NEWS | Aug. 19, 2021

The 78th Aviation Troop Command observes National Aviation Day

By Cpl. Rydell Tomas

Soldiers from the 78th Aviation Troop Command give their insights on the importance of aviation in their lives and in the Georgia National Guard in recognition of National Aviation Day in Marietta, Georgia on Aug. 19, 2021.

U.S. Army Col. Barry Simmons, brigade commander of the 78th Aviation Troop Command, Georgia Army National Guard, holds a dual photo frame that depicts an early childhood airshow on the left and a photo of himself in a flight suit on the right. This photo reminds him of his desire to fly.

“I knew at a young age that I wanted to be in the military and I wanted to be in the aviation community,” said Simmons. “The aviation team is one of the most active mission support elements that we have in the guard.”

At Hangar 1, Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Georgia, Soldiers can be seen dismantling UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for scheduled service while conducting training. Completing aircraft maintenance is one of 78th Aviation Troop Command’s highest priorities in regards to readiness.

“I love working on aircraft, that’s the reason I came back into aviation,” said Staff Sgt. Eddie Boyd, a technical inspector and crew chief with 1-111th General Support Aviation Battalion. “As a technician, we keep the aircraft flying throughout the week in order to maintain readiness.”

National Aviation Day was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, back in 1939 to commemorate Orville Wright’s birthday. The proclamation may direct all federal buildings and installations to fly the U.S. flag on that day, and may encourage citizens to observe the day with activities that promote interest in aviation.

Georgia Army National Guard aviation units are among the most frequently deployed in the state and region supporting multiple training exercises with the Georgia National Guard, as well as emergency response missions at such as hurricane relief operations, COVID-19 pandemic and supporting overseas combat missions.