It literally takes your breath away when you see a helicopter in the sky over Fort Rucker in Enterprise. The sound. The engineering. The precision. There’s nothing accidental on these aircraft. The Black Hawk, the Apache, the Chinook – they are workhorses. Symbols of excellence in so many ways.
(IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin’s op-ed appeared August 30, 2017 in The Enterprise Ledger)
A salute to our U.S. Military who put their lives on the line for our freedom. A wave to the American patriotism as these birds are used to protect our troops and this great country from harm. A bow to the United State of America for American ingenuity and the advances it brings to our world, and a gesture of respect to the workers who build and maintain these aircraft with their hands and their hearts.
That’s especially true this Labor Day holiday.
Today is about celebrating workers and the generations of men and women who have moved mountains to get us to this place in history. We want to say thank you because we know it has not always been an easy task. For the typical Alabamian, especially those at Fort Rucker, the goal is simple. Go to work, create an outstanding product, be proud of what you do, come home and take care of your family and loved ones. But everything costs more these days. It’s harder to find a career than just a job. It’s tougher to take care of your kids when there’s so much standing in the way.
Your hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed.
We applaud you for technological advancements like keeping the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks flying high and mighty in the skies. We are grateful they are serviced right here in the Heart of Dixie. We are honored of the job you do at Fort Rucker and that you’ve been doing it for decades. Your hands are the ones that are trusted to work on every aircraft the Army flies. There’s something to be said about that statement.
A lot of the employees working at Fort Rucker are second, third or even fourth generation. Their families have had a front row seat to witness progress in the aviation industry. They have provided an undeniable service to the thousands of students who pass through this base each year. We know each other as we attend the same churches, our kids are enrolled in the same school, we all shop at the local grocery stores.
And it’s not just the mechanics, avionic techs and sheet metal mechanics we have to thank. Support clerks who take care of the records, QDRs, clerical supply personnel who keep the base up and running, test pilots – all of you are patriots and deserve more holidays than just Labor Day to commend you for a job well done. Fort Rucker is the prime helicopter training facility in the world for the U.S. Military. It’s said that every Army helicopter pilot has stepped on this base at least once in his or her combat boots. Your work has touched the lives of millions of people.
All of this makes the workers at Fort Rucker some of the best examples of what Labor Days truly means. Your dedication is a nod to American ingenuity. Your helicopters are flying symbols of the men and women on the ground who built them, maintained them and made sure it’s safe for the U.S. Military to fly them. Your achievements are the examples for everyone in this great country to follow.
In Alabama and around the country, many workers and their families will gather today to share a meal and some time together. That’s why this holiday exists – to recognize the accomplishments that American workers have made to the advancement of this Country. It’s a very small thank you for the very big job that you do.
In Enterprise, proof of those successes can be seen flying overhead as helicopter after helicopter takes off and lands at Fort Rucker. Just look up and you’ll see the very best of what America has to offer, right here in the Heart of Dixie.
From all of us at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, we wish you and your families a Happy and Safe Labor Day!