1-131st Aviation Regiment
The 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment is stationed at Dannelly Field in Montgomery, AL.
In July 1999 Army National Guard units from North Carolina, Alabama and Florida, providing a total of 171 soldiers, were notified for call-up for active duty in support of operations in Southwest Asia. This is part of ongoing U.S. and allied military activities in the region and not a result of any new Iraqi military action. Eighty-two soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment, Detachment 1, Morrisville, N.C. and 33 from the 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment, Detachment 1, Montgomery, Ala. were scheduled to be among the first activated in July. Sixteen members from Company E, 111th Aviation Regiment, Detachment 2, Jacksonville, Fla. and 40 members from Company E, 130th Aviation Regiment, Detachment 2, from Salisbury, N.C. were scheduled to follow in August.
Planes and parachutes packed the blue skies over Alabama Nov. 14-16, 1997, during an Air Force Reserve air drop training exercise, dubbed "Interfly." The Alabama Army National Guard also assist with UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. The 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment "sling-lifted" cargo from the drop zone back to Maxwell.
Detachment 1, Company F, 131st Aviation Regiment, of the Georgia Army National Guard has eight Chinooks. Stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, the troops work out of temporary buildings. Their former offices were built during World War II and were condemned. The unit includes about 110 full-time and part-time Guardsmen. The Chinook is designed to carry troops, equipment and ammunition. It can use a sling to lift heavy objects such as other helicopters and airplanes. The amount of cargo that can be carried varies by model, fuel on board and distance that needs to be traveled.
In June 1998 the National Guard helped firefighters battle Florida's wildfires from the air. A CH-47D "Chinook" helicopter from Detachment 1, F Company, 131st Aviation Regiment, Georgia Army National Guard was operating in Florida. The aircraft was sling-loading a 2000-gallon "Bambi Bucket," which is used to douse fires. The crew flew in and dumped 10 buckets per hour for three hours -- a total of 60,000 gallons of water. After a short break, they continued the operation throughout the afternoon. Plans called for this effort to continue for the duration of the fire suppression mission.
When the flight school at Ft. Rucker had maintenance problems with their CH-47 Chinook helicopters in early 2001, and needed temporary replacement aircraft, they looked to the National Guard to help-and Georgia was one of the only states that had enough flyable helicopters available. Within a matter of days, two CH-47s were on their way to Ft. Rucker from Detachment 1, Co F, 131st Aviation Regiment, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah. When the call came, the Georgia unit had six of its eight aircraft operational, compared with only three flyable CH-47s out of more than 25 at the school. Additionally, while several states were asked to help out, Georgia was one of only two with enough operational aircraft to be able to provide replacements.
Over 8,000 soldiers from the Army National Guard remember July 2000 at Fort Irwin, California as a significant and challenging experience. With temperatures routinely soaring above 100 degrees in the desert training area, the units that attended the simulated land warfare were battling both the enemy and the environment, simultaneously. The ten day scenario pushed all participants to their limits and beyond. The key objective was an opportunity to learn what might be expected in the future if Guard members are actually called into action for a real war. When the National Guard Bureau funded the units to participate for the NTC rotation 00-09, the intent was to provide realistic training at the highest level. The primary organization to assume the Blue Forces (Blufor) role was the Palmetto State Task Force from South Carolina. Their call sign for the operation was Dragonslayer. That would be appropriate. Some of the units assembled included the 449th Aviation Group NCARNG; A Co 1/131st Avn ALARNG; F Co 1/131st Avn GAARNG; B Co 1/159th NCARNG; C Co 1/159th SCARNG; 1/183rd Avn Bn IDARNG; and 129th ATS Group of MDARNG.
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