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M. Vance Sales Jr


Distinguished Service Medal


                A native of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Colonel Sales graduated in 1981 from Arkansas State University as a ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Management and Technology. He commissioned a 2LT in the Army, branched Armor, and attended Armored Cavalry Officer Basic at Fort Knox, Kentucky graduating on the Commandant’s List. He then attended the Rotary Winged Aviators Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama receiving his Army Aviator wings and graduating an Honor Graduate in 1982.

            Over the course of his 28 year career, Colonel Sales spent a decade of overseas tours in deterrence, peacekeeping and wartime assignments. During the height of the Cold War in 1986, Captain Sales commanded two Air Cavalry Troops and served as the Squadron S-3 (Operations) on the frontier of freedom along the Iron Curtain in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment “Blackhorse” astride the Fulda Gap in West Germany. From 1992-1994, Major Sales served as Regimental S-3 (Operations), 229th Attack Helicopter Regiment, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After serving a one year tour in Bosnia with the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo, Lieutenant Colonel Sales assumed command of 1-229th Attack Helicopter Battalion (Airborne) in 1997 while on deployment from Fort Bragg to Bosnia with the 1st Infantry Division for his second tour in this war torn region.

            In 2000, he was selected by the Aviation Branch Chief to be the Army’s Senior Aviation Trainer at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. Colonel Sales assumed command of 229th Attack Helicopter Regiment (Airborne) in June, 2002. His Regiment deployed with the 82d Airborne Division for combat operations in Afghanistan from July 2002 until September 2003. Colonel Sales retired in 2009 after serving as the Director of Aviation, Headquarters Department of the Army G8 (Programs) where his staff invested over $7 billion dollars annually in future Army Aviation equipment.            

            Colonel Sales’ awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Master Army Aviators Badge, Army Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the USMC Parachutist Badge. He is a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College and the Air War College. Additionally, he is a charter member of the Army’s Aviation Branch and qualified in multiple Army helicopters including the AH-1 Cobra and AH-64 Apache. Colonel Sales currently serves as the Senior Site Manager and Army Aviation Customer Team Lead for the General Electric Company’s Aviation Division in Huntsville, Alabama. Colonel Sales is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He and his wife Kim reside on Lake Guntersville in northern Alabama