3rd Battalion (Attack Reconnaissance), 3rd Aviation Regiment
In 2008, as part of a restructuring of the Combat Aviation Brigades of both the 10th Mountain Division and the 3rd Infantry Division, the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry was relieved from assignment to the Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and reassigned to the Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. There, the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment was inactivated and reflagged as the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment.
The 3rd Battalion (Attack Reconnaissance), 3rd Aviation Regiment traces its lineage back to the 3rd Aviation Company, 3rd Infantry Division, and was first constituted on 15 July 1963 with the mission of combat support and assault, aerial surveillance, airfield operations, and aerial transportation for the Commanding General and his staff. 3-3rd Aviation proudly displayed the Tigershark symbol, a combination of the flying tiger heritage and the sharks' teeth of the American volunteer group.
The 3rd Aviation Company was officially activated on 1 July 1957 at Fort Benning, Georgia, and it was reorganized and redesignated twice before moving to the state of Franconia, Germany in June of 1964 as the 3rd Aviation Battalion. Army demands for manpower and equipment in Vietnam contributed to the deactivation of the unit in 1967.
The 3rd Aviation Battalion was reactivated on 21 May 1972 as the 3rd Aviation Company, 3rd Infantry Division. On 16 December, 1974, it was reorganized as the 3rd Combat Aviation Battalion as a provisional unit to test a new concept of Army aviation in Europe. The mission was to conduct offensive and defensive operations against an armored and motorized threat in a mid-intensity environment as part of the combined arms team. It also provided command, control, and reconnaissance capability for the Division. The 3rd Combat Aviation Battalion was officially activated on 1 October 1977 as the first US Army Europe Divisional Aviation Battalion.
The Battalion cased its colors once again on 16 November 1984 when the 3rd Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division was activated. The Battalion was reactivated on 20 May 2004 when 1-229th Aviation was reflagged as 3-3rd Aviation (Attack Reconnaissance). The unit had roughly 330 soldiers at the time of the unit's activation. This transition was part of the transformation of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) to the US Army's new modular force structure, which resulted in the reorganization of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade.
In January 2005, 3-3rd Aviation (Attack Reconnaissance) deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. Over the course of the year, the Tigershark Battalion flew over 20,000 combat flight hours, conducting a full spectrum of missions all over the Baghdad area of operations and many VIP aerial escorts throughout the entire country of Iraq. The unit quickly adapted to the harsh desert environment and the rapidly changing enemy and battlefield, conducting missions in close coordination with the ground units and forging an uncharacteristic bond that is vary rarely seen between air and ground units. The Battalion flew missions including forward operating base reconnaissance, counter mortar, missile and rocket interdiction, cordon and search security, area and route reconnaissance, air assault security, and close combat attacks. The unit also supported the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army while playing a vital role in the security of Iraqi's first democratic elections, and the establishment of the Interim Iraqi Government, Transitional National Assembly, and the ratification of Iraqi's first democratic constitution. Finally, the Tigershark Battalion supported the election and successful establishment of the newly formed democratic Iraqi government before redeploying in January 2006.
While the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade was alerted for deployment to Iraq in 2007, the 3-3rd Aviation remained in the United States.
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