11th Aviation Command
"11th Aviation Regiment"
11th Aviation Group
11th Aviation Brigade
The 11th Aviation Command provides air traffic sServices, airfield management, aeromedical evacuation, combat aviation brigade reinforcement, theater aviation support, and coordination of aviation staging and onward movement in order to support Corps, Army or Joint operations. The 11th Aviation Command has 2 missions, functioning as both a war fighting headquarters and as a functional command. As a war fighting command, the 11th Aviation Command provides command, control, staff planning, and supervision for 2 aviation brigades (including one national guard brigade, when federalized) and one air traffic service battalion. As a functional command the 11th Aviation Command provides command and control for all Army Reserve Aviation.
Prior to its inactivation in 2005, the mission of what was then the 11th Aviation Group was to deploy to designated contingency areas to conduct combat operations as part of V Corps. It would, on order, conduct military operations in support of regional stability contingencies.
The requirement for air mobility (heliborne tactical movement) of infantry units was established by the Department of the Army in 1962. Secretary of the Army Cyrus R. Vance envisioned that the Army required its own organic aviation assets to meet immediate combat needs of infantry units. XVIII Corps began experimenting with this new concept by using borrowed helicopters. By the end of the year, Secretary Vance decided to form a test division to further evaluate this new concept.
As part of this concept, the 11th Aviation Command was first constituted on 1 February 1963 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Air Assault Aviation Group, and assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division (Test). The unit was activated on 5 February 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Under the leadership of Major General Charles W.G. Rich, the Test Director, and Brigadier General Harry Kinnard, the Division Commander, the group worked to formulate a unit that could move one-third of the division's infantry battalions and supporting units in one single helicopter lift.
These tests proved highly successful and on 1 July 1965 the unit was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Group. It was concurrently relieved from assignment to the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) subsequently deployed to the Republic of Vietnam with the mission to "fight battles of movement, ranging swiftly to places where they are needed." Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara described the new 428 helicopter equipped 1st Cavalry Division as "an entirely new approach to the conduct of land battle which will result in the exploitation of the principle of surprise to an unprecedented degree." As part of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 11th Aviation Group controlled the 227th, 228th and 229th Aviation Battalions whose helicopters were the Division's lifeblood.
From 1965 through 1968, the 11th Aviation Group and its subordinate units saw combat action in the I and II Corps areas of Vietnam. The Group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the Pleiku Campaign of 1965 and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period September 1965 to November 1966. In 1968, the Group moved to Phuc Vinh in III Corps and remained there until early 1971 where the Group was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for the period 6 May 1969 through 1 February 1970.
With the departure of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) from Vietnam, the 11th Aviation Group was attached to the 1st Aviation Brigade in February 1971. The Group redeployed to Marble Mountain Army Airfield near Da Nang. The Group was formally relieved from assignemnt to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) on 5 May 1971. In August 1972, the Group departed Marble Mountain Army Airfield and resettled at Da Nang Air Base.
The 11th Aviation Group left Vietnam in March 1973. Bound for Schwabisch Hall, Germany, the Group's mission was to support Headquarters, US Army Europe and the Seventh Army. In November 1979 the 11th Aviation Group became a major subordinate command of VII Corps. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 16 October 1987 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Brigade. Three months later the Brigade fielded the first AH-64 Attack Helicopter unit in Europe, 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment. This firmly established the Brigade's role as a decisive combat element in the NATO alliance. In August 1988, the 11th Aviation Brigade moved to Storck Barracks in Illesheim.
The 11th Aviation Brigade deployed elements in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, recieving participation credit for the Southwest Asia Campaigns Defense of Saudi Arabia, Liberation and Defense of Kuwait, and Cease-Fire. Following the war, the Brigade was assigned to sector security in the former XVIII Corps area of responsibility. The front covered more than 200 kilometers. The 11th Aviation Brigade began redeployment to Germany on 22 April 1991.
The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 17 November 1993 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Group. Though organized and formally designated as an aviation group, the unit was also commonly referred to as "11th Aviation Regiment."
In April of 1996, C Troop (+), 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry deployed to Camp Hampton, Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor and the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division. The deployment was critical to Implementation Force's success in establishing stability in the Multi-National Division (North) sector.
In the summer of 1996, the 11th Aviation Group received a warning order to form and train an aviation task force for possible deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The deployment was to be as a part of the Task Force Eagle Covering Force, overseeing the withdrawal of the 1st Armored Division. On 4 October, 1996, the unit received its deployment orders, and within 5 days Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Regiment; 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment; A and B Companies, 7th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment; 147th Maintenance Support Team; C Company, 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment (Air Traffic Services); and the 45th Medevac began departing Germany enroute to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.
Assembling at Comanche Base, the 700 soldiers of Task Force 11 transferred authority with their 1st Armored Division counterparts on 4 November 1996, and immediately provided critical support to MND (North), where tensions between the former warring factions were high. On 20 December 1996, the covering force completed its mission as a part of the Implementation Force (IFOR) and transitioned to operations as a part of the Stabilization Force (SFOR). On 15 May 1997, the 229th Aviation Regiment executed transfer of authority with Task Force 11 as the Multi-National Division (North) Aviation Brigade. After processing at the intermediate staging base in Taszar, Hungary, the last elements of Task Force 11 closed on their home stations on 25 May, 1997.
In May 1998, the 11th Aviation Group deployed to Tuzla, Bosnia with Headquarters and Headquarters Company and 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry as part of Operation Joint Guard/Joint Forge. From May to October 1998, the Task Force performed as the Strategic Reserve for SFOR and the 1st Armored Division-led Multinational Division (North), ensuring the continued implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords. Following transfer of authority to elements of the 1st Cavalry Division, the Group redeployed to Illesheim, Germany.
Following notification in late March 1999, the Group was once again deployed on 8 April 1999 to Tirana, Albania in support of NATO Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. Over the next 3 months, the Group remained postured for combat operations as the main effort for Task Force Hawk. Task Force Hawk deployed 2 squadrons of pilots, both Aviation Unit Maintenance (AVUM) elements, 24 of the 48 AH-64s assigned to the 2 squadrons, and a partial Aviation Intermediate Maintenance (AVIM) element to Alabania. The remaining aircraft and AVIM (-) were left in Germany, where it took control of the 24 AH-64s and readied them for possible deployment. Early on Task Force Hawk determined that neither the 11th Aviation Group, the 2 deployed squadrons and the Corps DOCC had enough aviation staff officers to simultaneously plan, rehearse and execute the existing mission and possible upcoming missions.
Following the success of the air campaign, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry deployed forward to Camp Able Sentry, Macedonia and were the first members of the NATO alliance to enter Kosovo in the implementation of peace accords as part of Operation Joint Guardian. With the groundwork for peace and resettlement of refugees established, the Group once again redeployed to Illesheim with the final aircraft returning 4 August 1999.
In February 2003, the V Corps reorganized its aviation forces in Kuwait, reunifying the air units from Germany under a single command. V Corps created the new Task Force 11th Aviation to replace Task Force 2-6th Cavalry. Task Force 11th Aviation was composed of all the units based in Illesheim.
The 11th Aviation Group was inactivated in Germany on 9 June 2005. At the time, it was 2 attack helicopter squadrons, service support units, and a headquarters, and were part of the V Corps. 2nd and 6th Squadrons, 6th Cavalry were subsequently reassigned to the Combat Aviation Brigades of the 25th Infantry Division and the 10th Mountain Division respectively.
In 2007, the decision was made to reorganize US Army Reserve aviation assets, previously grouped under the 244th Aviation Brigade. The planned 11th Aviation Command was to tentatively activate in September 2007 with a colors ceremony at Fort Knox, Kentucky. After its activation, the Command served daily as the functional command and control element over all Army Reserve aviation units. By the end of 2008, the 11th Aviation Command consisted of 148 Army Reserve Soldiers and civilians including 48 senior full time staff members (Active Guard Reserve) and 13 Civilian Military Technicians grade GS-7 to GS-13. The Command was responsible for peacetime management of more than 4,000 Aviation Reserve Soldiers to include one brigade headquarters (the 244th Aviation Brigade) consisting of 4 aviation battalions and 4 other aviation battalions direct reporting units located throughout the 14 states. In addition, the 11th Aviation Command would exercise command and control over the 77th Aviation Brigade, Arkansas Army National Guard, if it were to be called into federal service. The Command was also responsible for managing the training and employment of AH-64 Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters, UH-60 Blackhawk Assault Helicopters, CH-47 Chinook Medium Lift Helicopters, C-12 and a UC-35 fixed wing aircraft throughout United States. During deployment, the headquarters would function as a theater aviation command.
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