Above the Best
DALE Co., Ala. (WBRC) - Fort Rucker is known around the world for not only helicopter pilots but training all types of Combat Aviation Leaders, but the scope of the base also includes the Army Aviation Museum where the history of Army Aviation in general and specifically the helicopter is told.
As he relates the history of the helicopter, Museum Director Bob Mitchell explains, “When Congress realized the lives that were saved by this thing called the helicopter money was appropriated for new developments, new designs and that new design would be The Huey and The Huey is the helicopter that changed the world.”
The entire story is told at the museum.
Mitchell says, “It’s the largest collection of rotary winged aircraft, certainly Army Aircraft in the country and probably in the world. Few people realize but it was the Army that approached The Wright Brothers and asked them to build them a Flying Machine.”
The history told here includes movie stars and presidents. Mitchell points out one particular plane made famous by Hollywood, “This is a combat veteran, a Newport 28. It was used in the movie, The Dawn Patrol. Errol Flynn sat in this aircraft, and they’d push him around the set.”
“Few people realize the Army had the mission of flying the President. Eisenhower was particularly keen on the use of the helicopter. "
Army Aviation is a history still necessarily being written, says Colonel Rich Tucker, the Fort Rucker Base Commander, “The most proud I’ve ever been as an Army Aviator was after about a six-to-seven-hour firefight in Afghanistan the Ground Force Commander came in and gave us all hugs and thanked us and said the only way he was going home to see his baby that he had never met yet was due to Army Aviation and our fight that day.”
Even in the middle of the Worldwide Pandemic, the work of the US Military must continue.
Colonel Tucker explains, “The challenges we faced through the pandemic is that the defense of the nation does not wait for a virus. So, the team here at Fort Rucker found a way to only pause training temporarily for two weeks to set the conditions so that we could continue training all those Military Occupational Specialties.”
“We here in the First Aviation Brigade and The Aviation Center of Excellence need to ensure that every soldier is prepared to take responsibility for the lives that are in the back of those air frames as they depart, and they execute their operations around the world.”
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