Rockwell Collins presents Avionics Maintainer of the Year Award


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice

Rockwell Collins recently honored U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marcelino Benitez, a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment Airborne (SOAR (A)), by presenting him with the Avionics Maintainer of the Year award.

This award, presented for performance excellence, is one of 10 awards sponsored by aerospace and defense industry leaders who support the missions of the 160th SOAR (A) – known as the "Night Stalkers." These 10 awards are presented annually to soldiers whose professional focus ensures the mission readiness and combat effectiveness of the regiment.

According to Mike Talton, principal marketing manager for Army Systems Marketing at Rockwell Collins, this award demonstrates our company's high regard for the "special operators" who wear the "Night Stalker" patch, and for the extended family that supports them.

Established in 1981 as Task Force 160 – then, the U.S. Army's only Special Operations Aviation force – the Night Stalkers were originally part of the 101st Airborne Division. Today, the 160th SOAR (A) is the U.S. Army's premier night fighting aviation unit.

Stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., Night Stalkers have the capability to strike without detection during the hours of darkness to accomplish complex and sustained combat operations anywhere in the world.

"There is a very strong relationship between Rockwell Collins and the Night Stalkers – both professionally and personally," said Talton. "That relationship is built on respect, trust and our ability to work together."

Rockwell Collins provides the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) for the MH-47 and MH-60 helicopter fleets, and the Cockpit Management System (CMS) for the A/MH-6 helicopter fleet used by the 160th SOAR (A).

Our company's CAAS/CMS cockpits provide the integrated displays and embedded mission computers necessary for the effective management of avionics, sensors, flight and navigational performance, tactical situational awareness, and weapons systems.

"We are honored to stand with our industry colleagues in saluting the Night Stalkers' courage, sacrifice and dedication," said Talton, following the presentation during the "Week of the Night Stalkers Association" event held in May. "They are an elite group of professionals, committed to their motto, 'Night Stalkers don't quit.' "


U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marcelino Benitez (center) accepts the Rockwell Collins Avionics Maintainer of the Year Award from Mike Myers, vice president of Business Development for Government Systems (right). Benitez is the first recipient of this award, and was selected from a list of four candidates who were nominated by their peers in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) Airborne (A) division. Also pictured is Col. Kevin Mangum, commander of the 160th SOAR.
Photo by Mike Talton, Cedar Rapids, Iowa