18th Aviation Brigade (Airborne)
The mission of the 18th Aviation Brigade (Airborne) is to on order, rapidly deploy worldwide to conduct aviation operations in support of the XVIII Airborne Corps.
The FORSCOM aviation units are aligned with each of the corps based in the Continental United States. Each corps is organized with a Corps Aviation Brigade in addition to the organic divisional aviation assets. The mix of AC and RC aviation units vary with each brigade.
The XVIII Airborne Corps Aviation Brigade, 18th Aviation Brigade, is resourced with two Aviation Groups, 159th Avn Group (Lift) and the 229th Avn Group (Attack). The 159th Avn Group is composed of one general support aviation battalion, one assault helicopter battalion, one light utility helicopter battalion, and one medium lift helicopter battalion from the ARNG. In addition, the Group has an AC command aviation battalion and an air traffic service battalion. The second group, 229th Avn Group, is composed of one ARNG and two AC attack battalions. An AC aviation intermediate maintenance battalion supports the Corps aviation brigade. This represents a mix of 51 percent AC and 49 percent ARNG aviation. Both AC and RC aviation units assigned to the Corps stand ready to execute their power projection requirement in support of worldwide contingencies.
The 18th Aviation Brigade was formed from the 269th Aviation Battalion and its subordinate units, the 18th and 196th Aviation companies. The 18th Aviation Brigade (Airborne) was originally constituted on 7 April 1966 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 269th Aviation Battalion. It activated on 1 July 1966 at Fort Bragg, NC. Formed in April 1966, the 269th was formally activates at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 1 July 1966 and deployed to the Republic of Vietnam on 28 January 1967. There it was assigned to the 12th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade at Vung Tau.
The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 1 December 1968 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 269th Aviation Battalion. During the battalion's tour in Southeast Asia, the unit participated in a number of actions and campaigns, to include the TET Counteroffensive, the TET-69 Counteroffensive, and the Sanctuary Counteroffensive. After more than four years in combat, the unit redeployed from Vietnam to Fort Bragg. Awards earned include the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal.
On 17 August 1987 Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 18th Aviation Brigade, was activated. On 1 September 1987, the 269th Aviation Battalion was reorganized and redesignated as the 18th Aviation Brigade (Corps)(Airborne), and has since participated in operations "Prime Chance" in the Persian Gulf, "Just Cause" in Panama, and "Desert Shield and Storm" in Southwest Asia, and Hurricane Andrew Relief in Southern Florida.
On the first day of the Gulf War [24 February 1991] the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) began its attack with its AH-64s, AH-1s, 60 UH-60s and 40 CH-47s augmented by the XVIII Airborne Corps' 18th Aviation Brigade and began lifting the 1st Brigade into what became Forward Operating Base (FOB) Cobra, 93 miles into Iraq and halfway to the Euphrates River. Over three hundred helicopter sorties ferried the troops and equipment into the objective area in the largest heliborne operation in military history.
The brigade's structure has changed significantly. The 159th Aviation Regiment Headquarters relocated to Fort Campbell, and the 4th Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment relocated to Fort Polk, LA. The brigade's current task organization is comprised of two active, and eight National Guard units. The active units are the 1st Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, and the 1st Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment. The National Guard units are the 449th Aviation Group(NCNG), the 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment(FLNG), the 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment(ALNG), the 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment(OHNG), the 1st Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment(SCNG), the 5th Battalion, 155th Aviation Regiment(MDNG), and the 1st Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment(LANG).
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