U.S. ARMY IN EUROPE APACHES
A lot has changed in the international theater. Since the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, the Annexation of Crimea, and the Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War, NATO is changing the way they train.
In the past year we’ve seen a few Theater Security Packages in Europe, to “strengthen interoperability, demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Europe and to deter further Russian aggression,” according to a USAF release.
But the U.S Air Force isn’t the only service sending security packages to Europe, the U.S. Army is also on a different path now.
Since the revolutions of 1989, USAREUR has greatly reduced its size and dispatched US forces to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
The U.S. Army’s reorganization plans from 2005 called for the formation’s major subordinate units – 1st Armored Division and 1st Infantry Division – to be relocated from Germany to the continental United States. On 7 August 2006, the units of Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division combined with units of both the 12th Aviation Brigade and the former 11th Aviation Group were combined into the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. The 12th CAB replaced the units that were relocated. On 20 March 2007 the 12th became a separate brigade under V Corps.
Since its organization in 1965, the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade’s motto, “Wings of Victory,” defines the standard by which the brigade conducts its missions. The brigade is currently based around Ansbach, Bavaria, in Germany, and headquartered in Katterbach Kaserne, with subordinate units in Illesheim and Wiesbaden.
The plan was to reduce the presence in Europe even more. In 2015 the Defense Department announced to cut 24 AH-64 Apaches, 30 UH-60 Black Hawks, three CH-47 Chinooks and nine HH-60 Medevac Black Hawks in a process called the Army Aviation Restructuring Initiative.
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade went from the largest CAB in the Army with seven Battalions down to two. The 12th CAB is now meeting the operation needs of Europe through a regionally allocated force which is resourced through CAB’s in the continental United States. The Brigade is currently augmented by the 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, “Task Force Spearhead”of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade from Fort Hood, Texas.
The Brigade will receive additional forces in the spring of 2017 to bring the CAB close to the amount of aircraft present before the ARI cuts.