Night Stalkers inducted into AAAA Hall of Fame

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2010/April/100420-02.html

FORT WORTH, Texas. (USASOC News Service, April 20, 2010) – Two former and one active-duty Soldier from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) were inducted into the Army Aviation Association of America’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Fort Worth, Texas, April 16.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Clifton P. O’Brien, Ambassador Dell L. Dailey and Chief Warrant Officer 5 David F. Cooper were the Night Stalkers who made up half of this year’s inductees. Other inductees included retired astronaut Col. Nancy J. Currie, retired Lt. Gen. William H. Forster and deceased retired Col. Robert L. Howard.

The Hall of Fame dinner recognizes and honors those who made significant and lasting contributions to the world of Army Aviation, said Hall of Fame Chairman, retired Maj. Gen. Benjamin L. Harrison. “This year is no exception.”

O’Brien was this year’s only Noncommissioned Officer inducted and the first honoree of the night. His 26-year career was highlighted in numerous ways, culminating in his retirement from active-duty as the command sergeant major of the 160th SOAR (A). He continues his service in the regiment today serving in the physical rehabilitation facility at Fort Campbell, Ky.

During his induction speech, O’Brien reflected less on past accomplishments that included essential involvement in Operations Prime Chance and Just Cause. Instead, he focused on today’s Soldiers and their continuing impact on him.

“The Soldiers of today; for nearly nine years you have fought the hard fight, and you’ve made America proud … And you inspire me every morning to get up and go to work and do the very best I can.”

Cooper, the only current active-duty aviator to have received the Distinguished Service Cross for his harrowing actions taken against the enemy as an AH-6 Little Bird Flight Lead Pilot in Taji, Iraq on Nov. 27, 2006, peppered his induction speech with humor and humility.

“Unlike Sergeant Major O’Brien, who is one of my heroes, I have prepared a speech that must be read because I really don’t want to screw this up,” said Cooper as the banquet hall erupted with laughter.

It did not take long however, for the revered little bird pilot to inject a measured and humbled response to his induction.

“I find myself on the podium this evening ladies and gentlemen quite frankly, because I was the guy on the battlefield that day,” said Cooper. “Any one of my brother Night Stalkers, or the cavalry men, or the combat aviation brigade Soldiers would not only have done the same thing, they probably would’ve done it better. I am humbled because of the heroic deeds that happen daily and nightly on America’s battlefields.”

The evening’s final inductee was Dailey, whose accomplishments throughout his 42-years of service to the nation have been well documented. The former U.S. Army Ranger, commander of both the 160th SOAR (A) and the Joint Special Operations Command and coordinator of The Department of State's Counterterrorism Office, continued the night’s theme of humbleness during his induction.

“In my eyes this induction is not for Dell Dailey. It is for all the people who have aided me to get to this successful career,” said Dailey. “It is for all those great people that I accept this induction.”

20100416-A1224C-%20(67)_TN.jpg
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Dave Cooper from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) engages the crowd during his induction speech at this year’s Army Aviation Association of America Hall of Fame Dinner in Fort Worth, Texas, April 16. Cooper was one of three Night Stalkers inducted. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Cauley, 160th SOAR Public Affairs Office)
 
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