1st Battalion (Attack), 3rd Aviation Regiment
"We Strike From Above"
The 1st Battalion (Attack), 3rd Aviation Regiment was first constituted on 18 April 1963 in the Regular Army as Company A, 3rd Aviation Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division. It was activated on 15 July 1963 in Germany. The assets of A Company, 3rd Aviation Battalion significantly increased the Division's mission capabilities as well as provided a responsive source of firepower to the ground commander. The unit was deactivated on 15 January 1967 due to manpower requirements for the conflict in Vietnam.
It was reactivated on 21 August 1978 in Wurzburg, Germany. On 16 August 1987, 1-3rd Aviation was reorganized as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 3d Aviation Regiment. The unit was concurrently relieved from assignment to the 3rd Infantry Division and reassigned to the 2nd Armored Division at Ft Hood, Texas.
On 11 October 1990, the Battalion deployed with 1st Cavalry Division to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The Battalion returned to Fort Hood on 15 April 1991 and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for its actions during the conflict.
The unit was again deactivated from 15 August 1991 until 25 April 1996 when the 24th Infantry Division was reflagged as the 3rd Infantry Division at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. On 16 February 1998, the Vipers deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Thunder and received recognition as the 1998 Army Aviation Association of America Outstanding Unit of the Year.
In March 1999, the 1st Battalion (Attack), 3rd Aviation Regiment was selected as the third battalion to field the AH-64D Longbow. The 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment from Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, upgraded its helicopter fleet from 24 AH-64A helicopters to 24 AH-64D/DW Longbow helicopters in 2001.
As a result, the unit spent 8 months at Fort Hood, Texas, for training purposes. The entire 368-soldier Battalion, including pilots, mechanics and truck drivers, relocated there to familiarize themselves with the new helicopter system, spending hours in classrooms learning about new digital computers in the cockpit and how to operate the fire-control radar system. Outside, pilots and weapons officers flew and fired ammunition. Members of the unit underwent a rigorous field examination, which included 3 live-fire exercises and approximately 3,000 flight hours during the training programme.
Training at Fort Hood was conducted by the 21st Cavalry Brigade and focused on individual through to battalion-level collective training. All pilots from the 1-3rd Aviation received their initial training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, while the unit's maintainers received their training at Mesa and Fort Eustis, Virginia. The unit received its certification on 15 March 2001, prior to returning to Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.
In January 2002, 1-3rd Aviation deployed to Kuwait in Support of Operation Desert Spring. The unit deployed again to Kuwait and Iraq on 26 January 2003 in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In January 2005, 1-3rd Aviation deployed again to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. Over the course of the year, the Viper battalion flew over 22,600 combat flight hours on more than 2,000 missions in and around Baghdad, Iraq. These operations included Close Combat Attacks in support of ground troops in contact with hostile forces, counter-mortar, man-pad, rocket interdiction, area security operations, convoy security, area, route and zone reconnaissance, air assault security, VIP escort, MEDEVAC escort, aerial cordons in support of ground troop searches, 24-hour Quick Reaction Force (QRF) operations, aerial security operations for coalition and civilian fixed and rotary-wing aircraft arriving and departing at Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). The III/V platoon pumped over 1,759,860 gallons of JP-8 in combat, without accident or incident. In addition, maintainers conducted over 46 phase maintenance inspections on a fleet of 24 Apache Longbow helicopter in grueling operational conditions and environments.
The 1-3rd Aviation was vital in the security of Iraq's first democratic elections, the establishment of the Interim Iraqi Government and Transitional National Assembly, the ratification of Iraq's first democratic constitution, and finally the election and establishment of the newly formed democratic Iraqi government. The Viper Battalion redeployed on January 2006.
In 2007 the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade was alerted for deployment to Iraq. This included elements of all of its units except for the 3-3rd Aviation, which remained in the United States.
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