.S. Amy Aviation Soldier and Family!

BG Steve Mundt, Ret.
33rd President, AAAA
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