16th Combat Aviation Brigade
16th Combat Aviation Group
The mission of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade is to provide aviation forces to support Army Force Generation. It is also to, on order, deploy worldwide to find, fix, and destroy enemy forces and sustain combat power in support of join military operations to increase the lethality and agility of the ground force.
The 16th Aviation Brigade was activated as the 16th Combat Aviation Group on 23 January 1968 under US Army Pacific (USARPAC) General Order number 131. The unit was activated at Marble Mountain, Danang, in the the northern most part of south Vietnam. At the time of activation, the 16th Combat Aviation Group was formed from 2 battalions, the 14th Combat Aviation Battalion and the 212th Combat Support Aviation Battalion, with a total combat force 3300 personnel.
Inactivated following the conflict in Vietnam, the unit was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade and reactivated on 16 October 2009. Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Task Force 49, provisionally established in 2005 and formally established in 2006 to maintain aviation assets for US Army Alaska, was concurrently inactivated and its personnel reflagged as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade. The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade was activated in order to ultimately provide a headquarters for various aviation units without a parent command, including units outside of Alaska.
Combined with the deployments of Task Force 49, as of February 2010, the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade marked the end of 36 months of continual combat deployment by a single aviation unit, a feat unmatched in modern army aviation. The first operational deployment for the reactivated unit was in August 2010 to provide humanitarian assistance to Pakistan. Task Force Denali, consisting of elements from 1-52nd Aviation, C-123rd Aviation, and HHC, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade conducted a 100-day operation in response to disastrous flooding in Pakistan.
The 1st Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, was assigned to the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade in July 2010.
In February 2011, 6-17th Cavalry and C/1-52nd Aviation deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan respectively. 1-229th Aviation deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn in March 2011. In June, 2011, 1-52nd Aviation deployed Team Denali, a CH-47 based unit, to Operation Enduring Freedom to support operations in southern Afghanistan.
In March 2011, the Department of Defense announced the movement of 16th Combat Aviation Brigade headquarters from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. This would realign the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade with I Corps, though the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation and 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry would remain in Alaska to support USARAK. On 15 June 2011, the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade cased their colors at Fort Wainwright, Alaska and moved the Headquarters and Headquarters Company to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. On 1 August 2011, the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade completed its move to Joint Base Lewis-McChord during a ceremony at Gray Army Airfield in which it uncased its colors. At that time it formally became part of I Corps and was also expanded to include 2 newly activated units: 2nd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment and the 46th Aviation Support Battalion. In addition, 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was also assigned to the Brigade.
On 21 June 2012, it was announced that 1st Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment and D Company, 123rd Aviation Regiment would relocate to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington from Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Wainwright, Alaska respectively. These force structure actions represented a net increase of 531 military and zero civilian authorizations for the Army at Joint Base Lewis-McChord; a decrease of 402 military and zero civilian authorizations at Fort Hood; and a decrease of 129 military and zero civilian authorizations at Fort Wainwright. These actions were to be completed by 15 October 2012 and represented the final phase of the activation of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade. It was subsequently decided that the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade could not effectively control aviation operations in Alaska from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and US Army Alaska established an Aviation Task Force, which took command of 1-52nd Aviation and 6-17th Cavalry.
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