US Army Aviation Bn Patch 551 Avn Battalion WAATS Arizona NG
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US Army Aviation Bn Patch 551 Avn Battalion WAATS Arizona NG

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US Army Aviation Patch 551 Avn Battalion WAATS Arizona Army National Guard NG AH 1S Cobra UH 1H Huey helicopters 1986 embroidered on twill merrowed edge 100mm three and fifteen sixteenth inches diameter.

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997 Aviation Company Assault Helicopter was activated by the Arizona Army National Guard at Papago Army Airfield Phoenix Arizona in 1969 with two lift platoons Slicks equipped with UH 1H Huey long fuselage troop transport helicopters as 1 Platoon and 2 Platoon as a reconnaissance platoon with OH 58 Kiowa helicopters as 3 Platoon a gunship platoon Guns as 4 Platoon equipped with UH 1C Huey attack helicopters supported with a Headquarters Platoon and Service Platoon providing aircraft servicing aircraft maintenance supply and mess provision. 997 Aviation Company’s primary mission was to provide battlefield combat assault support with tactical air movement of troops and equipment armed helicopter suppressive fire support for troop insertions reconnaissance aerial resupply medical evacuation liaison and command and control. As an Army National Guard unit 997 AHC had a very important secondary mission of State support during disaster or emergencies. Gunship Platoon’s UH 1C’s were converted to UH 1M gunships in the early 1970s.

997 AHC was inactivated on 30 September 1978 with personnel and equipment remaining at Phoenix Arizona and split with the UH 1H Huey lift platoons forming and a combat support company and the gunship platoon forming part of an attack helicopter company designated as Detachment 1 Company D 149 Aviation Battalion and a combat support company assigned to 49 Armored Division Texas Army National Guard. Det 1 was redesignated Company D 149 Aviation Battalion on 1 May 1982. Company D 149 Aviation Battalion reequipped with AH 1S Cobra attack helicopters and relocated to the newly established Silverbell Army Heliport Marana AZ on 14 April 1986.

With ideal weather conditions for aviation training in the area Arizona Army National Guard activated the Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site WAATS at Silverbell Army Heliport Marana AZ in October 1986. Army National Guard candidates undertake US Army Training and Doctrine Command TRADOC individual aviator qualification training refresher training air assault and attack aviation combat skills and readiness training and selected enlisted crewmember and non crewmember training to maintain army aviation readiness. Also based at Silverbell Army Heliport is Army Aviation Support Facility #2. Allied countries in Europe and Asia receive advanced aviation training at WAATS including the Singapore Peace Vanguard Detachment.

Company D 149 Aviation Battalion was released from 49 Armored Division Texas Army National Guard and redesignated 551 Aviation Battalion on 1 October 1986. Arizona Army National Guard formed its C 12 Huron fixed wing unit Detachment 4 2nd Battalion 641st Aviation Regiment at Papago Army Heliport Phoenix in 1986 to provide aerial surveillance and airlift support. 

551 Aviation Battalion was reorganized and renamed 285 Aviation Regiment on 1 October 1987 under the newly implemented US Army Regimental System with its active element being 1 Battalion 285 Aviation Regiment Arizona Army National Guard and remained based at Silverbell Army Heliport Marana AZ assigned to 98 Aviation Troop Command. 1 Battalion 285 Aviation Regiment reequipped with AH 64A Apache attack helicopters in 1991. Arizona Army National Guard established it Reconnaissance and Aerial Interdiction Detachment RAID in 1992 equipped with modified OH 58A Kiowa reconnaissance helicopters to conduct day and night recon and interdiction missions in support of the war on illegal drugs. Arizona Army National Guard’s fixed wing C 12 Huron Detachment 4 2nd Battalion 641st Aviation Regiment was redesignated Detachment 31 Operational Support Airlift Command in July 1996.

285 Avn Regt was expanded with the activation of Company G on 1 September 2000 to provide dedicated Medevac services. The Singapore Peace Vanguard Detachment was established at WAATS Silverbell Army Heliport in October 2001 with eight RSAF AH 64D Apache Longbow Attack helicopters to train Singapore RSAF personnel in Apache operations for assignment to RSAF 120 Squadron in Singapore.

Company G 285 Avn Regt was ordered into active Federal service 10 March 2003 at Phoenix and was released from active Federal service reverting to state control on 8 May 2004. 1 Battalion 285 Aviation Regiment reequipped with AH 64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters in April 2005  

285 Aviation Regiment was reorganized on 1 October 2005 with 1 Battalion 285 Aviation Regiment redesignated 1 Battalion Attack Reconnaissance 285 Aviation Regiment retaining its with AH 64D Apache Longbow helicopters and a new 2 Battalion Assault Helicopter 285 Aviation Regiment equipped with UH 60M Blackhawk assault helicopters was activated with Companies and Detachments operating in the Arizona North Dakota Oklahoma and Utah Army National Guards.

98 Aviation Troop Command remained Headquarters Company in Phoenix with 1 Battalion 285 Aviation Regiment Attack and Reconnaissance under the operational control of the Combat Aviation Brigade 29 Infantry Division.  1 258 Avn Regt continued with Headquarters & Headquarters Company Company A and Company B Arizona ANG with six AH 64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters each Company C 1 258 Avn Regt Missouri Army National Guard with six AH 64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters supported by Company D AVUM Aviation unit maintenance and Company E Forward Support all based at Silverbell Army Heliport Marana AZ.  

2nd Battalion 285th Aviation Regiment Assault Helicopter under the operational control of 77 Aviation Brigade Arkansas Army National Guard had its Headquarters & Headquarters Company at Papago Army Heliport Phoenix with Detachment 1 at Arkansas Army National Guard at North Little Rock and Detachment 2 at North Dakota Army National Guard. Company A Arizona Army National Guard Company B Arkansas Army National Guard at North Little Rock and Company C North Dakota Army National Guard equipped with UH 60M Blackhawk assault helicopters was based at Papago Army Heliport Phoenix. Support was provided by Company D AVUM Aviation unit maintenance at Papago with Detachment 1 with the Arkansas Army National Guard at North Little Rock and Detachment 2 with the North Dakota Army National Guard. Company E Forward Support was based at Papago Army Heliport Phoenix with Detachment 1 Arkansas Army National Guard at North Little Rock and Detachment 2 North Dakota Army National Guard.

Arizona Army National Guard operated with a number of specialist aviation units parented from neighbouring State Army National Guards. Company F 1st Battalion 168 Aviation Regiment ATS Air traffic service was based at Papago Army Heliport Phoenix providing air traffic control. Arizona Army National Guard MEDEVAC service was undertaken by Detachment 2 Company G MEDEVAC 2 Battalion 238 Aviation Regiment equipped with HH 60M medical evacuation Blackhawk helicopters based at Papago Army Heliport Phoenix. Company B 3rd Battalion 140th Aviation Regiment equipped with UH 72A Lacota helicopters was based at Silverbell Army Heliport Marana AZ. Detachment 1 Company B AVIM 640th Aviation Support Battalion undertook Aviation intermediate maintenance Silverbell Army Heliport Marana AZ.

Detachment 31 Operational Support Airlift Command deployed with its C 12 Huron for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

1 Battalion Attack Reconnaissance 285 Aviation Regiment was mobilized to undertake the AH 64D Unit Fielding Training Plan and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VIII on 1 May 2006 earning its name Desert Hawks. Detachment 31 Operational Support Airlift Command deployed again for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009 and to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012.

In April 2012 and August 2013 1 Battalion Attack Reconnaissance 285 Aviation Regiment deployed its Companies A and B in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XII and XIII.

2 285 Avn Regt deployed to Iraq in 2009. Detachment 31 Operational Support Airlift Command deployed again for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009 and to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012. 2 Bn 285 Aviation Regiment deployed to Panama with three UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters to provide air support for Operation Beyond the Horizon 2013 a joint engineer and medical humanitarian and civic assistance exercise in June.2013. 2 Bn 285 Aviation Regiment undertook a 12 month deployment to Kosovo in support of ongoing peacekeeping missions during 2015

Detachment 31 Operational Support Airlift Command deployed to the Middle East for Operation Joint Guardian in November 2016.

With the decision to reduce Army National Guard AH 64D Apache units 1 Battalion Attack Reconnaissance 285 Aviation Regiment was inactivated on 4 August 2018 leaving Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site WAATS at Silverbell Army Heliport Marana AZ and 285 Avn Regt HQ and 2 Battalion at Papago Army Heliport Phoenix.   

 

This patch dates from 1986.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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