42nd Combat Aviation Brigade

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Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of 42d Infantry Division, higher headquarters of the Combat Aviation Brigade

The Combat Aviation Brigade, 42d Infantry Division is a subordinate command of the 42d Infantry Division. Once contained solely within New York, force reductions and reorganizations have resulted in units from several different states making up the brigade.

Activation and history[edit]

Gallaudet Tractor biplane rented by Aviation Detachment, 1st Battalion, Signal Corps, New York National Guard, 1915.

The New York National Guard played an active role in Army aviation from the early 1900s through the end of World War II.[1][2] The Combat Aviation Brigade, 42d Infantry Division traces its history from 1947, when the post-World War II reorganization of the United States military created the United States Air Force as an entity separate from the Army. This reorganization also led to the creation of two divisions within the National Guard, the Army National Guard, and the Air National Guard.[3]

In 1947 the New York Army National Guard fielded a fixed wing aviation detachment of L-19 "Bird Dogs" assigned to Miller Field on Staten Island.[4] This detachment and aircraft from the II Corps and 101st Armored Cavalry Regiment were organized as the 42d Aviation Company at Huntington Station, Long Island in 1959.[5]

In 1963, the 42d Division's aviation units were reorganized as the 42d Aviation Battalion, based at Freeport, Long Island. The battalion was equipped with O-1A Bird Dog and U-6 Beaver fixed wing aircraft.[6]

The 42d Aviation Battalion expanded as the United States Army began fielding helicopters, including the creation of "lettered" subordinate companies (Company A, 42d Aviation Battalion, and so on) and companies from other states. In 1968 the battalion received OH-13s and OH-23s. In 1971, Company A (Niagara Falls) and Company B (Massachusetts) received UH-1 helicopters. These companies consisted mainly of "lift" capacity and fielded the Delta and Hotel model UH-1, but each company had "Attack" platoons which flew "Charlie" and "Mike" model gunships.[7]

By 1985 the 42d Aviation Battalion was fielding the AH-1 Cobras and OH-6 Cayuse, as well as the UH-1 Iroquois.[8]

In October, 1986 another reorganization resulted in the 42d Aviation Battalion being re-designated as the Aviation Brigade, 42d Infantry Division. This reorganization included the stand-up of 1st Battalion, 142d Aviation Regiment (Attack) headquartered in Latham (1989), and 2d Battalion, 142d Aviation Regiment (Assault) in Niagara Falls (1991).[9]

In 1995 the Army’s "Aviation Restructuring Initiative" again reorganized the Aviation Brigade. 2-142d Aviation was inactivated, moved to Rochester as the redesignated as 1-142d, and received the AH-1 ‘F’ model helicopter. 1-142d in Latham was re-flagged as the 3d Battalion, 142d Aviation Regiment (Assault), and received the UH-60 ‘Blackhawk’ helicopter.[10]

Operation Iraqi Freedom[edit]

OH-58D from the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment returns to Forward Operating Base Mackenzie, Iraq, 2005.

The Aviation Brigade headquarters deployed to Iraq as part of the 42d Division (Task Force Liberty) in May, 2004 and returned in November, 2005.[11] Units subordinate to the Aviation Brigade in Iraq included:

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Aviation Brigade, 42d Infantry Division
  • 642d Aviation Support Battalion
  • 1st Battalion, 105th Aviation Regiment (General Support), NJ ARNG
  • 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment (General Support), CA ARNG
  • 8th Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment (Attack), USAR
  • 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.[12]

Post Iraqi Freedom[edit]

Congressman Steve Israel greets Brian S. Caskey (3-142 Aviation) during Israel's 2008 visit to Iraq.

The 2005 modular reorganization of Army combat divisions included the redesignation from "Aviation Brigade" to "Combat Aviation Brigade" (CAB). In 2006, the headquarters of the Combat Aviation Brigade, 42d Infantry Division was relocated to Latham, New York.[13]

As part of planned force reductions following military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 42nd Infantry Division has reconfigured and redistributed subordinate units. As of 2013 the Combat Aviation Brigade has units in eleven states. Units based in New York include: Dunkirk; Jamestown; Olean; Rochester; Latham; Brooklyn; Patchogue; and Ronkonkoma.[14]

New York Army National Guard Aviation units and individual volunteers have also continued to serve overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. In 2013, the Combat Aviation Brigade deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Note: While commonly referred to as the 42d Combat Aviation Brigade, the U.S. Army Center of Military History confirms that its correct designation is Combat Aviation Brigade, 42d Infantry Division.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Deseret News, Militia Officers May Learn to Fly, October 11, 1915
  2. ^ Deseret News, New York First State to Organize Militia Aviation, August 22, 1921
  3. ^ Arnold L. Punaro, editor, Commission on the National Guard and Reserves: Transforming the National Guard and Reserves, 2008, page E-5
  4. ^ New York Times, Aviation Unit to Move; Police Will Shift From Staten Island to Floyd Bennett, January 17, 1947
  5. ^ Steven Petibone, 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, New York’s Aviation History from Bird Dogs to Blackhawks, October 8, 2009
  6. ^ Steven Petibone, New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, office of Public Affairs, Media Advisory, New Commander For Army National Guard Assault Helicopter Battalion, December 5, 2009
  7. ^ Richard Goldenberg, New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade History, 2011
  8. ^ Schenectady Gazette, Cobra Power, September 26, 1984
  9. ^ Richard Goldenberg, New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade History, 2011
  10. ^ New York Division of Mililary and Naval Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, 3-142nd Assault Helicopter Battalion History, 2011
  11. ^ Shomial Ahmad, Long Island Newsday, Celebrating their return home, The 42nd Aviation Brigade Members Recognized Their Return Home From Iraq With a Ceremony, Cookout, July 9, 2006
  12. ^ Richard Goldenberg, New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade History, 2011
  13. ^ New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Media Advisory, New Aviation Leadership Transfer of Command Between State Aviation Office and 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, September 11, 2008
  14. ^ Richard Goldenberg, New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade History, 2011

External resources[edit]