Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division
4th Brigade (Aviation), 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized)
The mission of the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division is to on order deploy to an Area of Operation and conducts aviation operations in support of the designated Headquarters.
The Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) traces its roots to the 4th Brigade (Aviation), 1st Armored Division. This unit was activated on 17 April 1986 using elements of the 501st Aviation Battalion as its core. Colonel James W. Lloyd, the first Brigade Commander accepted the unit colors from Major General Dave R. Palmer, Commanding General, 1st Armored Division.
When formed, the Brigade consisted of the 10th and 501st Helicopter Battalions, the 220th Assault Helicopter Company, the 244th Command Aviation Company and the 61st Aviation Maintenance Company. Brigade aircraft included 22 AH-1 Cobras, 38 OH-58s and 30 UH-1s.
On 16 November 1987 the 501st and 10th Attack Helicopter Battalions were redesignated as the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 1st Aviation Regiment. A Company, 501st became G and H Companies under the 1st Armored Division and were redesignated again under the 3rd Infantry Division as 7th Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment. The 61st Aviation Maintenance Company was designated I Company, 1st Aviation Regiment.
In May 1988, the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry completed the conversion from a pure ground squadron to an air/ground squadron, and moved from Schwabach to Katterbach. In late 1998, the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry turned in its M60A3s and received 40 M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles (CFV).
In July 1989, 2nd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment was inactivated and reorganized as an AH-64 Apache Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas. The "Strike Eagles" returned to Ansbach Army Heliport on 24 May 1990, becoming the first divisional AH-64 Attack Helicopter Battalion stationed in Germany.
In November 1990, I Company, 1st Aviation was redesignated as the 9th Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment. "Eagle Support" was designed to provide dedicated support to the Aviation Brigade. The unit later became 603rd ASB under 3rd Infantry Division.
In December 1990, Colonel Daniel J. Petrosky led the Brigade to Southwest Asia with the 1st Armored Division and conducted combat operations. For its accomplishments in Operation Desert Storm, the Brigade was selected as AAAA unit of the year in 1991.
Shortly after the unit returned and in conjunction with the reorganization of USAREUR, the "Iron Eagle" Brigade joined the 3rd Infantry Division. The 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry was inactivated and turned in its equipment. Its colors were transferred to the Divisional Cavalry Squadron of the 1st Armored Division.
4th Brigade (Aviation), was deactivated in January 1996 at Fort Riley, Kansas, and was reactivated as 4th Brigade (Aviation), 1st Infantry Division, in Katterbach, Germany on 15 February 1996, becoming an integral part of the Big Red One. Previously, on return to Germany, the 4th Brigade (Aviation), 1st Armored Division had been habitually attached to the 1st Infantry Division to provide Aviation support.
4th Brigade supported numerous contingency operations throughout Europe and southwest Asia. In 1997, 4th Brigade (Aviation) deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina to provide aviation support for Operation Joint Forge. In 1999 4th Brigade (Aviation) deployed to Kosovo as a part of the Multi-National Brigade East to provide aviation support to Operation Joint Endeavor. 4th Brigade (Aviation) continued operations in Kosovo through July 2003.
In early 2003, 4th Brigade (Aviation) prepared for combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Elements of the Brigade deployed to Turkey to provide general aviation support to AFOR Turkey and the 1st Infantry Division.
4th Brigade (Aviation) completed a year long deployment to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Conducting operations from forward operating base Spiecher, the Brigade provided attack, assault, and general aviation support throughout central Iraq. During the deployment, the Brigade flew over 20,000 combat flight hours providing aviation combat and combat support to the 1st Infantry Division.
Upon redeployment, the 4th Brigade welcomed the 6-6th Cavalry "Six Shooters" to the Brigade as part of Brigade's aviation transformation and on 13 June 2005, inactivated the 1-1st Aviation Gunfighters, who departed for the Longbow Unit Fires Training Program (UFTP).
As part of the larger Army transformation and realignment, the Brigade was selected to return to the United States with 1st Infantry Division in the summer of 2006. On 7 July, 2006, the Brigade cased colors and was inactivated in Germany. On 1 August, 2006, the Brigade was reactivated as Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, concurrent with the return and reassignment of 1st Infantry Division to Fort Riley, Kansas.
In August 2006 General Richard A. Cody, then outgoing Chief of Staff of the Army, ordered the creation of a special aviation task force, called Task Force ODIN (Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize). Task Force ODIN was attached to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in February 2007. After operating in secret for several months the Task Force was officially activated in July 2007. When the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade returned from its deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007, the Task Force was reattached to 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
In late 2007 the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division began deploying to Kuwait to assemble prior to deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. By January 2008 the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade had begun operations out of Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. Task Force ODIN shared the ramp also conducting operations, attached to the 1st Infantry Division's CAB.
1st Combat Aviation Brigade began returning home to Fort Riley, Kansas in October 2008.
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