Jack Stultz

11th Theater Aviation Command (United States)

The 11th Aviation Command (Theater) is a United States Army aviation formation consisting of two aviation brigades, a theater airfield operations group and a command headquarters. At present, the following units are assigned to the command:

These units were originally under the control of the 244th Aviation Brigade but were transferred upon activation of the 11th Aviation Command on September 16, 2007. Army Reserve aviation assets which remain under the direct control of the 244th Aviation Brigade include 2nd Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment (Horsham, Pennsylvania), 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment (Fort Eustis, Virginia), 7th Squadron, 158th Aviation Regiment (Fort Hood, Texas), and M Company, 158th Aviation Regiment (Carswell, Texas), which is slated to be enlarged and reflagged as the 696th Aviation Support Battalion.

Currently, 7th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment is under consideration for unit transformation and may be reflagged as 1st Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (Attack) to match 8th Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment (Attack).

The shoulder sleeve insignia of the 11th Aviation Command can be seen at upper right, while the unit's distinctive unit insignia can be seen as an external link here Both insignia were taken from the lineage of the 11th Aviation Group which was last located in Illesheim Germany.

World War II legacy era (1941-1961)

The 11th Aviation Command incorporates the history of the 11th Aviation Group which can be traced to the 11th Airborne Division, which served in the Pacific Theater during World War II and in the Army of Occupation in Japan after the war. The division returned to the United States in May 1949 and established its headquarters at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The Angels moved to Germany in 1956 and subsequently inactivated on 1 July 1958 when it was reflagged as the 24th Infantry Division. The 24th temporarily retained a partial Airborne capability to include the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry; the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 503rd Infantry; and the 11th Quartermaster Company, a parachute rigger unit. Within a year 1-187th and 1-503rd rotated to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to become part of the 82nd Airborne Division while the rigger company relocated to the 8th Infantry Division in Mainz, where a new Airborne component was being formed within the division.

Vietnam era (1962-1972)

The colors remained dormant until the requirement for air mobility (heliborne tactical movement) of infantry units was established by the Department of the Army in 1962. Secretary of the Army Cyrus R. Vance envisioned that the Army required its own organic aviation assets to meet immediate combat needs of infantry units. The XVII Airborne Corps began experimenting with this new concept by using borrowed helicopters. By the end of the year Secretary Vance decided to form a test division to further evaluate this new concept.

On February 1, 1963, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Group, was activated for testing purposes as a Regular Army element of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test). Under the leadership of Major General Charles W.G. Rich, the Test Director, and Brigadier General Harry Kinnard, the Division Commander, the group worked to formulate a unit that could move one-third of the division's infantry battalions and supporting units in one single helicopter lift. The unit operated out of Fort Benning, Georgia.

The testing process proved highly successful and on July 1, 1965 the group was reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) when the assets of the 11th Air Assault Division and the 2nd Infantry Division were merged into a single unit. Within several months the division deployed to the Republic of Vietnam.

The mission of the 1st Cavalry in Vietnam was to "fight battles of movement, ranging swiftly to places where they are needed." Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara described the new 428 helicopter-equipped 1st Cavalry Division as "an entirely new approach to the conduct of land battle which will result in the exploitation of the principle of surprise to an unprecedented degree."

As part of the 1st Cavalry, the 11th Aviation Group controlled the 227th, 228th and 229th Aviation Battalions, whose helicopters were the lifeblood of the Army's first airmobile division.

From 1965 through 1968 the 11th Aviation Group saw combat in the I and II Corps areas of Vietnam. The Group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the Pleiku Campaign of 1965 and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period September 1965 to November 1966. In 1968, the Group moved to Phuc Vinh in III Corps and remained there until early 1971 where the Group was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for the period May 6 1969 through February 1 1970.

In February 1971 the Group was assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade and redeployed to Marble Mountain Army Airfield near Da Nang; it was officially released from the 1st Cavalry Division on May 5, 1971. In August 1972 the Group departed Marble Mountain Army Airfield and resettled at Da Nang Air Base.

Germany era (1973-1989)

The colors of the 11th Aviation Group left Vietnam in March 1973, bound for Dolan Barracks in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, where they were used to reflag an existing aviation group. The Group's mission was to support Headquarters US Army Europe and the Seventh Army. In November 1979 the 11th Aviation Group became a major subordinate command of VII Corps.

During the period 1980-1987, while the 11th Aviation Group was at Dolan Barracks in Schwäbisch Hall in the German State of Baden-Württemberg, another unit, the 11th Aviation Battalion (later the 11th Aviation Regiment) was based in the neighboring German State of Hesse at Wiesbaden Air Base under the 12th Aviation Group and V Corps. The proximity of the unit's locations in the former West Germany may be a source of confusion, as the distinctive unit insignias of the 11th Aviation Brigade and 11th Aviation Regiment (formerly the 11th Aviation Battalion) are sometimes confused, with the insignia of the latter being mistaken as the insignia for the former. The insignia of the 11th Aviation Regiment can be seen here , while the insignia of the 11th Aviation Brigade can be seen as an external link here The 11th Aviation Regiment still exists and currently performs a training support role at Fort Rucker, Alabama, as the 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment.

The 11th Aviation Group was reorganized and redesignated October 16, 1987 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Brigade, and three months later the brigade fielded the first AH-64 attack helicopter unit in Europe, the 2d Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment. This firmly established the brigade's role as a decisive combat element in the NATO alliance. In August 1988, the 11th Aviation Brigade moved to Storck Barracks in Illesheim.

During its years in Germany, the Group had a pathfinder platoon of about a dozen personnel. The unit traced its lineage back to the 11th Airborne Division pathfinders of World War II and the post-war years, as well as the pathfinders of the 11th Aviation Group in Viet Nam. The authorization for a pathfinder platoon was dropped in the late 1980s and personnel departed as their tours were completed.

Desert Storm era (1990-1995)

At the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm, the Brigade was assigned to sector security in the former XVIII Airborne Corps area of responsibility. The front covered more than 200 kilometers. The 11th Aviation Brigade began redeployment to Germany on April 22, 1991. It was then reorganized and redesignated November 17, 1993 back to being Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Group.

During the 1990s the 11th began to be erroneously referred to as the 11th Aviation Regiment and the 11th Attack Helicopter Regiment. The U.S. Army Center of Military History noted it was actually organized under the TOE for an aviation group and its official designation was HHC, 11th Aviation Group.

Bosnia and Kosovo era (1996-1999)

In April 1996, C Troop (+), 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment deployed to Camp Hampton, Bosnia and Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor and the First Brigade Combat Team of the First Armored Division. The deployment was critical to Implementation Force's success in establishing stability in the Multi-National Division (North) sector.

In the summer of 1996, the 11th Aviation Group received a warning order to form and train an aviation task force for possible deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The deployment was to be as a part of the Task Force Eagle Covering Force, overseeing the withdrawal of the 1st Armored Division.

On October 4, 1996, the unit received its deployment orders, and within five days HHC, 11th Aviation Group; 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment; A and B Companies 7th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment; 147th Maintenance Support Team; C Company, 3rd Battalion (Air Traffic Services), 58th Aviation Regiment; and the 45th Medevac began departing Germany enroute to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.

Assembling at Comanche Base, the 700 soldiers of Task Force 11 transferred authority with their 1st Armored Division counterparts on November 4, 1996, and immediately provided critical support to MND (North), where tensions between the Former Warring Factions were high.

On December 20, the covering force completed its mission as a part of the Implementation Force and transitioned to operations as a part of the Stabilization Force.

On May 15, 1997, the 229th Aviation Regiment executed transfer of authority with Task Force 11 as the Multi-National Division (North) Aviation Brigade. After processing at the intermediate staging base in Taszar, Hungary, the last elements of Task Force 11 closed on their home stations on May 25, 1997.

In May 1998 11th Aviation Group deployed to Tuzla, Bosnia with HHC and 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment as part of Operation JOINT GUARD/FORGE. From May to October the Task Force performed as the Strategic Reserve for SFOR and the 1AD led Multinational Division North ensuring the continued implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords. Following transfer of authority to elements of the 1st Cavalry Division, the Group redeployed to Illesheim, Germany. Following notification in late March 1999, the Group was once again deployed on April 8, 1999 to Tirana, Albania in support of NATO Operation ALLIED FORCE in Kosovo. Over the next three months the Group remained postured for combat operations as the main effort for Task Force Hawk. TF Hawk deployed two attack helicopters squadrons of pilots, both aviation unit maintenance (AVUMs), 24 of their 48 AH-64s and a partial aviation maintenance (AVIM) unit to Albania. The remaining aircraft and AVIM(-) were left in Germany, where the AVIM(-) took control of the 24 AH-64s and readied them for possible deployment. Early on TF Hawk determined that the 11th Aviation Group, the two squadrons and the CORPS DOCC did not have enough aviation staff officers to simultaneously plan, rehearse and execute the current mission and the upcoming missions.

Following the success of the air campaign, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment deployed forward to Camp Able Sentry, Macedonia and were the first members of the NATO alliance to enter Kosovo in the implementation of peace accords as part of Operation JOINT GUARDIAN. With the groundwork for peace and resettlement of refugees established, the Group once again redeployed to Illesheim with the final aircraft returning August 4, 1999.

Inactivation and Reactivation

Prior to inactivation, the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) VI in March 2005 until March 2006. The squadron deployed with their AH-64D Longbow Apaches and formed the headquarters of Task Force Sabre at Bagram Airfield. Charlie Troop was attached to Task Force Storm in Kandahar. This was the first deployment of AH-64Ds to Afghanistan. 2-6 Cav was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) for their actions while deployed.

The 11th Aviation Group was inactivated in Germany on June 9, 2005 with a casing of the colors. At the time, it consisted of two attack helicopter battalions, service support units, and a headquarters, and was part of the V Corps.

The unit was reactivated in the United States Army Reserve as the 11th Theater Aviation Command on September 16, 2007 with a colors ceremony at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The presiding officer was Lieutenant General Jack Stultz, Commanding General, United States Army Reserve while the Commanding General of the 11th Theater Aviation Command is Brigadier General Matthew C. Matia.

Campaign Participation Credit

  • Vietnam:
    • Defense;
    • Counteroffensive;
    • Counteroffensive, Phase II;
    • Counteroffensive, Phase III;
    • Tet Counteroffensive;
    • Counteroffensive, Phase IV;
    • Counteroffensive, Phase V;
  • Counteroffensive, Phase VI;
    • Tet 69/Counteroffensive;
  • Summer-Fall 1969;
    • Winter-Spring 1970;
    • Sanctuary Counteroffensive;
    • Counteroffensive, Phase VII;
    • Consolidation I;
    • Consolidation II;
    • Cease-Fire
  • Southwest Asia:
    • Defense of Saudi Arabia;
    • Liberation and Defense of Kuwait;
    • Cease-Fire

Unit Decorations

  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for PLEIKU PROVINCE
  • Valorous Unit Award for FISH HOOK
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for VIETNAM 1965-1966
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for VIETNAM 1965-1969
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for VIETNAM 1969-1970
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for VIETNAM 1970-1971
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for VIETNAM 1971-1972
  • Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class for VIETNAM 1969-1970

External links

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