1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment
As part of the transformation of the 25th Infantry Division to the US Army's modular force structure, the 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment was inactivated on 9 June 2006 and its personnel reflagged as the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment.
The mission of the 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment was to deploy worldwide to conduct attack operations and conduct limited air reconnaissance and security operations. It would also, on order, exercise command and control over an aviation task force.
The 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment was first constituted on 21 June 1963 in the Regular Army as Company A, 25th Aviation Battalion, an element of the 25th Infantry Division. It was activated on 12 August 1963 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The 25th Aviation Battalion arrived in Vietnam based at Cu Chi. Company A (Little Bears) transferred to Vietnam without personnel or equipment. It was organized, manned and equipped with UH-1 helicopters using the assets of the 175th Aviation Company arriving from Fort Benning, Georgia. The 175th Aviation Company was inactivated and reflagged as Company A, 25th Aviation Battalion. Company A served as an assault helicopter company. It was in Vietnam that the 25th Aviation Battalion made history. The Battalion participated in 12 Vietnam campaigns receiving 2 Valorous Unit Awards and 2 Meritorious Unit Commendations. In addition Company B received a Presidential Unit Citation. The 25th Aviation Battalion left Vietnam on 7 December 1970 for Schofield Barracks.
The unit was inactivated on 15 October 1985 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii while the 25th Infantry Division reorganized as a new Light Infantry Division. It was reactivated on 16 January 1986 at Wheeler Air Force Base, Hawaii. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 16 May 1988 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation, and remained assigned to the 25th Infantry Division with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated.
From January 1995 to April 1996, 1-25th Aviation deployed to Haiti as the Aviation Task Force Headquarters for the 25th Infantry Division (Light) during Operation Uphold Democracy. 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment was reorganized on 24 June 1999, when the last AH-1 Cobra Attack helicopters in the active Army were turned over to US Army Reserve and National Guard Units. Between July 1999 and May 2000, 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment underwent an aircraft modernization to the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior at Fort Hood, Texas. The unit arrived back in Hawaii after completion of Unit Fielding and Training Program in June 2000.
From February 2002 through September 2002, Task Force 1-25th Aviation deployed to assume peacekeeping duties in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of Task Force Eagle, Stabilization Force (SFOR) 11, Operation Joint Forge. Task Force 1-25th Aviation conducted missions across the spectrum of military operations including anti-smuggling operations, reconnaissance and security operations, and special operations missions, as well as numerous combined arms live-fire demonstrations. From April 2003 through June 2003, Task Force 1-25th Aviation deployed to the Kingdom of Thailand in support of Cobra Gold 2003.
The unit deployed in January 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Daily in Baghdad, aviators from the 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment conducted 24-hour combat operations in support of ground units from the 1st Cavalry Division, to which it was attached. Between deploying in January 2004 from Wheeler Army Airfield and 8 July 2004, aviators from Lightning Attack flew more than 2,000 missions in support of coalition forces engaged with maintaining stability in the Baghdad area. Initially, the Battalion was attached to the 1st Armored Division and based at Baghdad International Airport. In March 2004, the Battalion moved to Camp Cooke, north of Baghdad. In April 2004, it was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas. The primary focus of the Battalion was conducting reconnaissance, security and close combat attacks to enable the 1st Cavalry Division to maintain a stable and secure environment in Baghdad for the transition to the Interim Iraqi Government.
A typical day would start well before takeoff time for the Battalion's air crews. Withstanding the 110-degree heat, they would start by reporting to the Tactical Operations Center where they would receive a battle update on the current enemy threat and a friendly situation brief on what operations ground units were conducting in their areas. These briefings were very detailed and provided the air crews with the necessary enemy and friendly situational awareness to ensure they can accomplish their missions.
On arrival to the objective area, the Air Mission Commander would conduct a check in brief over the radio with the unit on the ground to gain situational awareness and any updates to their mission. One mission was in support of a ground cavalry squadron from the 1st Cavalry Division. The "Regulators" of Company A, 1-25th Aviation were conducting zone reconnaissance to locate and defeat enemy forces operating in the vicinity of Camp Cooke, a former Iraqi Military Base that had become home to the soldiers of 1-25th Aviation Regiment, as well as several other units. Patrolling the skies around Camp Cooke, in conjunction with maintaining a close working relationship with ground maneuver units prevented the enemy from threatening the day-to-day operations of the base. Throughout the remainder of the day and well into the night, the Battalion conducted several combat operations in the Baghdad area. That night, the other 2 attack companies in the Battalion also had full mission schedules.
The "Ghostriders" of Company B, 1-25th Aviation conducted several complex operations in support of one of the ground maneuver brigade's reconnaissance troops as they conducted reconnaissance to locate enemy forces. The Battalion's third attack company, the "Outlaws" of Company C, 1-25th Aviation, also conducted a critical mission, providing security in the vicinity of the international airport and surrounding areas. The responsive and agile aviation operations they provided for the ground units at the airport, as well as to the strategic air assets of the Air Force ensured that Baghdad International, as well as key logistical functions remained secure.
When the crews near the end of their mission day, their last stop was the forward arming refuel point (FARP). They would be met by a small team of soldiers who were attached to the Battalion from the 25th Aviation Brigade's Headquarters Company. These soldiers were known as the "three-five" platoon, and it was their job to load up the helicopters with all of the ammunition and fuel they could take, and they could do it in a matter of minutes.
The aviators were well equipped to fly and survive on the battlefield. Prior to deployment the unit received Second Chance Body Armor, Individual Global Positioning Systems, and the latest generation Aviation Night Vision System Night Vision Goggles the Army had to offer. While in Iraq, the Battalion set new records on the number of hours flown, missions executed and aircraft readiness rates. The Battalion flew more than 9,700 hours during its first 4 months in country, nearly twice what was flown all of the previous year.
With less aircraft than there were for Operation Iraqi Freedom I, the Battalion had to maintain the highest operations tempo of any aviation unit since the start of the conflict. Flying in Iraq was challenging and pilots had to be proficient in all modes of flight. Most operations were conducted at "nap of the earth." Survivability of the aircraft was paramount to maintain stealth and gain good reconnaissance of the area.
Two soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation, 25th Infantry Division (Light) were killed in Baghdad, Iraq on 16 October 2004, when their OH-58D helicopter apparently collided with another OH-58D helicopter and crashed.
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