The Army Aviation Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama, is located in the southeast corner of lower Alabama. Fort Rucker is approximately 80 miles south of Montgomery and 20 miles northwest of Dothan. Florida's Gulf Coast lies 80 miles to the south. The communities of Enterprise, Daleville, and Ozark are west, south and east of the post, respectively and serve as our three main gates. Fort Rucker is located in the southeast corner of lower Alabama. It is approximately 40 minutes from the Florida State line and 45 minutes from the Georgia state line.
The post covers about 64,500 acres of countryside in an area known as the "Wiregrass", named for a wild grass peculiar to the region. Much of the main post is in Dale County, with the remaining government-owned and leased acreage in Coffee, Geneva and Houston counties. Most of the countryside is rolling and wooded. An abundance of lakes and streams and proximity to Gulf of Mexico make this area a fisherman's paradise.
The current mission of the Army Aviation Center is to develop the aviation force for its worldwide mission. This includes developing concepts, doctrine, organization, training, leader development, materiel, and soldier requirements. Also provide resident and nonresident aviation maintenance, logistics and leadership training in support of the total force and foreign nations for the sustainment of joint and combined aviation operations.
Fort Rucker supports a daytime population of about 14,000, including about 5,100 service members, 6,400 civilian and contract employees, and 3,200 military family members residing on post. This post supports about 14,500 retirees.
Fort Rucker and Army Aviation trace their origins back to earlier eras; both were products of World War II. During World War II, America conducted a manpower mobilization unprecedented in its history in terms of total numbers; the United States put into uniform over 16 million men and approximately 333,000 women. This mobilization called for the creation of new training camps and military bases, including Camp Rucker.
The original name of the post was Ozark Triangular Division Camp, but before the camp was officially opened on 1 May 1942, the War Department named it Camp Rucker. The post was named in honor of Colonel Edmund W. Rucker, a Civil War Confederate Officer, who was given the honorary title of "General".
Four divisions trained at Fort Rucker for combat in World War II, and one for service in the Korean War. It was in Vietnam that Army Aviation established itself as an integral and vital part of the combat arms team. Fort Rucker was the training site for the thousands of pilots and crewmembers who fought in Vietnam.
With the consolidation of all Army Aviation flight training at Fort Rucker in 1973, the post became the Mecca for Army aviators. Air Force helicopter pilots have also been trained here since 1971, as have students from more than 60 foreign countries. The post teaches everything from initial Entry Rotary Wing courses to advanced courses in aviation safety.
The US Army Aviation Technical Test Center is the only test center that focuses on flight testing of the aircraft, associated systems, the aviator, and the maintainer. ATTC is uniquely qualified to provide the very best in airworthiness certification and developmental flight testing of aviation systems for its customers. ATTC is a tenant activity at the US Army Aviation Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama - the home of Army Aviation. ATTC provides aviation test and evaluation capabilities to all services of the Department of Defense, federal agencies and the private sector. The principal test site Fort Rucker is utilized for base operations support, facilities, an extensive test maintenance, modification, and Army aviation logistics support, and for flight test airspace. Additionally, ATTC has relied on fellow Developmental Test Command (DTC) test centers for their specialized facilities and support, and ATTC has likewise provided aviation support to testing conducted by those test centers.
The 1st Aviation Brigade commands two distinctly different training battalions, each with a unique mission. It is normally staffed at a combined strength of approximately 500 permanent party soldiers and civilians employees, with more than 2,000 military students enrolled at any given time.
Along with its command responsibilities, logistical support, and administrative duties, the brigade's primary mission is to train and develop future Aviation warfighting leaders. The course consist of a wide range of professional military education subjects, Aviation Branch specific material, and a strong focus on combined arms battlefield integration. The tactical training is further reinforced with state-of-the art simulation allowing students to assume various command and staff positions at all command levels while fighting simulated battles throughout a wide spectrum of tactical scenarios. Equally important is the advanced individual training (AIT) taught to entry-level Aviation Branch soldiers where they acquire fundamental skills necessary to perform their occupational specialities in an Aviation unit.
Fort Rucker operates much like any hometown. After all, the post is virtually a small city. The Garrison Command functions much like a city manager's office by overseeing the services and support necessary for the daily operations of a city. That city services and support include, for example, police and fire departments, engineers and housing, contracting, banks, commercial stores (PX), food outlets, civilian and military personnel offices, community and family activities and many other installation (community) programs.
A myriad of other activities also involves the Garrison Commander and/or the Garrison Sergeant Major. They include installation beautification programs, school programs, special and monthly observances, union and civil grievances, reports of surveys, and membership on a number of boards and councils.
In many instances the Garrison command is the installation's immediate link to the surrounding communities. The command provides leadership and support to many worthwhile civil programs on the installation, such as Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), Red Cross, and Army Emergency Relief (AER), to name a few. The command includes nine directorates, as well as a garrison support battalion, public affairs office, civilian personnel advisory center, equal employment opportunity office, and equal opportunity office.
The Army Aviation Center Noncommissioned Officer Academy conducts basic and advanced NCO courses. These courses provide CMF93 and CMF67 NCOs with opportunities to demonstrate and practice what they learn in a fast paced and challenging atmosphere.
The United States Army Safety Center was recast as the United States Army Combat Readiness Center (USACRC) at Fort Rucker, AL. on Feb. 8, 2005, by order of the Secretary of the Army, The Honorable Dr. Francis J. Harvey. The change was made to advance the principles, understanding, and practice of Composite Risk Management. Combat Risk Management was to focus on sustaining readiness and managing all risks - those posed by the enemy, the environment, materiel and systems, and human error - logically shifting from accident-centric to Soldier-centric. The USACRC is to function as a Field Operating Agency of the Chief of Staff, Army. The United States Army Combat Readiness Center is to establish new processes leveraging information from Army organizations to collect, distill and distribute knowledge about losses that impact combat readiness. The United States Army Combat Readiness Center mission includes:
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD would realign Fort Eustis by relocating the Aviation Logistics School and consolidating it with the Aviation Center and School at Fort Rucker. This recommendation would consolidate Aviation training and doctrine development at a single location. Consolidating Aviation Logistics training with the Aviation Center and School would foster consistency, standardization and training proficiency. It would consolidate both Aviation skill level I producing courses at one location, which would allow the Army to reduce the total number of Military Occupational Skills (MOS) training locations (lessening the TRADOC footprint). This would also support transformation by collocating institutional training, MTOE units, RDT&E organizations and other TDA units in large numbers on single installations to support force stabilization and engage training.
The Fort Eustis community expressed concerns that consolidation of the Aviation Logistics School and the Aviation School would not create synergies since officer flight training and maintenance enlisted personnel training call for very different skill sets. They were concerned that the move of the school would damage sophisticated training devices in transit and degrade training. They questioned the adequacy of Fort Rucker’s infrastructure and off-post instructor candidate pool. Finally, they maintained that DoD understated costs and overstated savings.
The Commission found excessive manpower savings attributed to the consolidation of the Aviation Logistics School and the Aviation School. Correcting DoD’s error reduced military manpower savings from 530 spaces to 104 spaces—eliminating 426 spaces initially claimed as military savings and reducing annual dollar savings by 73 percent. In response to the Commission, the Department reviewed military construction requirements and reduced its estimated future military construction costs by nearly $200 million, to $199.5 million. While the reduced construction estimates somewhat offset the reduced annual savings, the Commission found that the adjusted payback period was still 45 years. The Commission found that the justification for consolidation rested solely on the non-cost elements of the proposal and that the marginal potential improvements in military value did not justify or support a net investment cost of $290.3 million.
The Commission found that the Secretary of Defense deviated substantially from final selection criteria 4 and 5 and the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission rejected the recommendation of the Secretary.
DoD also recommended to realign Ft. Rucker, AL, by relocating the Aviation Technical Test Center to Redstone Arsenal, AL, and consolidating it with the Technical Test Center at Redstone Arsenal, AL. This Air Land Sea & Space (ALSS) recommendation would realign and consolidate activities that were primarily focused on Rotary Wing Air Platform activities in Development, Acquisition, Test and Evaluation (DAT&E). This action would creates the Joint Center for Rotary Wing Air Platform DAT&E at the Redstone Arsenal. The end state of this recommendation would build upon existing rotary wing air platform technical expertise and facilities in place at the two principal sites and provides focused support for future aviation technological advances in rotorcraft development. The planned component moves would enhance synergy by consolidating rotary wing work to major sites, preserving healthy competition, and leveraging climatic/geographic conditions and existing infrastructure, minimize environmental impact. These consolidations would co-locate aircraft and aircraft support systems with development and acquisition personnel to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of rotary wing air platform design and development activities. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 607 jobs (327 direct jobs and 280 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period, in the Enterprise-Ozark, AL, Micropolitan Statistical Area (1.3 percent).
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