Aviation Support Battalion Named Reserve Unit of the Year

Capt. Thomas Samson, Headquarters Support Company, 90th Aviation Support Battalion commander, talks to Brig. Gen. Troy D. Kok, 11th Aviation Command commander, during his visit to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Feb. 20, 2015. (U.S. Army photo)
Capt. Thomas Samson, Headquarters Support Company, 90th Aviation Support Battalion commander, talks to Brig. Gen. Troy D. Kok, 11th Aviation Command commander, during his visit to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Feb. 20, 2015. (U.S. Army photo)

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait -- The 90th Aviation Support Battalion, or ASB, deployed to Kuwait with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, or CAB, was named the 2014 Army Aviation Association of America, also known as AAAA, U.S. Army Reserve Unit of the Year.

The 90th ASB is the only aviation support battalion in the U.S. Army Reserve, or USAR.

"This was a testament to Lt. Col. Hyder's leadership and guidance throughout the entire deployment," said Capt. Thomas E. Samson, Headquarters Support Battalion, 90th ASB commander. Lt. Col. Lee Hyder is the 90th ASB commander.

The award is given to a unit that has made an outstanding contribution to Army aviation above the normal mission assigned to that unit, Samson said.

In the first four months of the deployment, the 90th ASB completed more than five UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter phases, one AH-64 Apache helicopter phase, 1,400 work orders, pumped 170,000 gallons of fuel, drove over 14,000 tactical miles, completed 230 ground maintenance work orders, and treated over 370 patients, according to the AAAA.

"I think our ability to integrate with the 34th CAB was a great strength and reflection of the professionalism of the battalion," Hyder said. "Working in a multi-component brigade is always a challenge, but we were able to successfully integrate ourselves. It was also a great reflection of the 34th CAB leadership team at how they took us in and made one of their own."

The 34th Combat Aviation Brigade is a National Guard unit headquartered in Minnesota. Active and reserve components, as well as National Guard, supported the 34th CAB during the deployment to Kuwait.

Samson was at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to accept the award on behalf of the 90th ASB.

"[Samson] was responsible for ground maintenance for the battalion and brigade headquarters, battalion aid station, and providing food service support to the battalion," Hyder said. "His job was immense and his leadership was instrumental to his company accomplishing all assigned missions. It great he was able to represent the battalion in accepting this award. He represented the battalion well."

The Soldiers came together to accomplish the mission and provide world-class support to the 34th CAB and its mission, Samson said.

"The biggest accomplishment was being able to get Soldiers who were cross-leveled from 12 different units, some within the 11th Aviation Command, and some outside - both Reserve and active duty - to come together as one company," Samson said.

This was the 90th ASB's first deployment in approximately 70 years. The battalion trained for 24 months in preparation for the mission.

"It is a great honor to be recognized by the AAAA organization," Hyder said. "We are very proud to receive it on behalf of USAR Aviation and it represents a validation of all the hard work and dedication that the Soldiers put into the unit and the mission."

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