Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Jacques Vincent - Translation: Marc Arys
© sbap 2019
    
Washington: The Department of the Army announced in October 2018 the winter rotation to Europe and Afghanistan for three 1st Infantry Division units stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas.
The 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), will replace 4th Infantry Division CAB, stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, as part of a regular rotation of forces to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
"The 1st CAB is excited to deploy to Europe to support our allies and regional partners. The CAB has been busy building readiness at Fort Riley, Kansas, and we stand ready to take on any mission that is required. We are thankful for the support of our families and know the people of the Flint Hills will be there for our loved ones until we return. Duty First! Above The First!" said Col. Ronald C. Black, commander, 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade.
Operation Atlantic Resolve is ongoing efforts since 2014 in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine, mainly the War in Donbass. It is funded under the European Reassurance Initiative. All U.S. efforts in support of NATO fall under the umbrella of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The U.S. took several immediate steps to demonstrate solidarity with NATO, such as augmenting the air, ground and naval presence in the region, and enhancing previously scheduled exercises. The U.S. is taking measures to enhance NATO military plans and defense capabilities and remains committed to maintaining a persistent presence in Central Europe and Eastern Europe.

Overview:
The fourth iteration of a combat aviation brigade rotation in support of Atlantic Resolve.
Arriving February 2019 from Fort Riley, Kansas.
Bringing approximately 1,900 personnel, 50 UH-60 and HH-60 Black Hawks, 10 CH-47 Chinooks, 20 AH-64 Apaches and more than 1,500 pieces of equipment.
Replaces 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colorado

Deployment:
Aircraft, vehicles and equipment will arrive by sea to Zeebrugge, Belgium, and then move by rail, barge, commercial line-haul, military convoy and air to Germany, Latvia, Poland and Romania.

Locations:
By February 2019 units will be distributed across the region:
- Germany - Will house the majority of the helicopters and personnel in Illesheim and Vilseck.
Units include: brigade headquarters; 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment; 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment; 601st Aviation Support Battalion; two troops of Apache helicopters; company of command and control helicopters; company of Chinook helicopters; platoon of Blackhawk helicopters; Forward Support Medical Platoon; and two platoons of Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles
- Latvia - Approximately 13 helicopters and 60 Soldiers in Lielvărde.
Units include: 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment; a company of Blackhawks; and a Forward Support Medical Platoon.
- Poland - Approximately 17 helicopters and 150 Soldiers in Powidz.
Units include: 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment consisting of one troop of Apache helicopters and a Forward Support Medical Platoon.
- Romania - Approximately 14 helicopters and 100 Soldiers at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base.
Units include: 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment; a company of Blackhawks; and a Forward Support Medical Platoon.

See also the SBAP report from 2017 about the 1st Air CAV brigade rotation: http://www.sbap.be/events/2017/047aircav2017/047aircav2017.htm

 

 In fact 86 choppers in total arrived at Zeebrugge
Via Public Affairs Officer (U.S. Army Garrison Benelux)
Arrival of the heavy vehicles via Antwerpen
(Courtesy US Army Public Affairs©)
1st CAB at Zeebrugge on January 30th
(Courtesy US Army Public Affairs©)
Snowy day...Duty first!
(Courtesy US Army Public Affairs©)
 

History of 1st Combat Aviation Brigade
1980s
The Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, was originally formed from the assets of the Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, which had been created from the assets 1st Armored Division's 501st Aviation Battalion on April 17th, 1986. Colonel James W. Lloyd, the first Aviation Brigade Commander, accepted the unit colors from Major General Dave R. Palmer, Commanding General, 1st Armored Division. (Note: Although often referred to as the "4th Brigade," the United States Army Center of Military History has confirmed that divisional aviation brigades are not numbered. The only exceptions are the 101st and 159th Aviation Brigades in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), which has two aviation brigades.)
When formed, the Brigade consisted of the 10th and 501st Aviation Battalions, the 220th Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter), the 244th Aviation Company (Command Aviation) and the 61st Aviation Company (Maintenance). Brigade aircraft included 22 Bell AH-1 Cobras, 38 Bell OH-58 Kiowa's and 30 Bell UH-1 Iroquois.
On November 16th, 1987 the 501st and 10th Aviation Battalions were reflagged as the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 1st Aviation Regiment. Alpha Company, 501st became "Golf" and "Hotel" Companies under the 1st Armored Division and was designated again under the 3rd Infantry Division as 7th Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment. The 61st Aviation Company (Maintenance) was reflagged as Company I, 1st Aviation Regiment.
In May 1988, the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment completed the conversion from a pure ground squadron to an air/ground squadron and moved from Schwabach to Katterbach. In late 1998, the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry turned in its M60A3's and received 40 M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles (CFV).
In July 1989, 2nd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment was inactivated in Germany and the colors reactivated as an AH-64 Apache battalion at Fort Hood, Texas.

1990's
The "Strike Eagles" returned to Ansbach Army Heliport on May 24th, 1990 becoming the first divisional AH-64 attack helicopter battalion stationed in Germany.
In November 1990, Company I, 1st Aviation was reflagged as the 9th Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment. "Eagle Support" was designed to provide dedicated support to the aviation brigade. The unit later became 603rd Support Battalion (Aviation) under 3rd Infantry Division.
In December 1990, Col Daniel J. Petrosky led the brigade to Southwest Asia with the 1st Armored Division and conducted combat operations. For its accomplishments in Operation Desert Storm, the brigade was selected as AAAA unit of the year in 1991.
Shortly after, the unit returned and in conjunction with the reorganization of USAREUR, the "Iron Eagle" Brigade joined the 3rd Infantry Division. The 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry was inactivated and turned in its equipment. Its colors were transferred to the divisional cavalry squadron of the 1st Armored Division.
The Aviation Brigade was inactivated in January 1996 at Fort Riley, Kansas, and was reactivated as Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, in Katterbach, Germany on February 15th, 1996, becoming an integral part of the "Big Red One". The Aviation Brigade supported numerous contingency operations throughout Europe and Southwest Asia.

Operations in Eastern Europe
In 1997, the Aviation Brigade deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide aviation support for Operation Joint Guard (SFOR). In 1999 the Aviation Brigade deployed to Kosovo as part of the Multi-National Brigade East to provide aviation support to Operation Joint Endeavor. The Aviation Brigade continued operations in Kosovo through July 2003.

  
(Courtesy US Army Public Affairs© CAB) (Courtesy US Army Public Affairs© CAB)
 
Operation Iraqi Freedom
In early 2003, the Aviation Brigade prepared for combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Elements of the Aviation Brigade deployed to Turkey to provide general aviation support to AFOR Turkey and the 1st Infantry Division. This support effort was made without aircraft as the battalion was stuck in Kosovo on "unofficial" deployment orders and after three months of trying to get to Iraq through Turkey the Division was turned around and the aviation elements relocated back to Katterbach.
Upon redeployment, the Aviation Brigade welcomed the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment "Six Shooters" to the brigade as part of its aviation transformation and, on June 13th, 2005, inactivated the 1st Squadron, 1st Aviation Regiment "Gunfighters," the colors of which departed for the Longbow Unit Fires Training Program (UFTP).
The 1st Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade (The Demon Brigade) completed a fifteen-month deployment to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09. The CAB Headquarters conducted operations from Forward Operating Base (FOB) Speicher. The Combat Aviation Brigade executed operations from eight dispersed locations and provided attack, reconnaissance, assault, general support aviation, MEDEVAC, Air Traffic Control, and Manned and Unmanned Fixed Wing ISR capability throughout Central and Northern Iraq. During the deployment, the CAB's eight Aviation Battalions flew over a combined total of 230,000 combat flight hours (all platforms) providing Aviation Combat, Combat Support, and Combat Service Support to the 1st Armored Division. The unit's participation was critical during the OIF "Surge". During this time, the Combat Aviation Brigade was led by Colonel Jessie O. Farrington and CSM Darrell "Buddy" Wallace.
In August 2006 General Richard A. Cody, then outgoing Chief of Staff of the Army, ordered the creation of a special aviation task force, called Task Force ODIN (Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize). Task Force ODIN was attached to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in February 2007. After operating in secret for several months the Task Force was officially activated in July 2007. When the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade returned from its deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007, the Task Force was reattached to 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
In late 2007 the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division began deploying to Kuwait to assemble prior to deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. By January 2008 the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade had begun operations out of Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. Task Force ODIN shared the ramp also conducting operations, attached to the 1st Infantry Division's CAB.
Returning to Fort Riley; along with its parent 1st Infantry Division, the Combat Aviation Brigade has been reassigned to Fort Riley, Kansas in October 2008.
In March 2010, the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade deployed again to Iraq for a 12 month rotation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as to usher in and spearhead Operation New Dawn in September of the same year.
 
 
Sunday February 3rd, 2019 
 
Atlantic Resolve 4th Aerial rotation
1st Combat Aviation Brigade participating helicopters
 

20092 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20093 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20118 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20121 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20187 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20221 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20223 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20225 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20251 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20255 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20260 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20281 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20313 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20318 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20346 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20375 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20398 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20399 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20412 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20413 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20419 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20420 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20451 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20459 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk

0-26260 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
0-26266 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
0-26271 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
0-26300 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
0-26555 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
0-26706 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
0-26707 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk

15-08195 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
15-08196 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
15-08197 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
15-08466 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
15-08467 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
16-08198 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
16-08199 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
16-08200 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
16-08201 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
16-08202 Boeing CH-47F Chinook

17-03139 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03140 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03141 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03143 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03144 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03145 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03146 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03147 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03149 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03151 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03153 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03156 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03163 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03164 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03165 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03166 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03168 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03169 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03170 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03171 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03173 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03174 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03175 Boeing AH-64E Apache

20160 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20162 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20163 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20164 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20165 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20168 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20169 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20170 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20171 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20172 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20303 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20309 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20350 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20351 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20352 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk



 
 20399 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk 20093 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
Big brother is watching you!  20225 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
Banana's split...  15-08196 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
15-08195 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
 16-08199 Boeing CH-47F Chinook 16-08202 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
20251 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20318 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk 20260 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20398 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
20121 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk Some fresh air...
20350 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk  "Big Red One" emblem clearly visible
20168 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
 20459 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk 20221 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
 17-03147 Boeing AH-64E Apache Auxiliary fuel tanks equipped
17-03149 Boeing AH-64E Apache Still an impressive war machine!
 17-03171 Boeing AH-64E Apache
17-03144 Boeing AH-64E Apache 20413 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
Landing short turn 20412 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
 A sunny balcony 20187 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
 15-08466 Boeing CH-47F Chinook 15-08467 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
 16-08201 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
 15-08197 Boeing CH-47F Chinook  16-08201 Boeing CH-47F Chinook
Air Doctors  20169 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
20162 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
  
20160 Sikorsky HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawk
 0-26300 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk 0-26555 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
0-26707 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
 0-26260 Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk 20375 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk
 
Fort Riley Kansas
(Courtesy US DOD ©)
   

Current structure 1st Combat Aviation Brigade:
Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB)

1st Battalion (Attack Reconnaissance) - 1st Aviation Regiment (Gunslinger)

2nd Battalion (General Support) - 1st Aviation Regiment (Fighting Eagle)
Company A (VIP Support)
Company B (Chinook/Heavy Load)
Company C (Medical Evacuation)
Company D (Maintenance)
Company E (Support and Logistics)
Company F (Air Traffic Control)

3rd Battalion (Assault Helicopter),1st Aviation Regiment (Nightmare)
Company A (Assault Company), (Black Cats)
Company B (Assault Company), (Boogiemen)
Company C (Assault Company), (Black Sheep)
Company D (Maintenance Company), (Black Dragons)
Company E (Support and Logistics), (Executioners)

1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment (Fighting Sixth)
601st Aviation Support Battalion (601st ASB)

 
 
1st Combat Aviation Brigade decorations:

Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered Iraq 2004-2005
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered Iraq 2007-2008
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered Iraq 2010-2011
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered Afghanistan 2013-2014
Army Superior Unit Award, Streamer embroidered 1997

 
 

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