Saturday, 30 June 2018, forty Red-Tailed Hawks and guests were hosted by the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade at Gray Army Airfield. We were treated to the use of their brand new 2-158 Hangar and blessed with quality engagement by the soldiers.
The meeting kicked off with our guest speaker Major General John H. Bailey II. He brought greetings from the Bailey Military Institute and the Bronze Eagles Flying Club, BPA. He shared his background as a soldier and US Army fixed-wing pilot and left us with a few words of wisdom he picked-up along the way as a leader, Vietnam veteran, educator and private pilot. He then spent the rest of the day engaging with students and soldiers as we executed the agenda. Post meeting, MG Bailey signed copies his book Up from the Fields for all in attendance.
Major Benoit, 16 CAB Operation Officer, shared his love of flying, a brief history of his unit and their recent combat victories against ISIS. Afterwards, we enjoyed a round-robin static display of an Apache helicopter a Black Hawk helicopter and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) belonging to the Shadow unit. This was a powerful opportunity to see, ask, touch and share in the presence of amazing flying machines and the men and women that fly and maintain them. The students sat in the seats, grab a hold of the controls, flipped switches, climbed on top, inspected inside the cowlings, put on the helmets and imagined being pilot in command. Lots of smiles were recorded in the hangar that day.
Following this immersion into Army aviation we enjoyed some great chow and, as it turns out, the best in the US Army! The meeting rounded out with a Q&A session with five officers giving the students the opportunity to ask all they wanted to know. We ran out of time and had to shut down the meeting while they were still hungry for knowledge.
Click photo to enlarge.