RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (Aug. 19, 2015) -- The last AH-64 Apache helicopter, from 3rd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, was loaded onto an Air Force C-5 Galaxy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 18.
The Air Force C-5 Galaxy is headed for Ladd Army Airfield on Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
The battalion is scheduled for activation in September 2015 as part of the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, as the first attack reconnaissance battalion permanently assigned to Alaska. The 3rd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment recently returned from deployment in December 2014 and shortly thereafter began its preparation for the move to Alaska.
The move is in accordance with the Army's Aviation Restructuring Initiative. The unit maintained the aircraft and ensured that the air crews were current on their training during the eight months between redeployment and relocation.
The 3rd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment has been an effective entity within the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade during its time in Germany, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The flexibility and resilience of the battalion during the height of the Iraq War characterized the 3rd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment as a steadfast unit.
The unit also deployed twice to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield, which served as the aviation contingency force for all of U.S. Army Central Command area of operations.
During its second deployment to Kuwait in 2014, the unit served its purpose as threats to the U.S. Embassy were impending in Baghdad. The unit pushed from Kuwait to Baghdad in an unprecedented operation to establish itself as the major security element. The 3rd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment was the first regular Army unit in Baghdad since the withdrawal of combat troops in 2011; this action was later named Operation Inherent Resolve.
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, headquartered in Ansbach, Germany, is restructuring as part of the Army Aviation Restructuring Initiative, which is designed to reorganize and reposition aviation assets across the Army. This initiative implements many cost-saving measures and allows the Army to maintain readiness and modernization across the force.
For more than 150 years, Alaska has been regarded as the most important strategic military location in the world. Maintaining a strong Army is vital to U.S. national interest and with the addition of the AH-64 Apache helicopters to the region, increases our nation's security.