1st Aviation Brigade
The 1st Aviation Brigade commands 3 distinctly different battalions, each with a unique mission. These are the 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment; the 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment; and the 1st Battalion, 210th Aviation Regiment. Along with its many command responsibilities, logistical support requirements, and administrative duties, the 1st Aviation Brigade's primary mission is to train and develop future aviation warfighting leaders.
This training includes the lessons learned from deployed units, and instructors and cadre write, review, and coordinate Army Aviation combined arms doctrine for aviation units below brigade level. The course curriculum consists of a wide range of professional military education subjects, with emphasis on combined arms battlefield integration.
The tactical training is further reinforced with state-of-the art simulation, allowing students to assume various command and staff positions at all command levels while fighting simulated battles throughout a wide spectrum of tactical scenarios. Equally important is the initial entry training taught to entry level Aviation Branch Soldiers. IET teaches fundamental skills for Soldiers to perform their occupational specialties in an aviation unit.
The 1st Aviation Brigade was organized 1 March 1966 as the US Army Aviation Brigade (Provisional). The Brigade became part of the Army's official force structure on 25 May 1966, when Lieutenant Genral Engler, Deputy Commanding General, US Army Vietnam (USARV), formally presented the 1st Aviation Brigade Colors to then Brigadier General George P. Seneff, Jr, the first brigade commander. The 1st Aviation Brigade initially consisted of the 14th and 17th Combat Aviation Groups, nine combat aviation battalions, and 45 companies with over 1,000 organic aircraft and 15,000 officers and men.
New Army aircraft arrived in Vietnam in 1967. In June 1967, the CH-54 "Sky Crane" Detachment was assigned to the 147th Aviation Support Helicopter Company and provided Army Aviation with a heavy lift capability. The AH-1G "Cobra" arrived in August 1967 to enhance the effectiveness of the Brigade's combat support firepower. The OH-6A "Cayuse" observation helicopter arrived in October 1967 with deployment of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. Fixed wing aircraft, such as the O-1 "Birddog" observation aircraft, the U-21 "Ute" passenger transport aircraft, and the OV-1 "Mohawk" aerial surveillance aircraft, as well as others, were aviation stalwarts at this time also.
During June 1970, the 1st Aviation Brigade reached its largest organization. At this time it was composed of 4 combat aviation groups, 16 combat aviation battalions, and 83 companies with over 4,000 aircraft and 27,000 personnel. A glance at a month's operational statistics for the Brigade's unit provides an insight into the role of Army Aviation in Vietnam. A typical month in 1970 revealed over 605,000 passengers transported together with over 60,000 tons of cargo hauled in support of Allied Forces. Brigade aircraft were airborne over 155,000 hours during the month. On the signing of the cease-fire on 28 January 1973, the Brigade strength had been reduced to 5,000 personnel and 420 aircraft in four combat aviation groups.
The 1st Aviation Brigade was redeployed to Fort Rucker, Alabama, on 24 March 1973 for retention on the Active Army Roll. There it transitioned to a training unit, eventually providing command and control for 2 battalions, each with a unique mission. The Brigade was normally staffed by about 1,800 permanent party soldiers to support more than 1,900 military students. Among its many command responsibilities, logistical support, and administrative duties, the Brigade had a primary mission to train future Aviation leaders in warfighting by using constructive simulation and classroom instruction. Equally important were the advanced individual training skills taught to entry-level soldiers in the Air Traffic Control, Aviation Operations Specialist, and UH-1 and OH-58 Maintainers Courses.
In 2006, the US Army activated a provisional Unmanned Aerial Systems Training Battalion at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to provide for the training of UAS operators and technicians. In June 2011, this unit was inactivated and reflagged as the 2nd Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, which remained assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade.
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