3rd Battalion (Airfield Operations), 58th Aviation Regiment
3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Services), 58th Aviation Regiment
3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Control), 58th Aviation Regiment
In 2007, the 3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Services), 58th Aviation Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 3rd Battalion (Airfield Operations), 58th Aviation Regiment. The Battalion remained responsible for for tactical airfield operations throughout the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. Previously, its mission had been to, on order, transition to task force operation to provide command and control, Air Traffic Services, and Airspace Command and Control (A2C2) support to aviation operations throughout US European Command (EUCOM) and Central Command (CENTCOM) Areas of Operations.
The 3rd Battalion (Airfield Operations), 58th Aviation Regiment was first constituted on 1 September 1986 in the Regular Army as Company B, 58th Aviation Battalion. Its association with the 58th Aviation Battalion meant that the unit colors were authorized streamers for 4 campaigns during the Vietnam conflict: Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, and Counteroffensive Phase VI. In October 1986, the Comapny was transferred to US Army Europe as a major subordinate command, subordinate to the Deputy Command in Chief (DCINC), US Army Europe (USAREUR)/Seventh US Army.
Company B, 58th Aviation Battalion was redesignated on 16 July 1987 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Battalion, 58th Aviation, and activated in Germany with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated. Concurrently, the 59th Aviation Battalion (Air Traffic Control) was inactivated and reflagged as the 3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Control), 58th Aviation. At that time, the 58th Aviation Regiment consisted solely of Air Traffic Control Battalions. The 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment was responsible for air traffic control at 5 USAREUR airfields and 3 NATO airfields. The Battalion operated in 17 installations covering a distance of more than 35,000 square miles. Using tactical equipment, the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment could provide air traffic control for military operations in areas without existing airports. They also worked in established facilities during peacekeeping operations.
In 1990, the 3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Control), 58th Aviation deployed in support first of Operation Desert Shield, and then subsequently participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The unit was award campaign streamers for the Defense of Saudi Arabia and Liberation and Defense of Kuwait campaigns. The Battalion also had a significant role in Operations Provide Comfort I and II in southern Turkey and northern Iraq.
On 23 June 1993, the Battalion was reassigned to the 12th Aviation Brigade, V Corps, and its headquarters was relocated to Wiesbaden. Its designation also changed from 3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Control), 58th Aviation to 3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Services), 58th Aviation. The 3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Services), 58th Aviation Regiment, as an element of the 12th Aviation Brigade, had soldiers stationed in Wiesbaden, Hanau, Ansbach and Grafenwoehr, Germany. These soldiers provided installation air traffic services for 5 US Army and 3 NATO airfields throughout Germany. The Battalion retained the dual mission of operating installation air traffic services facilities at USAREUR's airfields and providing tactical air traffic services for aviation units in V Corps, Southern European Task Force (SETAF), and 21st Theater Army Area Command (TAACOM).
On 10 December 1995, the Battalion deployed a tactical Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) section to Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and established operations in support of NATO's Implementation Force. This element was the first US Army Aviation unit to operate in the former Yugoslavia. Company E, 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation, augmented with soldiers from the entire Battalion, operated in Hungary, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, in support of Operation Joint Endeavor. Also in 1995, the Battalion was recognized by Army Aviation Association of America with the Robert M. Leich Award for outstanding service to Army Aviation. The soldiers and civilians of the Battalion vigilantly guarded the skies over "Victory Corps." They were, "Victory's Guardians!"
In 1998, the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment designed and implemented a fiber optic video system for a radar unit originally produced in the 1950s.
During 1999, the Battalion operated in the Balkans, the Mediterranean coastal region, Africa, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf. Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment handled over 350,000 aircraft movements that included multi-national, multi-service aircraft, without a single incident or mishap during 1999. While members of the organization were deployed in support of V Corps, US Army Europe, and European Command missions, support continued in the fixed facilities in Germany. Within Germany, the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment conducted over 1,000 aircraft movements a day in FY99 without incident.
Safety was part of the unit motto (Safe, Orderly and Expeditious), and in FY99, the Battalion safely conducted more than 336,000 aircraft movements within Germany. The soldiers deployed to Albania were involved with 22,815 multinational, multi-service aircraft movements. In total, they logged over 350,000 aircraft movements without a single incident or mishap during the year. While the Battalion headquarters was located in Wiesbaden, other members of the unit were located in Heidelberg, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Giebelstadt and Hanau. This meant a lot of travel for the soldiers in the unit. During 1999, the soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment traveled over 345,000 miles with only one minor accident.
The Battalion exceeded its goal for reenlistment in FY99. Soldiers who were reenlisting for the first time totaled 140 percent. For soldiers who reenlisted at mid-career the number was even higher at 145 percent. Along with the air traffic controllers assigned to the unit, there were soldiers and civilians maintaining all the equipment the Battalion used. The yearly rate of readiness for Battalion vehicles was 95 percent. Additionally, the unit saved the Army $150,000 by repairing AN/FSC-92 communications switching systems cards in Germany, rather than sending them to the US for repair.
Every military aircraft in the European theater flew and landed based on data given to them by the Battalion. The Battalion ran airfields throughout Germany, and Operation Steel Forge gave these soldiers an opportunity to show the mobility of their airfield operations. The 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment sent its 5 companies to 3 different locations in Germany during Operation Steel Forge between 18 and 22 January 2000. Airfields were set up in Kitzingen and Schweinfurt, with the headquarters company locating at Coleman Barracks in Mannheim. Using a scenario of a deployment to the Balkans, Operation Steel Forge showed that 3-58th Aviation was prepared for any deployment.
Operation Steel Forge gave C Company and the rest of the Battalion the opportunity to set up its 60-foot air traffic control tower, radar and other equipment needed to conduct air traffic services in the field. The 60-foot antenna and air traffic control tower provided aircraft with directions, radio communication and ground control approach in any field environment. Among the many tools of this tower was a high frequency radio. In addition to setting up and providing air traffic services for the exercise, C Company trained its soldiers, certifying them on different pieces of equipment. The Traffic Tower Control System provided the capability to move in, set up a quick air traffic services tower and man helicopters in a Forward Arming and Refueling Points type situation where they would come in and refuel. It offered the aviation community a little bit more mobility as far as controlling traffic.
By 2001, the Battalion consisted of a Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Companies A, B and C, and Company E (COMMZ), 58th Aviation Regiment, and was the only forward deployed air traffic services battalion in the US Army.
A Company was located at Hanau Army Airfield. It was placed in support of the 4th Brigade (Aviation), 1st Armor Division. The Company's had conducted operations during rotations in Bosnia, in support of Task Force Hawk in Albania/Macedonia, and Operation Joint Guardian II in Kosovo. The company consisted of a fixed base facility section to include the tower and GCA, a tactical platoon which utilized the various tactical equipment to included the Tactical Terminal Control System (TTCS), and a headquarters platoon. C Company handled multiple missions at once, manning the Wiesbaden and Heidelberg Army Airfields on a daily basis. In addition to those missions, they augmented the rest of the Battalion when called upon to deploy in a V Corps/USAREUR mission.
Between 2003 and 2007, the Battalion realigned under 3 separate brigades, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and sent a detachment to Pakistan to aid in earthquake recovery. Another detachment was still in Iraq as of June 2007. As part of the reorganization and redesigantion of the 12th Aviation Brigade as the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, part of both the realignment of US forces in Europe and the transformation of the US Army to the modular force structure, the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation was similarly transformed. In June 2007, the Battalion was reorganized and redesignated as the 3rd Battalion (Airfield Operations), 58th Aviation Regiment.
As part of continuing restructuring of US forces in Europe, it was announced on 1 March 2013 that the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment would return to the United States during 2015.
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