166th Aviation Brigade: 24 Amazing Facts

They may not get the recognition they deserve, but in this writer’s opinion, the 166th Aviation Brigade has been a huge reason the United States has such a well trained and efficient Army Reserve and National Guard force. The training in aviation combat and assault the 166th provided helped many officers and soldiers to stand strong in difficult situations.

In today’s post, we are going to provide you with 24 amazing facts about the 166th Aviation Brigade. Now scroll down and learn more about the ones who have trained many in Army aviation techniques.

1: First Established

The 166th was first established and constituted in September of 1988 as 166th Aviation Group Headquarters, and was a part of the United States Army Reserves.

2: Activation

The U.S. Army Reserves worked for 2 years with the 166th and in September of 1990, the 166th was fully activated in Germany.

3: Insignia and Motto

The 166th received a unit insignia. On a blue background, it is aviation wings holding a globe. In the center is an upward facing arrow in gold. The motto the 166th adopted was: Wings In The West.

4: Inactivated

In the June of 1997, the 166th was inactivated in Germany.

5: Reorganization

The 166th’s system went through a period of reorganization. The goal was to build it into a Brigade sized unit, and to bring it to the mainland United States. After 4 months of reorganization, In October of 1997, the 166th Aviation Brigade was activated as an active duty brigade at Fort Riley, Kansas.

6: The Community

While performing the tasks they were assigned at Fort Riley, members of the 166th also noticed needs in the community. The first order of business was the refurbishment of a building that would become a Good Samaritan House in Manhattan, Kansas. After that, it came to their attention that a disabled Veteran had fallen into a difficult situation; he was going to be evicted if his property was not cleaned and repaired. These members of the 166th came to the Vet’s rescue:

  • Major Charles Wright

  • Sergeant Major Freddy Escamilla

  • Sergeant 1st Class William Gammon

  • Master Sergeant John Morris

  • Sergeant 1st Class Vern Kreutzer

  • Sergeant 1st Class Marcus Brown

  • Sergeant 1st Class Moses Clerk

  • Master Sergeant Paul Weidhas

  • Sergeant 1st Class Gerald Chambers

These soldiers showed the city that the Army helps its own.

7: Inactivated

In October of 1999, the 166th Aviation Brigade was inactivated at Fort Riley, Kansas.

8: Transformation

In 1999, an Army Transformation was proposed. It took some time for this idea to be accepted, but when it was, the 3rd Brigade, 75th Division was re-designated as the 166th Aviation Brigade. The 166th was back!

9: First Army

The Army Transformation plan which made the 3rd Brigade, 75th Division the 166th Aviation Brigade put them under the Command of Division West of the First Army. This would be the only First Army Brigade that trained aviation units.

10: Reactivation

In December of 2006, the 166th Aviation Brigade was reactivated as an Army Reserve Unit. They would be based at Fort Riley, Kansas, and became a partner of the 1st Infantry Division.

11: Robots

In 2008, members of the 166th traveled to South Dakota to work with the South Dakota National Guard. Their mission was to test and train personnel on the Multifunction Agile Remote Control Robot IV. These robots have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan to clear areas where possible bombs and mines may be located.

12: 34th Infantry Division

Also in 2008, the 166th Aviation Brigade began training the 34th Infantry Division in aviation combat and assault. The training was extensive to prepare the aviation units located at Fort Rucker the techniques of aviation warfare.

13: CAB

After the 166th Aviation Brigade finished training the 34th Infantry Division, the 34th were then considered a CAB. CAB stands for Combat Aviation Brigade, and this was complete in August of 2008.

14: The 28th Infantry Division

The 166th Aviation Brigade performed such a great job in training the 34th in CAB, that they were given the mission of doing the same with the 28th Infantry Division. Before long, the 28th also were designated a Combat Aviation Brigade.

15: Move

When Division West of the First Army was moved from Fort Carson, Colorado to Fort Hood, Texas, the 166th Aviation Brigade also moved. Leaving Fort Riley, Kansas, the Brigade moved South to Fort Hood, Texas in mid 2009.

16: Reserve Component Locations

While the 166th was based in Fort Hood, it has Army Reserve components in various locations. They consisted of:

  • Jefferson Barracks, Missouri

  • Fort Des Moines, Iowa

  • Fort Riley, Kansas

  • and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

17: Active Component Locations

The 166th Aviation Brigade also had active component battalions. They were located at:

  • Fort Riley, Kansas

  • Fort Hood, Texas

  • Fort Stewart, Georgia

  • and Fort Knox, Kentucky

18: 1st Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment of the 166th Aviation Brigade

This Regiment had the primary duty of training in fast attacking helicopters. The main helicopter they trained personnel for was the Apache AH-64.

19: 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment of the 166th Aviation Brigade

This Regiment had the duty of training personnel for lift and ambulance helicopters. They specialized in the Blackhawk UH-60 and the Chinook CH-47.

20: 1st Battalion, 337th Regiment (Training Support) of the 166th Aviation Brigade

This Regiment trains personnel in mobilization and de-mobilization of aviation units.

21: Remaining Battalions of the 166th Aviation Brigade

All the other Regiments of the 166th specialized in training for the other particulars of aviation such as logistics, exercises, and mobilization techniques.

22: No Awards

The 166th Aviation Brigade as a training Brigade never earned any campaign streamers nor any other unit awards. In my opinion, the United States Army should consider awards for units such as the 166th that train and test to guarantee Army soldiers are correctly prepared for any, and all situations.

23: Inactivated

On June 24th of 2015, the 166th Aviation Brigade was inactivated at Fort Hood, Texas. Will they be reactivated in the future? It is difficult to predict that, but the odds say they will.

24: Colors Cased

On June 24th, a ceremony was held in which the Colors were cased by the 166th Aviation Brigade. You can watch this in the following video:

Final Thoughts

The 166th Aviation Brigade was one of those “behind the scenes” units that have kept the Army the best of the best.

If you were attached to the 166th, we would like to hear your comments. Please do so below. Anyone else can also provide questions or comments below and someone will respond soon. Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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