12th Combat Aviation Brigade
12th Aviation Brigade
"Wings of Victory"
The Defense Department announced on 29 April 2015 that it would restructure the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade and subordinate units in Germany as part of the Army's Aviation Restructuring Initiative in Europe. The change was expected to result in a reduced U.S. presence in Germany, with 1,900 military positions and an estimated 2,850 family members affected.
Aviation capabilities in Germany are to be maintained using a continuous rotation to augment the remaining aviation assets and personnel. Aviation assets are to be augmented further if surge capabilities are needed. The Army will provide a rotational presence of an aviation battalion task force, two medevac teams and an air traffic service company to complement the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade.
The 12th Aviation Brigade, on order, deploys within the EUCOM or CENTCOM AOR to provide General Aviation support to V Corps. The 12th Aviation Brigade provides trained and ready forces in support of CG, V Corps validated operational requirements.
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade was first organized as the 12th Aviation Group at Fort Benning, Georgia, on 18 June 1965. From that time, the unit had been instrumental in the doctrinal evolution of aviation tactics, contingency planning, and the development of Army Aviation force structure.
The 12th Aviation Group deployed to Vietnam in August 1965 as a command element for Army aviation units in the Republic of Vietnam not assigned to a higher headquarters (generally those belonging to divisions or separate brigades). By November 1965, the Group consisted of 11,000 personnel and 34 aviation units of various sizes and types. On 1 March 1966, the 12th Aviation Group was assigned to the newly formed 1st Aviation Brigade.
The 12th Aviation Group, assigned to the III Military Region in Vietnam, was the largest unit of its type to serve in combat in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, the unit received the following awards: The Meritorious Unit Citation, 2 Vietnamese Crosses for Gallantry with Palm, and the Vietnamese Civic Action Medal, First Class.
Upon its redeployment from the Republic of Vietnam on 20 March 1973, the Group became a major subordinate command of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 12th Aviation Group provided aviation command and control in support of the Corps' world wide contingency mission.
In response to the Department of the Army study of US Army Europe (USAREUR) aviation requirements, the 12th Aviation Group deployed to Lindsey Air Station, Wiesbaden, Germany on 16 November 1979. The Group was assigned as a major subordinate command of V Corps to provide command and control of aviation units throughout the V Corps area of operation. In April 1984, Headquarters Company, 12th Aviation Group moved to Wiesbaden Air Base. There it was joined in August 1984 by Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Battalion.
In October 1987, under Army-wide restructuring, the 12th Aviation Group was redesignated as the 12th Aviation Brigade. The 11th Aviation Battalion was reflagged as the 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment. Also reflagged were the 48th Aviation Company and the 295th Aviation Company. They became C Company, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment and B Company, 6th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment respectively.
In the latter part of 1988, the Brigade underwent major restructuring when the 5th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment arrived in Europe, equipped with the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. At the same time, the Brigade combined its assault and medium lift helicopter companies under one command and control element, Task Force Warrior. After the reorganization, the Brigade was in command and control of 5-158th Aviation, 5-6th Cavalry, and a battalion made up of assault and medium lift helicopter companies, called Task Force Warrior. The Brigade proved to be a highly mobile and lethal maneuver force for the Multinational Forces in Saudi Arabia.
On 13 August 1990, the Brigade was alerted and subsequently deployed to Southwest Asia first for Operation Desert Shield and then Operation Desert Storm. As 2-3rd Aviation (Attack) had not yet been fielded in Europe, the Brigade was task organized with another European based AH-64 battalion, 3-227th Aviation. With the addition of an aviation intermediate maintenance company, a ground maintenance detachment, and a tactical air control party, the 12th Aviation Brigade provided a highly mobile lethal maneuver force to the Multinational Forces in Saudi Arabia. The Brigade was initially attached to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) for the defense of Saudi Arabia.
In January 1991, the Brigade was detached from the 101st Airborne Division and attached as a major subordinate command of XVIII Airborne Corps. Combat operations included the successful participation in Operation Stalker, a long range surveillance mission flown 150 miles behind enemy lines into Iraq, and forward movement of personnel, equipment, and critical supplies. During the 4 day coalition ground offensive, brigade aircrews flew nearly 400 flight hours, transporting 390 tons of cargo to forward deployed combat units, and providing essential combat and combat support services for the ground offensive.
Soon after returning from the deserts of southwest Asia, 2-3rd Aviation (Attack) joined the Brigade. The Battalion initially formed in Fort Hood, Texas as part of the Apache Training Brigade. During the Gulf War, the Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. There they performed both combat and weapon system replacement operations for US Army Central Command (ARCENT).
During the downsizing of USAREUR between 1992 and 1993, the 12th Aviation Brigade again underwent restructuring, inactivating both 5-6th Cavalry on 15 June 1992 and later Task Force Warrior. The Brigade also gained the 3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Service), 58th Aviation Regiment and the medium lift helicopter company, A Company, 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment on 16 June 1992.
With the end of the Cold War, the Brigade became involved throughout the world in support of America's peacekeeping operations. Operating throughout Turkey from September 1991 until 20 November 1996, 12th Aviation Brigade soldiers ensured the safety and protection of Kurdish citizens during Operation Provide Comfort. 12th Aviation Brigade personnel deployed to Cyprus beginning in October 1991 and to Hungary and Bosnia beginning in 21 December 1995, helping enforce the peace during Operation Joint Endeavor and Joint Guard.
In May and June 1994, the Headquarters Company was the command and control element of Task Force Griffin, an organization charged with the air movement of hundreds of passengers and national dignitaries to numerous sites during the World War II 50th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremonies throughout Southern England and Normandy, France. From June 1995 until August 1998, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 12th Aviation Brigade was the command and control headquarters for a combined contingency force under the Southern European Task Force (SETAF).
Between April and August 1999, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 12th Aviation Brigade deployed during Operations Allied Force and Joint Guardian in support of the NATO led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo (known as the Kosovo Force or KFOR). Task Force 12 was made up of staff elements from the 12th Aviation Brigade. Soldiers from 5-158th Aviation, 3-58th Aviation, E/51st Infantry (LRS) (Airborne), 159th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), and Detachment 6, 7th Weather Squadron, worked together to perform the mission. The Brigade Task Force consisted of 65 aircraft including UH-60s, CH-47s, AH- 64s, and UH-60 MEDEVAC aircraft.
Task Force 12 conducted combat, combat support, and combat service support missions daily after arriving at Task Force Hawk in April 1999. Despite the fact that they were not employed in combat, Task Force Hawk crews flew over 1,500 hours, 740 of them at night, in extremely difficult conditions during the intensive mission rehearsal period that followed your arrival in Albania. This flying rate was several times the normal flying rate in peacetime. Several key combat support operations were also conducted in support of Task Force Hawk. These training missions, conducted under day and night conditions, resulted in a combat force ready to fight.
Operation Allied Force, and with it, Task Force 12 came to an end in early June 1999, when the Technical Agreement was signed and soldiers had to change their mission from a contingency to a peace-keeping effort. This started the ball rolling for Task Force 12's next mission, which was to be based out of Camp Able Sentry, Macedonia, but conducted in Kosovo. Operations under Task Force Falcon included a 120 mile air movement of an Infantry Battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division. The first US forces into Kosovo, The air assault of the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment into Kosovo marked the entry of the first US forces into Kosovo. Also among the operations conducted by Task Force 12 were hundreds of presence, security, and reconnaissance missions.
Over 5,500 troops of Task Force 12 returned on 9 August 1999 to Wiesbaden Air Base after 4 months in support of the NATO Operation Allied Force and Operation shining Hope. They had then moved on into Task Force Falcon in Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo. The unit had returned from Tirana, Albania. The Brigade flew in excess of 6,000 hours and conducted 22,185 aircraft movements in support of operations in Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo, with CH-47 and Air Traffic Control elements supporting Task Force Falcon until March 2001 and June 2000, respectively.
The 12th Aviation Brigade again underwent restructuring between April and August 2000. USAREUR Movement Directive 5-00 directed all of the Aviation Brigade elements stationed at Wiesbaden Army Airfield to move to Giebelstadt Army Airfield. On 30 June 2000, 5-158th Aviation Regiment, the largest aviation battalion in theater consisting of 840 soldiers, split into 2 separate battalions, 3-158th Aviation and 5-158th Aviation. On 31 August 2000, all units from Wiesbaden closed on Giebelstadt Army Airfield. After the reorganization, the Brigade consisted of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3-158th Aviation (Assault), 5-158th Aviation Regiment (Command), 3-58th Aviation Regiment (Air Traffic Services), and F/159th Aviation Regiment (Heavy Lift). F Company, 159th Aviation Regiment was attached to the 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment.
Some 350 soldiers from V Corps' 12th Aviation Brigade, stationed in Giebelstadt, Germany, began their first aerial gunnery qualification exercise, dubbed "Griffin Strike', at the Hradiste Range Complex in the Czech Republic in April 2002. While this was the 12th Aviation Brigade's first gunnery exercise in the Czech Republic, the unit, like other V Corps units, had trained at various ranges in NATO countries in the past.
In support of the Global War on Terror, the 12th Aviation Brigade conducted full spectrum combat operations during its year-long deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom, beginning in 2003. The Brigade flew thousands of hours, moved over 25,000 personnel, and controlled over 230,000 air movements.
In February 2005 the 12th Aviation Brigade deployed to Afghanistan, in support Operation Enduring Freedom and to Pakistan in support of International Earthquake Humanitarian Relief Operations. While in support of Operation Enduring Freedom Task Force Griffin flew in excess of 52,000 hours, transported 105,000 personnel, and moved over 25 million pounds of cargo.
On 7 August, 2006, the units of 4th Brigade (Aviation), 1st Infantry Division combined with units of both the 12th Aviation Brigade and the former 11th Aviation Group (informally known as the 11th Aviation Regiment), and the reorganized unit was redesignated as the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. This was a product of a realignement of US forces in Europe, as well as the transformation of the US Army to the modular force structure. The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade was initially attached to the 1st Armored Division. As the realignment continued, on 20 March, 2007, the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade became a separate brigade under V Corps. By that time, the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade consisted of its Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3-158th Aviation (Assault), 5-158th Aviation (General Support), 2-159th Aviation (Attack Reconnaissance), 3-159th Aviation (Attack Reconnaissance), and the 412th Aviation Support Battalion. Attached to the Brigade were 1-214th Aviation (General Support) and 3-58th Aviation (Airfield Operations).
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to Iraq in the summer of 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Organized as Task Force XII, it served in Balad, Iraq as the Corps Aviation Brigade under Multi-National Corps - Iraq over a 4 month period before relocating to Taji as the Aviation Brigade under Multi-National Division - Baghdad.
As part of continuing restructuring of US forces in Europe, it was announced on 1 March 2013 that the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment would return to the United States during 2015.
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