Tuesday July 10, 2012
What is it?
The 166th Aviation Brigade, a subordinate brigade of First Army Division West, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas, is the Army's only multi-component unit that trains and validates all Reserve Component (RC) aviation units deploying support of combat and enduring mission worldwide. The brigade's four active component aviation battalions and two RC Combat Support/Combat Service Support battalions train a broad set of mission requirements including medical evacuation, attack aviation and general support aviation. In 2011, the brigade's trainers/mentors validated more than 6,300 Soldiers from 29 units for deployment to contingency operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
What has the Army done?
In order to strengthen the coordination between trainers and deploying units First Army moved the 166th Aviation Brigade from Fort Sill, Okla. and consolidated all RC aviation unit post-mobilization training at Fort Hood,Texas. The major impact of the consolidation was an increase in training efficiencies by co-locating the brigade headquarters with the unit trainers. An added benefit was a significant savings in costs in temporary duty travel by trainer/mentors and allowing training battalions the ability to support each other during peak mobilization periods.
What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?
The Soldiers of the 166th Aviation Brigade are well-established as the Army's premier post-mobilization trainers for all RC aviation brigades. In FY11 the Army and Fort Hood completed construction on new and modern facilities at North Fort Hood to support all aspects of aviation staging and training. Key capabilities of the facilities include hangers, office space, maintenance services and cold/hot fuel resupply points. Training technology modernization efforts will continue to focus on ensuring resources are in place for Army Battle Command Systems training, night-vision-goggle training, aerial gunnery, environmental flight training and aircraft maintenance. Training relevance, quality and intensity will be consistent whether the unit is assigned a Deployment Expeditionary Force or Contingency Expeditionary Force Mission.
Why is this important to the Army?
Reserve Component aviation units make up almost half of the Army's total aviation force. Division West's 166th Aviation Brigade has the unique mission of validating the post-mobilization training of all RC aviation units before they are deployed to support combatant commands around the world. Consolidation of RC aviation training ensures all of the Army's current and future aviation force receive comprehensive, contingency-focused training, using consistent standards, and with an eye toward stewardship of physical and monetary resources.
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"Africa Endeavor exercise is one clear example that the African nations are taking action and have not only demonstrated the confidence to face real world challenges but also demonstrated the courage to trust in each other ... This event showcases how well the nations of Africa are taking action to further develop regional partnerships to increase stability and security for all nations."
- Maj. Gen. Charles W. Hooper, director of J5 (Strategy, Plans and Programs) for U.S. Africa Command
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