Military Intelligence - This Week in History
July 20, 2012
FORT HUACHCUA, Ariz. - The 23rd Special Warfare Aviation Detachment was activated at Fort Bragg, N.C. in March 1962. It added the name "Warriors" to its designation when it was ordered to U.S. Army Pacific (Vietnam) by a Department of the Army message dated July 20, 1962.
The first Mohawk flew for the Army in 1960 as a visual observation aircraft. It was soon pressed into service in Vietnam. Its primary mission was gathering and relaying information on enemy activities.
After a storm of controversy in the Pentagon, the 23rd Special Warfare Aviation Detachment was deployed to Vietnam in September 1962 to provide air surveillance in support of Republic of Vietnam forces. In addition, they were to serve as a test unit for operational evaluation conducted by the Army Concept Team in Vietnam.
The 23rd Special Warfare Aviation Detachment (Surveillance) was organized in July 1962 as a prototype armed aerial surveillance unit using the OV-1 Mohawk aircraft. Besides its headquarters and photo processing section, there were three flight teams, each consisting of two armed Mohawks, four pilots, and seven enlisted maintenance and armament specialists. Visual and photographic reconnaissance by this twin-turbine airplane produced a wealth of intelligence for supported units.
One of the unique advantages of the Mohawk in reconnaissance was its speed-to-noise relationship which allowed the aircraft to get within observation distance of people on the ground without alerting them to its presence. In one division, artillery fires directed from the air were nearly tripled by the activities of Mohawk observers.
The Mohawks filled a real intelligence need for the U.S. Army advisors in the field. For the first time the advisors found themselves with a responsive tool in the form of the Mohawk under their direct operational control to fill in the many gaps in their intelligence.
"This Week in History" is a feature on the Command History Office website. Those with Army Knowledge access can visit the site at https://ikn.army.mil/apps/mi_history/.
To learn more about the 2012 MI Branch and Corps Commemoration, go to the public website, https://www.ikn.army.mil/apps/mi_comm/.