Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division
|Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division|
10th Mountain Division shoulder sleeve insignia
|Active||21 Aug 1965 - 30 December 1980
2 July 1988—Present
|Country||United States of America|
|Allegiance||United States Army|
|Branch||United States Army Aviation Branch|
|Type||Combat aviation brigade|
|Part of||10th Mountain Division|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Drum, New York|
Reactivated in 1988, the 10th Mountain Division's Combat Aviation Brigade supported the division as it undertook numerous operations and overseas contingencies in the 1990s, including Operation Restore Hope, Operation Uphold Democracy, and Task Force Eagle, as well as disaster relief following Hurricane Andrew. The brigade has since become involved in the War on Terrorism, seeing four deployments to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom and a deployment to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. The brigade is currently on its fourth deployment to Afghanistan and is serving in Regional Command - East under Combined Joint Task Force 101 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The brigade commands 1st (TF Tiger Shark), 2nd (TF Knighthawk), 3rd Battalions (TF Phoenix), 10th Aviation Regiment, and 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment (TF Six Shooters), which operate a number of aircraft including UH-60 Black Hawks, AH-64 Apaches, CH-47 Chinooks. In addition, the 277th Aviation Support Battalion (TF Mountain Eagle) provides supporting services to the combat battalions when they are deployed, making the brigade capable of operating independently of higher command headquarters, and capable of taking on additional battalions and other, smaller units when deployed, as necessary.
The brigade HHC was constituted on 1 April 1988 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, and activated at Fort Drum, New York. The brigade was activated at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, NY as part of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) on 2 July 1988. The brigade remained based at Griffiss until 1992 (August?). It appears that initially the brigade was made up of 3-17 CAV, and the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 25th Aviation Regiment (2-25 and 3-25 AVN).
The brigade has played a key role in all Division missions, including support for Hurricane Andrew relief in south Florida, in Somalia, Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, SFOR and KFOR missions in Bosnia and Kosovo and most recently Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In each instance, the Brigade has demonstrated its capability to rapidly deploy and conduct aviation missions upon arrival. The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade has 12 CH-47s, 24 AH-64s, 30 OH-58s, and 50 UH-60s to assist the 10th Mountain Division to fight and win in any environment.
In Somalia from 1993 ('Operation Restore Hope and Operation Continue Hope') the 10th Mountain Division brought an aviation task force to support them in their UNOSOM II missions. Task Force Raven, built around 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, was a task organized aviation unit with a total of 52 attack, scout, lift, and medical evacuation aircraft. They flew over 6000 missions over the streets of Mogadishu. Twelve AH-1 Cobras made up the attack helicopter force. The lessons learned by this aviation task force are particularly useful for the rest of the conventional aviation units in the U.S. Army. Fortunately, LTC R. Lee Gore, commander of Task Force Raven ordered a detailed after action review upon the unit's return." During the Battle of Mogadishu on 3–4 October 1993, UH-1V and MH-60s moved casualties from the airfield to the 46th Combat Support Hospital at the U.S. Embassy compound. The battalion returned home in December 1993-January 1994, relieved by the 4th Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, from Fort Carson. (Casper, 128)
The division formed the nucleus of the Multinational Force Haiti and Joint Task Force 190 (JTF 190) in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. More than 8,600 of the division's troops deployed during this operation. On 19 September 1994, the 1st Brigade conducted the Army’s first air assault from an aircraft carrier. This force consisted of 54 helicopters and almost 2,000 soldiers. They occupied the Port-au-Prince International Airport. This was the largest Army air operation conducted from a carrier since the Doolittle Raid in World War II.
In 2003 and into 2004, the brigade deployed for the first time to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. As the only aviation brigade in the theater, the brigade provided air support for all U.S. Army units operating in the country. The brigade's mission at that time focused on close air support, medevac missions, and other duties involving combat with Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in the country. The brigade returned to Fort Drum in 2004.
In winter 2006 the brigade was deployed again to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom as the only aviation brigade in the theater, stationed at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Named "Task Force Falcon," the brigade's mission was to conduct aviation operations to destroy insurgents and anti-coalition militia in an effort to help build the Afghan National Security Force's capability and allow the Afghan government to increase its capabilities. In addition, the Task Force provided logistical and aviation support for ISAF forces throughout the country, conducted tactical maneuvers and performed security and attack operations when needed.
Prior to the modular force structure reorganization, the 10th Aviation Brigade consisted of a Headquarters Company, 10th Aviation Brigade; 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment (United States) (formerly 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment), 2nd Battalion (Assault), 10th Aviation Regiment (formerly 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment); 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation (General Support), and C Company (Aviation Intermediate Maintenance), 10th Aviation Regiment.
After the transformation, the reorganized brigade retained the 3–17th Cavalry and 1- and 2–10th Aviation. 3–10th Aviation and C-10th Aviation were inactivated. Also reactivated as part of the reorganized unit were 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment and the 277th Aviation Support Battalion. During the transition elements of the 10th Aviation continued to be deployed as part of Task Forces part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, with units returning to Fort Drum for reorganization after their tours were complete. Elements of the 10th Aviation Brigade were deployed to Iraq in 2008 as part of continued operations in that country.
The brigade has been awarded two Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for Somalia, and service in 'Afghanistan 2003–2004'. As of 6 February 2009, the Army's official lineage and honors website says that Campaign Participation Credit for the war on terrorism has 'yet to be determined.'
- "10th Mountain Division Organization". Fort Drum Public Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
- "Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division LIneage and Honors Information as of 6 FEbruary 2009:". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Lawrence E. Casper, 'Falcon Brigade: Command and Combat in Somalia and Haiti,' 48-49.
- "Fort Drum Homepage: History of the 10th Mountain Division". Fort Drum Public Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- "GlobalSecurity.org: 10th Mountain Division". GlobalSecurity. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Sample, Doug (18 February 2016). "10th Combat Aviation Brigade Assumes OEF Aviation Mission". Defenselink.mil. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
- "GlobalSecurity.org: 10th Combat Aviation Brigade". GlobalSecurity. Retrieved 18 July 2009.