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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2014  09:16:39 PM

4-3 moves to 16th CAB, continues to train for upcoming ops

Email   Print   Share By Heather Graham, Sentinel News Editor
September 9, 2010 | News
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Lieutenant Col. Dale Watson, commander of the 1-229 Avn. Regt., and Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Rubio unfurl their new unit colors in a ceremony July 21. Courtesy of 3rd ACR Public Affairs
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Soldiers stand ready after being redesignated from 4-3 ACR in a ceremony at Fort Hood July 21.
As part of Army aviation’s ongoing transformation to a modular force, 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was redesignated 1st Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment. The reflagging marks a rebirth of one of aviation’s most honored units.

The Tigersharks, an aviation unit with a long and distinguished history dating back to World War II, temporarily are under the training and readiness authority of Fort Hood’s 21st Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat).

The move is the latest in a series of activations and movements as the Army works toward building 13 combat aviation brigades in order to meet current and future aviation needs and compile a “plug and play” aviation corps.

Eventually, the Tigersharks will become part of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, which is currently assigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The 16th CAB also is scheduled to move, but its future location should be announced later this month. Fort Lewis, Wash., reportedly is the leading contender.

The potential moves and rearrangement of the former Long Knife Squadron have not affected the mission of the assigned air crews.

“Right now, we are focusing on training, not worrying about the moving parts,” Lt. Col. Dale Watson, commander, 1-229 Avn. Regt., said.

They are prepared to take their role within the new CAB but are continuing to train until deployed or moved.

Although 16th CAB already exists, the brigade is rebuilding and expanding by pulling aircraft from existing aviation units.

Redesignating 4-3 ACR was one of the first steps in the Army’s plan to build two additional combat aviation brigades. Before the reflagging, 3rd ACR was the only brigade-sized element to have its own aviation unit.

“No other brigade combat team has its own aviation assets,” Col. Morgan Lamb, commander, 21st Cav. Bde., said. “All other aviation has been consolidated.”

The former Long Knife squadron from 4-3 ACR will provide the AH-64D Apache Longbows to form an attack battalion in the 16th CAB. The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from 4-3 will be incorporated into an assault battalion within the 16th CAB.

In addition to 4-3 ACR aircraft, the new CAB also will absorb OH-58 Kiowa Warriors from 4th Battalion, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment, out of Fort Riley, Kan., as well as the Black Hawks from 4-6 Cav. Regt.

Both regiments will also have their Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Companies transferred to the 16th CAB to eventually comprise the Aviation Support Battalion there, Watson said.

These moves are not on the immediate horizon though.

“It could be several years before all elements are co-located,” he said.

While at Fort Hood, Tigersharks are focused on training and continuing their mission.

“It’s always hard leaving what you know, but the Soldiers are excited,” Watson said. “It’s been a very smooth transition.”

This year, the unit has completed two rotations to the Joint-Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., and a deployment at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. They are completing their latest gunnery and preparing to return to JRTC in October.

“We are continuing with our normal training under 21st Cav.,” Watson said. “I think we are the best trained unit in the Army aviation-wise.”
 
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