Combined aviation unit makes 8th Army debut
June 18, 2005
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — A new type of U.S. Army aviation unit that merges various aircraft into a single brigade was established in South Korea during a ceremony here on Thursday.
The 2nd Multifunctional Aviation Brigade consists of Apache attack helicopters, Chinook and Black Hawk cargo helicopters and the fixed-wing C-12 Huron cargo plane. The brigade structure marks a new form of Army aviation unit being adopted Armywide.
The Army in South Korea had three traditional aviation brigades: the 6th Cavalry Brigade, consisting of the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter; the 2nd Aviation Brigade, part of the 2nd Infantry Division; and the 17th Aviation Brigade, with CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and the C-12.
But Thursday morning’s ceremony saw the inactivation of the 17th Aviation Brigade, the “reflagging” of the 6th Cavalry Brigade and the merger of assets from all three into the new brigade.
The brigade is headquartered at Camp Humphreys under command of Col. Peter Foreman, previously the 6th Cavalry Brigade commander.
“I look forward to all your accomplishments and achievements,” 8th U.S. Army commander Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell told the the troops, who were ranged in formation along the flightline of “Tiger Ramp.”
“This truly is a historic day for the United States Army and 8th Army as we draw down from three aviation brigades to only one,” said Col. David J. Abramowitz, 17th Aviation Brigade commander.
“Just six weeks ago, the 17th Aviation Brigade had 1,544 soldiers and 66 aircraft in its formation. Now, the only unit that remains is the HHC with its 21 soldiers standing in front of you today,” he added.
“Today is a day of emotions, for we are folding up the colors of the 6th Cavalry Brigade,” said Foreman, who briefly traced the history of the brigade, which dates to 1861.
It was, he said, “A brigade that turned in its horses and became motorized, then evolved into a mechanized force” and evolved further into an attack helicopter unit.
“Now this brigade is transforming again,” merging with the other units to become a “powerhouse, capable of executing any mission across the spectrum of aviation operations,” Foreman said.
“Today, we start our own legacy as the theater’s Army aviation forces,” he added. “ … One final thought I will leave you with: Although we have changed, we will continue to keep our powder dry, we will always lean forward in the saddle and if by chance we are ever in doubt, we will draw sabers.”