2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
The mission of the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is to conduct theater aviation operations in support of Eighth United States Army. On order the Brigade provides combat aviation support to the GCC (Ground Component Command) as an element of the CAF (Combined Aviation Force).
The 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade traces its lineage back to the activation of the Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. As part of the transformations throughout the US Army after the initiation of the Army of Excellence (AOE) concept in 1983, division aviation elements were expanded into brigades. Subsequently, the 2nd Aviation Battalion was reorganized to become the core element of the Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. This unit consisted of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment; and the 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment.
The Aviation Brigade supplemented Eighth US Army's 2 other organic aviation elements, the 6th Cavalry Brigade and the 17th Aviation Brigade. By 1999, there were 3 Apache equipped Battalions in the Republic of Korea. 2 of these were part of the 6th Cavalry Brigade, 1-6th Cavalry (located at Camp Eagle) and 3-6th Cavalry (statinoed at Camp Humphreys). The last of these units was 1-2nd Aviation at Camp Page, part of the 2nd Infantry Division's Aviation Brigade.
Historically, brigade command was been the highest echelon of command in the US Army where the majority of basic branch officers command primarily functionally-pure, branch-specific formations and/or organizations. Promotable Aviation lieutenant colonels and colonels in the operations career field had the opportunity to compete in at least one of these centralized selection list command boards.
Selection for brigade command was a distinct accomplishment. Historically, slightly more than 20 percent of Aviation colonels were selected to command at the brigade level. These colonels had been selected in accordance with the specific requirements as outlined in the DA Selection Board Memorandum of Instruction (MOI). These requirements were traditionally contained within 5 categories, 4 of which were functional or branch specific. A colonel had to possess a branch and an area of concentration compatible with the category requirements in order to compete in that category.
Aviation brigades located at the corps level or below historically consisted of 2 to 4 Aviation battalions. As the Army went through the transformation to the modular force, the existing aviation brigades would become Aviation Units of Action (UA). Their configuration would reflect a composite structure that was easily adaptive, expeditionary, able to deploy on short notice, and capable of conducting the entire spectrum of Aviation operations as part of a joint task force. The Army planned on transitioning from 17 tactical aviation brigades in 2004, to 11 aviation UAs by 2008.
The Eighth United States Army Multi-Functional Aviation Brigade (MFAB) was officially formed on 16 June 2005 as the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division. The 6th Cavalry Brigade was concurrently inactivated and reflagged as the 2nd Aviation Brigade, while the 17th Aviation Brigade was simply inactivated, with some of its personnel and units being reflagged as units in the newly reorganized brigade. 2-52nd Aviation and 3-6th Cavalry were initially assigned to the new unit, before both units were reflagged in 2006. 2-52nd Aviation was reflagged as 3rd Battalion, 2nd Aviation, while 3-6th Cavalry was reflagged as 4th Battalion, 2nd Aviation. 4-7th Cavalry was reorganized and reassigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. The reorganization was part of both the transformation of the 2nd Infantry Division to the US Army's new modular force structure and the draw down of US Forces in Korea.
The newly consolidated aviation unit included Apache Longbow attack helicopters, UH-60 Blackhawk utility helicopters, CH-47 Chinook medium lift helicopters and manages the Eighth US Army's C-12 Huron (fixed wing aircraft) detachment. The reorganized brigade had the mission of direct support for all of the Eighth US Army, in addition to its role as the 2nd Infantry Division's aviation brigade. This was to make up for the inactivate of the 6th Cavalry Brigade and the 17th Aviation Brigade. The unit gained the 164th Aviation Group (Air Traffic Services) from the inactivated 17th Aviation Brigade and the 602nd Aviation Support Battalion from the inactivation of the 2nd Infantry Division's Support Command (DISCOM), also part of the modular transformation.
In 2007, the 164th Aviation Group was inactivated and reflagged as the 4th Battalion (Airfield Operations), 58th Aviation Regiment, which was assigned to Eighth US Army.
In September 2013, Army officials announced the beginning of rotational deployments of OH-58 equipped attack reconnaissance squadrons and battalions in support of the US defense commitment to South Korea as specified by the mutual defense treaty and presidential agreements. The first unit to deploy, 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry, would operate in support of Eighth US Army, the 2nd Infantry Division, and the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade. The unit, assigned to the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, would deploy with approximately 380 personnel and 30 OH-58D helicopters. Plans called for the squadron to leave the helicopters behind after the deployment was completed for use by the follow-on rotational unit, from US Army Alaska.
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