ARLINGTON, Va. --- The world's most advanced and lethal attack helicopter received a nickname by Team Apache at the annual government-industry Team Apache meeting at the Boeing facility in Arlington, Va., Jan. 8.
The Apache Project Office selected "Guardian" as the winning entry for the AH-64E Apache.
The "AH-64E Apache Guardian" will be a distinction from the AH-64D Apache Longbow that has been in service with the U.S. Army and with allied defense forces since the 1990s.
The winning nickname was submitted by Gina Gill, Logistics Management Specialist from the Aviation and Missile Command Logistics Center, who wrote the following justification:
"Although the Apache is known as the deadliest helicopter it is much more. The Apache functions as a safeguard for our Soldiers on the ground. It seeks and eliminates threats that would otherwise be undetectable and/or indestructible allowing our troops to complete their missions. The Apache is our Soldiers' guardian in the sky."
Gill was recognized by Team Apache at the meeting. The announcement, she said, came as a complete surprise. "Once Colonel (Jeffrey) Hager started reading the explanation, I immediately knew. It was a little overwhelming, and I'm very humbled."
"First I started with what was different about this model, and it had to be one word," Gill explained. "With all the technology upgrades that have been incorporated into the aircraft, one word did not seem to encapsulate the technological advances that the AH-64E brings to the battlefield."
After much brainstorming on what the new aircraft means to the Soldiers that it protects, Gill decided that "Guardian" was the best fit.
"The Apache is not just deadly," she said. "It brings fear to our enemies, and security to the Soldiers it protects. I work avionics and radar, and that helps with guarding and seeing where the threats are. That's how I came up with Guardian."
Several hundred entries were submitted into the contest and judging was difficult.
"Reflecting on this process, you sometimes don't realize the amount of passion that people put into these names," said Col. Jeffrey Hager, project manager for Apache Attack Helicopters. "For many, this is their livelihood, and you've just given them an opportunity to nickname the new Apache helicopter."
Organizations that participated in the contest included Team Apache military organizations such as the Apache Project Office, the Aviation and Missile Command, and industry team members such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
Leaders from each organization chose their top three to be judged by the Integrated Strategy Group comprised of leaders representing each organization.
There were many good names and many excellent justifications, said Hager. "Some were good, some were great, and some were simply outstanding."