1st Battalion (Airborne), 159th Aviation Regiment
In 2006, as part of the transformation of the US Army to the modular force structure and the restructuring of XVIII Corps, the 18th Aviation Brigade was inactivated. The 1st Battalion (Airborne), 159th Aviation Regiment was similarly inactivated.
The mission of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 159th Aviation Regiment was to deploy worldwide to conduct aviation operations in support of the XVIII Corps' global contingency mission. The Battalion's mission essential task list (METL) included: Conducting tactical deployment/redeployment activities, conducting air assault operations, conducting air movement operations, performing tactical reconnaissance; conducting command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) operations; performing combat service support (CSS) and sustainment operations; and protecting the force.
1st Battalion (Airborne), 159th Aviation Regiment was originally constituted on 1 July 1968 in the Regular Army as Company A, 159th Aviation Battalion, an element of the 101st Airborne Division, and activated in Vietnam. The unit distinguished itself through participation in 8 camapigns of the conflict there: Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Summer-Fall Offensive, Winter-Spring Offensive, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Consolidation I, and Consolidation II. During these actions, the unit was awarded the Valorous Unit Award and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal.
Continuing to serve with the 101st Airborne Division after returing from Vietnam, the unit was inactivated on 6 October 1987. On 4 June 1987, the 118th Aviation Battalion was formed by reassignment of personnel and equipment from the 18th Aviation Company of the 269th Aviation Battalion, the Aviation Platoon of the 35th Signal Brigade, and C Company, 82nd Aviation Battalion. The 118th Aviation Battalion was an interim unit, in existence while the unit waited for its affiliation under the US Army Regimental System with the 159th Aviation Regiment. This unit drew separate lineage and honors from its distinguished predecessor of the Vietnam era, the 118th Command Aviation Battalion. Company A, 159th Aviation Regiment was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment on 16 November 1987. and the 118th Aviation Battalion was reflagged as the new unit.
1-159th Aviation deployed in 1997 and 1999 to support Operation Joint Guard and Operation Joint Forge respectively in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1st Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment became a multiple-component organization on 17 February 2000. Company D, 1st Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment was activated as an element of the Mississippi Army National Guard, and based at Tupelo, Mississippi. In garrison, Company D was subordinate to the 1st Battalion, 185th Aviation Regiment, part of the Mississippi Army National Guard. During operations, however, it would provide tactical reconnaissance and other support as a part of the 1st Batalion, 159th Avaition Regiment.
Although a Command Aviation Battalion according to its Table of Order and Equipment/Modified Table of Order and Equipment, the Battalion also conducted air assaults by direction of the Corps Commander. In addition, all UH-60 crews and OH-58D crews from D Company performed tactical reconnaissance. While not on the unit's METL, the Battalion maintained oversight of the Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) program, an initiative by the Corps Commander to plan and develop a CSAR capability for the Corps by September 2002. While the unit focused its efforts on training over its most complex mission essential task, air assault operations, it was constantly demonstrating our unique ability to serve as the XVIII Corps' Contingency Aviation Battalion, as it took on missions that were increasingly different and challenging.
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