3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment
On 15 June 2006, the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry was inactivated and its personnel reflagged as the 4th Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, which remained assigned to the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
The mission of the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry was to transitions to war, conduct security operations along the flanks of Combined Forces Command (CFC) in the Republic of Korea (ROK), and on order, attack to disrupt, attrit, or destroy North Korean Army (NKA) forces/targets in support of CFC campaign.
In the Korean theater, by 1999 the 3 Apache battalions assigned to elements of the Eighth United States Army were dedicated to missions critical to the OPLAN: support of 2nd Infantry Division operations (to be conducted by 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation), and anti-special operations forces (anti-SOF) and deep attack operations (1st and 3rd Battalions, 6th Cavalry). Although the DPRK Scud Belt was within range of Combined Forces Command (CFC) attack helicopters, it was highly unlikely that an attack helicopter battalion would be dedicated solely to Theater Missile Defense operations due to prioritization.
The 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment was first constituted on 4 May 1861 as Company C, 3rd Cavalry. On 3 August 1861, it was redesignated as Company C, 6th Cavalry. The Squadron participated with its parent regiment in the Civil War as part of the Army of the Potomac. It then went on to participate with the 6th Cavalry in the Indian Wars, the War with Spain, the China Relief Expedition, the Philippine Insurrection, the Mexican Expedition, World War I, and World War II. During World II the unit served as part of Patton's Third United States Army, where the 6th Cavalry became affectionately known as Patton's "Household Cavalry."
On 1 January 1944 the 6th Cavalry Regiment was broken up, with 1st and 2nd Squadrons being reorganized and redesignated as the 6th and 28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons, Mechanized, respectively. The unit traces its history back to first Troop F, 28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron and later Troop E, 28th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. On 9 July 1944, the unit marched as part of the Regiment when it landed in France. During the push through Germany, the reorganized 6th Cavalry Group, Mechanized was utilized as a line division and earned 5 battle streamers and the Presidential Unit Citation at the Harlange Pocket.
In 20 December 1948, the 6th Cavalry's units were reorganized back into the 6th Armored Cavalry. The unit rejoined the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment as Company C, 6th Armored Cavalry. The unit moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky on 24 May 1960, where it stayed until its deactivation on 24 October 1963. The unit was then reactivated at Fort Meade, Maryland on 23 March 1967 and remained active until 21 June 1973 when it was deactivated at Fort Bliss, Texas. It was subsequently reactivated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry, with its organic elements subsequently activated.
Inactivated in May 1986, on 16 July 1986, the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry came back into being with the reflagging of the 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 4 days after it had become the first unit to receive the AH-64A Apache helicopter. The 7-17th Cavalry had returned to Foot Hood, Texas after a distinguished tour in Vietnam to become the United States Army's only Attack Helicopter Squadron, with more AH-1 Cobras than any other unit. This had leant itself to the name "Heavy Cav," which was subsequently adopted by 3-6th Cavalry.
Due to the inactivation of the 4th and the 1st Squadrons, the 3rd Squadron received the Regimental colors on 15 December 1996. Shortly after, the Squadron received orders to deploy to the Republic of Korea. On 11 February 1996, 3-6th Cavalry completed its transition to the Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI) MTOE with the delivery of the last 4 AH-64As from the McDonnell-Douglas factory in Mesa, Arizona. The Squadron, consisting of 24 Apaches, stood ready to fight at Camp Humphreys, Korea. Its mission was to provide a screening force on the peninsula's Western coast and to serve as an Eight United States Army asset anytime and anywhere on the peninsula.
After 6 years of duty at Camp Humphreys, the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment folded its colors to begin the transition from Korea to Fort Hood, Texas. The unit's personnel and remaining 21 AH-64A Apache helicopters left Korea in August 2002 to attend the Unit Fielding and Training Program at Fort Hood, Texas. While there, the Apache's were upgraded from the A model to the D (Longbow) model and the unit's personnel went through 8 months of advanced training. In traditional cavalry style, the colors were carried by horseback to an awaiting AH-64D Longbow helicopter, signifying the transition the cavalry had taken. The next move forward was equipping the unit with the new Longbow helicopter.
This transition was part of the ongoing Army transformation that was replacing all AH-64A model Apache helicopters with the D model. In order to accomplish this mission, all the Apaches from 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry were sent back to the United States in early May 2002. The unit colors were moved to Fort Hood, Texas, where the unit stood up with the same name, but as a Longbow squadron, in August 2002.
While most of the pilots would head for Fort Hood for transition training, some of the squadron soldiers would transfer to other units in Korea where they would complete their tour. Others would leave Korea and head to their next assignment. A small group of about 20 soldiers would stay and take care of equipment the squadron would have to leave behind as it headed for Texas.
Once transition training for the new helicopter was complete in the summer of 2003, the unit would return to Camp Humphreys with its new aircraft to continue their mission of providing a screening force on the peninsula's western coast. The unit and their Apaches returned to Korea at the end of May 2003.
The Eighth United States Army's Multi-Functional Aviation Brigade (MFAB) was officially formed as the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade on 16 June 2005, assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division. 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 Army C-12 Huron (fixed wing aircraft) detachment. As part of the activation, the 6th Cavalry Brigade was reflagged as the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade. 3-6th Cavalry was initially assigned directly to the new Brigade, having been previously assigned to the 6th Cavalry Brigade.
The valleys of Rodriguez Range echoed with the thunderous roar of Apache helicopters, powerful rockets and machine guns. Soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment conducted helicopter crew qualifications 31 October 2005. This training exercise was to evaluate tables 7 and 8. Four tables, 2 on each day and night, were conducted by every aircrew. They fired at stationary and moving targets. It was primarily focused on the 3 engagements: diving fire, running fire and hovering fire. The crews spent a lot of time on each engagement. However, it was challenging both mentally and physically. To actually shoot, the crews needed to go through many procedures. The Soldiers had a written test about the helicopter. They also were trained in the Longbow Cockpit Trainer to experience the actual shooting.
On 15 June 2006, the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry was inactivated and its personnel reflagged as the 4th Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, who remained assigned to the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
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