Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division
Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division
The mission of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade is to, on order, deploy worldwide to find, fix and destroy enemy forces using aerial fire and maneuver to concentrate and sustain combat power.
The 82d Aviation Brigade employed 132 AH-1 Cobra, OH-58 Scout, AH-64 Apache, and UH-60 Blackhawk aircraft, approximately 325 ground vehicles, and 1,300 troopers. It represents the eyes and ears of the Division, much of the Division's tactical mobility, and a large measure of the Division's firepower. In 1993 the last of the AH-1s were phased out, leaving the Brigade with only the other 3 aircraft types in inventory.
The 82nd Aviation Brigade owes its lineage and heritage to 3 organizations: the 82nd Combat Aviation Battalion, the lst Squadron (Air), 17th Cavalry Regiment, and the 269th Aviation Battalion. The regimental colors of both the 17th Cavalry Regiment and 82nd Combat Aviation Battalion were still proudly represented in the Brigade.
The 17th Cavalry Regiment was constituted on 1 July 1916, making the 1st Squadron (Air), 17th Cavalry Regiment the oldest unit in the Brigade. It was the first Division unit to receive aircraft when the Reconnaissance Company was redesignated A Troop, 17th Cavalry in 1957. In May 1967, the lst Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment was activated. Troop B, 17th Cavalry saw action in the Dominican Republic when it deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division in 1965, serving as the Division's security element. Troop B, 17th Cavalry also deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in 1968 in support of the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade for 22 months.
In January 1973 the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry was reorganized into a configuration more closely resembling its current structure. A Troop, 1-17th Cavalry returned from Vietnam and became D Troop, 17th Cavalry. C Troop, 17th Cavalry was converted to an Air Cavalry Troop, and the Squadron was officially designated the lst Squadron (Air), 17th Cavalry Regiment. On 27 October 1983, elements of the Squadron deployed to the island of Grenada, continuing operations well into 1984. Shortly after the 82nd Aviation Brigade was activated, the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry joined the Brigade and at the time assumed responsibilities for the Division's Long Range Surveillance Detachment.
The 82nd Combat Aviation Battalion dates from 1957, when the 82nd Aviation Company was activated. The Company was expanded and redesignated the 82nd Aviation Battalion and, minus A Company, deployed to the Dominican Republic in April 1965. In that same month A Company deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in support of the 173rd Airborne Brigade earning the Presidential Unit Citation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. The Battalion was again expanded in July 1979 when the 119th and 129th Assault Helicopter Companies from the 269th Aviation Battalion were redesignated as A and B Companies of the newly designated 82nd Combat Aviation Battalion. At the same time, F Company, 782nd Maintenance Battalion was redesignated as F Company, 82nd Combat Aviation Battalion. Then the largest aviation battalion in the Army, the 82nd Combat Aviation Battalion also included C Company (General Support) and D Company (Attack). In October 1983, the Battalion deployed to Grenada for Operation Urgent Fury.
The 82nd Aviation Brigade was officially activated on 15 January 1987, consolidating all of the 82nd Airborne Division's aviation assets under the Brigade colors. The organization of the Brigade was once again modified to meet the needs of the Division. A Company and B Company became the 135th and 183rd Assault Helicopter Companies respectively. C Company (General Support) became part of the HHC Command and Control element. The Brigade HHC was constituted from the old Battalion HHC. D Company (Attack) formed the nucleus of the 20th Attack Helicopter Battalion (Provisional) and was later redesignated 1st Battalion (Attack), 82nd Aviation Regiment. F Company (Aviation Intermediate Maintenance) was expanded to become the 33rd Aviation Maintenance Company (AMC) and, soon afterward, D Company (AVIM), 82nd Aviation Regiment. In May 1987, a provisional second battalion was created, bringing the 135th and 183rd Assault Helicopter Companies into the new organization as A Company and B Company, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment. C Company, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment was formed from the general support assets at the Brigade HHC. On 14 September 1989, the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment was formally activated.
In November 1989, the 82nd Aviation Brigade deployed to Panama for Operation Just Cause.
In August 1990, the Aviation Brigade formed a portion of the initial deployment force from the 82d Airborne Division deployed to Saudi Arabia as the early arriving US Forces for Operation Desert Shield, flying border patrol and related missions immediately upon arrival. During February and March of 1991, the Brigade launched deep attacks into Iraq and participated with other Division elements in the liberation of Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm.
In November 1994, the 82nd Aviation Brigade deployed to Haiti for operation Uphold Democracy. In April 1997, B Company, 2nd Battalion (Assault), 82nd Aviation Regiment deployed to Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Guard.
After returning from Southwest Asia and Bosnia, the 82nd Aviation Brigade has participated in almost every EDRE, JRTX, CPX, EXEVAL, JRTC and NTC rotations involving the 82nd Airborne Division.
Between 2003 and 2005, the 82nd Aviation Brigade was conducting operations in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In January 2006, the 82nd Airborne began transformation to the US Army's new modular force structure. This shift included the reorganization and redesignation of the 82nd Airborne Brigade to a modular Combat Aviation Brigade. The reorganized 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade retained 1st and 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, as well as 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment. D/82nd Aviation was inactivated and was reflagged as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company for the activated 122nd Aviation Support Battalion. A General Support Aviation Battalion, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, was also activated.
Elements of the reorganized and redesignated 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in late 2006 before returning to Fort Bragg.
In 2007 elemenets of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
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