Happy New Years! Goodbye 2021 Hello 2022!!
In many cultures and around the world many of us will bring in a new year and I wanted to take a moment to type out a few thoughts.

First, a look at some milestones for the group.
  • We started the year with 33 members and ended up with 42, so if it feels more crowded in the back of a chinook, it's not your imagination, there really are more of us!
  • Just to give everyone an idea of that growth, 1st Air Assault started 2020 with a whopping 10 players!
  • We won't detail the number of members who came and went over the last twelve months but needless to say our online family are like real world friends who drift in and out of our lives. Like real world friends, we will continue to miss the ones we grew really close to and have to think harder about the more casual acquaintances who crossed our paths.
  • We changed the operational structure of our group from a squad-based unit to that of sections. Primarily this gives us the quick movement but helps with managing the ebbs and flow of attendance.
  • We have the largest number of pilots in the history of 1st Air Assault. Zulu actually exceeds the number of characters created in the config for Zulu!
I know we're proud of our international membership, here are the latest numbers
  • United States - 21
  • UK - 5
  • Denmark - 3
  • Ireland -2
The following countries are represented by a proud member
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Italy
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Romania
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sweden
1st Air Assault is represented by 16 countries, not only adding to our fictious story of a NATO unit but speaks volumes about our cores values that creates the environment allowing such diversity.

Quality over quantity
1st Air Assault has always focused on having the right people in our group, those who are right for us. Everyone here knows the smile we all crack when an applicant tells us the number of hours they have in Arma, or the roles they've played because all we really want is that person who feels 'right' who we can count on watching our back when we face 'one of those mission'.

Looking over our roster, I think we've been very lucky to attract just those kinds of players.

Think about the online family we enjoy week after week. I know I personally talk about each and every one of you as 'my friend who lives here', 'a friend from country x tells me they're seeing this'. As with real world friends, we've been there for each other through very happy times with school, work and family and supported each other through the tougher times such as accidents, emotional challenges and even working through losing someone near and dear.

We've even help each other through the craziness that is COVID, each of us facing our own unique circumstances around the world. We even share pictures of our animals and vacations!

Past success and our future
We've all gone through the same application process and know we allow members to spend as much time with the group as they're willing to give as long as we see consistent attendance for our official Sunday operations. It always impresses me with the extra effort put forth by the group.

Want to say a huge thank you to Gary and Lightfoot who continue to go the extra mile to keep the group up and running as members of Executive Command. Its relatively easy to manage a system for weekly mission, but making it look effortless and without drama takes a unique effort not taught anywhere but in the trenches of managing an online gaming group. While we always present a united front and consistent message, there are pretty intense conversations on the road to a decision or resolution. Every conversation starts with what's right for the group, does it fulfill our core values and most importantly, will it work.

Trainers turn up week after week, teaching the same material with enthusiasm and a genuine interest in every new member going through our Fundamental Skills Training for the first time. The current official trainers are;
  • Isaac
  • Gary
  • Rich
  • Tom
We are hoping to add to those names, looking at you Kemper and Monty, and would welcome anyone who would like to volunteer one or two Saturdays a month.

We have members making missions, those helping mission makers by working on compositions (basically a method of creating preset loadouts to help Zero Alpha), members volunteering to manage our weekly operations in the role of Zero Alpha and those who just keep an eye out for the group through new SOPs, mods and generally being the first to step and help a member in need.

Here are others who have given far more time to the group than we could ever expect;
  • Isaac - As well teaching the medic course with Tom, Isaac is the first to volunteer most notably heading up the effort to collect member's testimonials for the anniversary video
  • Kemper - Past trainer and specialty trainer
  • Monty - Should be a full trainer in 2022 and is part of the composition team
  • Sturge - What to say about Sturge? First, we have created a Go Fund Me to help with his addiction to CRAM's and personnel mines. Sturge brings his real-world experience to game in so many ways to the group with his mission making, working on the composition team and it was his suggestion that brought up the idea of sections. He is diligent in helping others, even with the complexity of mission-making.
  • Tom - The go-to tech guy of the group, Tom headed up the composition effort, manages the ACE medical settings and generally has helped keep the group on the straight and narrow
  • Section Leaders - A tough role within the group. EC sets a high bar to earn the role and the continuous effort to retain it. Faced with the constant feedback of 'I would've done it differently' from everyone and their dog. A special nod to Potts, Gary, Mike and James!
Final thoughts
Ironically, I came across some notes and ideas for this group a few days ago during a year-end cleaning of the cluttered closet. They were written long before the first video was created or even before a name for the group was finalized. All I could think when reading them was how much better and far beyond any expectations the group has become.

This group isn't what it is because of a video, we are what we are from the effort and dedication of every member. While the videos may show what we want to be, you the members make us what we are. As with anything in life, it's one thing to get to a moment, its far more work to maintain that place.

No one is perfect, we will all slip. It may be in effort, maybe in demeanor or just a silly, stupid mistake. The secret is to own it and be big enough to get up, dust yourself down and make sure not to do it again. Gary and I talk about past groups and past members but there were also past meltdowns and drama. I know he and I have worked hard to be better and measure ourselves against the past to make the future even better. Every member should do the same.

Members should apply this to every interaction they have and every role they take on. It may sound corny, but members should ask themselves if they're living up to the core values of the group and am I managing this role have had the honor of earning?

Managing a group to the high standard we set for 1st Air Assault is hard. Ask anyone who has been in another group. We will be asking for members to step up a little more in 2022 in a couple of ways.

So! Thank you to each and every one of you. Thank you for being here. It's always amazing to see everyone take the feedback, 'this was good but we can do better' and do just that, get better. Thank you for making the group what is and thank you for continuing to work in making the group what it will become.

There's an excellent saying, 'You always remember the good old days. I wish someone would've told me then I was in the middle of the good old days so a could treasure them more'. I hope everyone feels they're in those days with 1st Air Assault.

Be safe and have fun on this New Years Eve.
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Wishing all of my 1AA buddies a happy, bright, healthy and successful 2022.
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Happy 2022 everyone! Smile
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Happy new year 1AA!
Happy New Year to everyone !
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