135th Aviation Regiment (United States)

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135th Aviation Regiment
2-135 Blackjacks GSAB insignia.jpg
2d Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment Insignia
Active 1974 – present
Country United States
Branch Army National Guard
Type Aviation regiment
Size 300
Part of Colorado Army National Guard
Garrison/HQ Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado
Nickname Blackjacks
Motto "Mission First"
Colors Black and gold
Engagements Iraqi War
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Skull with crossed swords

The 135th Aviation Regiment is a Aviation Branch regiment of the United States Army, first formed in 1987.

The regiment was constituted 1 October 1987. Predecessor units were active as early as the 1970s. The regiment was originally formed in the Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, and Missouri Army National Guard as the 135th Aviation, a parent regiment under the United States Army Regimental System.[1] It was concurrently organized from new and existing units to consist of the 1st and 2d Battalions and Companies D, E, and F, elements of the 35th Infantry Division, and Company G.

It was reorganized 1 December 1987 to consist of the 1st and 2d Battalions and Companies D, E, and F, elements of the 35th Infantry Division, the 3d Battalion, and Company G.

Reorganized 1 September 1996 in the Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, and Missouri Army National Guard to consist of the 1st and 2d Battalions and Company F, elements of the 35th Infantry Division, the 3d Battalion, and Company G.

Reorganized 1 September 1998 to consist of the 1st and 2d Battalions and Company F, elements of the 35th Infantry Division, and the 3d Battalion.

2d Battalion[edit]

The 2d Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment first became a part of the Colorado Army National Guard in the mid-1970s. The original unit, a single company, was made a part of the 40th Infantry Division's aviation brigade, predominantly located in California. The battalion flies the UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and the OH-58 Kiowa. They are based out of Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, as part of the Colorado Army National Guard Aviation Command.

The 2-135th deployed to Iraq in September 2006 through August 2007 as part of Task Force Mustang. In 2006 the 2d Battalion was deployed for Iraq War service. The 2-135th deployed on 19 March 2006 for five months of Theater Immersion Training at Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. They were certified "Fit to Fight" by Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, commanding general, First United States Army, on 30 July 2006. The unit shipped to Kuwait in August 2006, completed a couple of weeks of "boots on the ground" training at Camp Buehring, and entered Iraq in the first half of September as one of five battalions of Task Force Mustang. The battalion principally flew out of Balad Air Base (aka Camp Anaconda) and is flew missions all over Iraq. The total deployment for the 2-135th was expected to last approximately 18 months.

Iraq expedition patch as part of 36th Combat Aviation Brigade

The battalion became fully engaged in the OIF mission on 17 Sep 2006, crosstraining with the previous unit, and had an official transfer of responsibility from the 7–101st on 24 Sep 2006. Soldiers wore the shoulder sleeve patch of the 36th Infantry Division while in Iraq.

The Iraq formation of the 2-135th (as a unit of Task Force Mustang) consisted of approximately 550 soldiers and was approximately 60% made up of Colorado Army National Guard personnel. It also included Army aviation Guard personnel from three additional primary states, Minnesota, Nebraska, Utah with smaller contingents from Arkansas, Wyoming, Missouri and Florida.

The Iraq mission involved operations over a large expanse of the country of Iraq. The unit distinguished itself as one of the premier air assault units in the US Army, conducting 111 major, multi-night air assault operations—inserting over 15,500 troops into enemy landing zones across the Iraq theater in the span of only a year. "The Blackjacks" earned the Army Aviation Association of America's top National Guard aviation unit in 2007 for this.

2006–07 Iraq units[edit]

  • HHC – "Headhunters" – Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • Company A – "Rumrunner" – Blackhawks
  • Company B – "Bootlegger" – Chinooks (Mile High Hookers)
  • Company C – "Cutter" – Blackhawk MedEvac, including attached units
    • Co C 1–111th – "Painkillers" – Blackhawks
    • Det 1, Co C, 1–111th – "Razorback Medevac"
  • Company D – "Dagger" – Aviation Maintenance
  • Company E – "Marauder" – Ground Maintenance, Aviation/Ground Fueling, Food Services

Company A of 2-135th from the Colorado ARNG was deployed to Iraq for one year, from the fall of 2005 to October 2006. This company is the normally organic Company A located with the battalion in Colorado. This company was selected to deploy with the 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment as the first Guard aviation unit to deploy from Colorado. They also informally served as a year-long advanced party for the battalion until they took over the mission of 7-101st in September 2006.

2005–06 Iraq units[edit]

  • Company A – "Wolfman/Wolfpack" – Blackhawks

Company A, 2-135th during the Iraq deployment was (attached). Company A of the 2-211th from the Utah ARNG (home base West Jordan, Utah) serving, in Iraq as part of the beefed up 2-135th. It replaced Colorado's Company A after cross-training and handoff in September 2006.

Companies B, C, D, E and HHC of the 2-135th of the Colorado Army National Guard were all deployed to Iraq.

Company B, 2-135th (Colorado) was augmented by Company B of the 2d Battalion (General Support), 211th Aviation Regiment, Minnesota ARNG from Holman Field, St Paul, Minnesota.

Company C, 2-135th (Nebraska) was augmented by a detail from the Colorado ARNG.

All six companies were augmented for the Iraq deployment by additional ARNG personnel from other states as well as a few Individual Ready Reserve soldiers from across the United States. The battalion had approximately 550 personnel in Iraq fully augmented, whereas the more normal staffing in the Colorado guard is 300. The total distribution of personnel at the brigade level is available on the CAB, 36th Inf Div state personnel contributions page.

Company C, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment of the Florida National Guard, and Detachment 1, Company C, 1st Battalion, 111th of the Arkansas National Guard were commanded by LTC Michael J. Rung, and were attached the 2d Battalion, 135th Aviation for additional medevac support during the current OIF 06-07 rotation.

2010-11 Afghanistan units[edit]

Company F, 2-135th (California and Louisiana) deployed to RC West in direct support of MEDEVAC missions for all coalition forces. While deployed and supporting MEDEVAC missions, CO F, 2-135th received the Valorous Unit Award (VUA) for "extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy."

Current units[edit]

The current units of the 2–135th are:[citation needed]

  • HHC – "Headhunters" – Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • Company A – "Wolfpack" – Blackhawks
  • Company B – "Bootlegger" – Chinooks
  • Company C – "Cutter" – Blackhawk MedEvac
  • Company D – "Dagger" – Aviation Maintenance
  • Company E – "Marauder" – Ground Maintenance, Aviation/Ground Fueling, Food Services
  • Company F - "Bayou Dustoff" - Blackhawk MedEvac
  • Company G - "Ventilator" Blackhawk MedEvac
  • Aviation Intermediate Maintenance (AVIM) - "Helmsmen"

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ United States Army via A Brief History of Kentucky ARNG Rotary Wing Aviation