The 3d Combat Aviation Brigade is a regiment of the United States Army Aviation Branch. It operates the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, and Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter. It has been associated with the 3rd Infantry Division (United States) for some time.
Originally designated the 3rd Aviation Company (Combat) the unit was activated and assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division on 1 July 1957 at Fort Benning, Georgia. On 5 June 1963, the 3rd Aviation Battalion was activated and deployed to Southeast Asia. On 16 December 1974, the Battalion was officially designated as the first USAREUR Divisional Aviation Battalion. In April 1981, the 3rd Aviation Battalion (Combat) relocated from Kitzingen Army Airfield to Giebelstadt Army Airfield.
On 16 November 1984, it was provisionally activated as the U.S. Army's first Combat Aviation Brigade in a Mechanized Infantry Division. The brigade was officially activated on 15 March 1985 as 4th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. The brigade consisted of two Attack Battalions (2-3 and 3-3 Atk), one General Support Battalion (Task Force 23), and a Divisional Cavalry Squadron (3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment (3-7 Cav)).
1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, deployed from Fort Hood to Saudi Arabia in the fall of 1990 attached to and with support from the 1st Cavalry Division (also based at Ft. Hood). The battalion was at that time part of 2nd Armored Division. It was equipped with McDonnell Douglas AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. The battalion participated in many air strikes along the border region during the air portion of the campaign. The unit provided covering missions when the ground forces advanced into Iraq. 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment was pulled back in to Saudi Arabia after the cease fire, with two squads staging in Kuwait to proved refueling and rearming services for battalion aircraft if hostilities resumed. The unit returned to Fort Hood, Texas in May 1991 and continued the deactivation that was interrupted when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The unit was deactivated in July 1991 and the regimental flag transferred to sister unit 3rd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment based in Germany. The unit was transferred as a whole to Fort Campbell, KY in July/August 1991 and became the 2nd Battalion of the 101st Aviation Regiment (part of the 101st Airborne Division).
In April 1991, the Brigade deployed to Northern Iraq and Southwest Turkey to support the Kurdish refugees and prevent further Iraqi aggression in the region. On 16 August 1991, 4th Brigade was inactivated.
The brigade was reactivated on 16 February 1996 at Fort Stewart as part of the redesignation of the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) as the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized). In February 1998, the Aviation Brigade deployed to Kuwait for Operation Desert Thunder and played a part in deterring Iraqi aggression.
From September 2000 to October 2001, elements of the Aviation Brigade deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina for SFOR 8 and SFOR and enforcement of the Dayton Peace Accords. In August 2002, the Brigade deployed to Kuwait to prepare for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. At 201830z March 2003, the Aviation Brigade, as the Division's main effort, initiated combat operations with supporting fires from the Division Artillery. During the battle at An Nasiriah, the Aviation Brigade shaped the battlespace in order for 3rd BCT to destroy enemy unit's in the vicinity of the Highway 1 Bridge and Tallil Airbase. In Baghdad, the Brigade continued to play a vital role in the ongoing fight for the security of the city.
In 2004, the brigade was redesigned as the U.S. Army's first modular Combat Aviation Brigade and deployed to Iraq in January 2005 for Operation Iraqi Freedom III. This redesign enabled the brigade to significantly increase its ability to operate 24 hours a day for an indefinite period providing an unprecedented level of aviation combat power to the Division. The brigade's accomplishments include flying over 80,000 hours in support of over 26,707 combat missions to include over 13,455 attack and recon missions, 289 air assaults and raids, and over 3,760 MEDEVAC missions transporting over 4,998 patients. The attack aircraft provided 24-hour coverage over the Multi-National Division - Baghdad area of responsibility from January 2005 to January 2006, proving to be the Division's most flexible and effective, quick reaction force. With an additional Assault Battalion and the Chinooks in the General Support Aviation Battalion, the Brigade was able to offer the Division a new mission - Air Assault. The brigade also performed general aviation support missions, including being the sole provider of helicopter support for the senior members of the Iraqi Transitional Government.
The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 3d Aviation Battalion on 29 August 1963. It was amended to correct the symbolism on 6 September 1963. It was rescinded on 8 July 1976. It was reinstated for the 3d Aviation Battalion and amended to revise the symbolism on 10 April 1978. The insignia was redesignated for the 3d Aviation Regiment with the description revised on 1 July 1987.
The insignia is a silver color metal and enamel device 1 1⁄8 inches (2.9 cm) in height overall consisting of a shield blazoned: Azure (Teal Blue), three bendlets Argent, on a chief of the first, a pair of wings displayed fesswise of the second. Attached below the shield a Silver scroll inscribed “EX ALIS PUGNAMUS” in Blue letters.2d Battalion
Afghanistan Nov 2009 - Nov 2010
Afghanistan Dec 2012 – Jul 2013
2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment "Knighthawks"
Company B (CH-47F)
3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment "Lighthorse"
4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment "Brawlers"
603rd Aviation Support Battalion "Workhorse"