3/17 CAV holds inactivation ceremony
September 2, 2015
By Sgt. Uriah Walker
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - The Army's retirement of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter has led to the inactivation of Kiowa squadrons across the Army. Today, at Hunter Army Airfield, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment cased its colors for the final time bringing an end to the Kiowa Warrior's 50 plus years of Army service.
"Due to aviation restructure initiative, it was time for the Army to bring in a better aircraft and that's what you get with the AH-64D [Apache] and its capabilities, " said 3/17 CAV Command Sgt. Maj., Command Sgt. Maj. Antoine Williams.
"The great thing is [1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment] will reflag in October as 3/17 CAV and they will continue to do great things with the AH-64D," said Williams. "The Soldiers have worked tremendously hard on making sure to keep the [99 year] legacy alive for the [Combat Aviation Brigade]."
Williams further explained that the majority of the Soldiers have follow on assignments within the Brigade. Some will be reassigned throughout the Army, and several more will transition to the 15R military occupation specialty to work on the Apache.
The evolution of Cavalry Soldiers from horses to armored vehicles and helicopters has been constant. However, the goal has always remained the same - bring the fight to the enemy and keep the commander on the ground situationally aware by the most effective means possible.
"3/17 has a very storied history that dates all the way back to 1916," said 3/17 CAV Commander Lt. Col. Geoffrey Whittenberg. " Throughout those years the steed or aircraft or piece of equipment we ride has changed many times and this is just another part of that change."
The Kiowa is dear to Chief Warrant Officer 4 (Ret) Thomas Richardson who flew with Company A, 3/17 CAV in Vietnam.
"It's sort of like the loss of a child or a best friend, very emotional," said Richardson about the inactivation of "Lighthorse" Squadron. "I live here [in Savannah] and I see them flying around and I look up and it's a pleasure to see one flying. It's kind of like a part of my life has gone away, a big part."
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