st Combat Aviation Brigade leadership cleared in Army investigation after Poland trip
FORT CAMPBELL, KY (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – The top leadership of the st Airborne Division Combat Aviation Brigade has been cleared of wrongdoing following an Army investigation into misconduct complaints, according to Stars and Stripes.
The st CAB came under scrutiny in April over complaints about a trip to Poland that included a visit to an off-limits strip club and the disappearance of a senior battalion officer.
“An exhaustive, months-long follow-on investigation led by a brigadier general identified no adverse findings against Colonel Travis Habhab or his subordinate leaders,” Capt. Javon Starnes, a spokesman for 18th Airborne Corps, said in a statement to Stars and Stripes.
According to a detailed report, the incident took place in September during a deployment to Europe by the unit. About 40 members of 1st Battalion took part in the two-day trip to Gdansk, Poland, according to the Army investigation report.
The battalion commander who organized the trip was issued a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand and will retire, while the executive officer faces separation, Army officials said last month. Other members of the unit also were punished, according to Stars and Stripes.
Chris Smith is editor-in-chief of ClarksvilleNow.com. Reach him by email at [email protected] or call
Investigation Clears st Combat Aviation Brigade Leadership of Misconduct
STUTTGART, Germany — The leadership of an Army aviation brigade has been cleared of wrongdoing following a lengthy investigation into misconduct complaints, the 18th Airborne Corps said this week.
The st Airborne Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, which came under scrutiny in April after soldiers on an official trip visited a Polish strip club where a senior battalion officer went missing, was probed after various complaints were filed against the command.
“An exhaustive, months-long follow-on investigation led by a brigadier general identified no adverse findings against Colonel Travis Habhab or his subordinate leaders,” Capt. Javon Starnes, a spokesman for 18th Airborne Corps, said in a statement.
Habhab is the commander of the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based brigade, which in April completed a nine-month rotation to Europe in support of the military’s Atlantic Resolve campaign, focused on deterring Russian aggression.
Bullying, instances of suicidal thoughts at the brigade’s headquarters company and drunken carousing by officers were among the problems reported within the unit, according to internal command documents and Inspector General complaints obtained by Stars and Stripes.
In May, the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 18th Airborne Corps sent a senior officer to Fort Campbell to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, the nature of which were not disclosed by the command.
But during the brigade’s Europe rotation, there were indications of a morale problem. A command climate survey of the brigade’s headquarters company conducted during the Europe deployment found that 44% of those polled “reported knowledge” of suicidal thoughts and 25% reported some type of bullying behavior in the unit.
And in April, the brigade was embroiled in scandal after revelations emerged about a battalion trip approved as a tour of World War II sites.
On the first night of the trip, soldiers drank heavily and went to the off-limits Club Obsession in the seaside city of Gdansk, according to an Army investigation report obtained by Stars and Stripes.
The battalion’s executive officer went missing for a day after he was likely drugged and was charged thousands of dollars on his credit card, the investigation report said.
The battalion commander who organized the September staff ride was issued a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand and will retire, while the executive officer faces separation, Army officials said last month. Other members of the unit also were punished.Show Full Article
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Combat Aviation Brigade, st Airborne Division
The Combat Aviation Brigade, st Airborne Division is a Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the United States Army. It was first organized in July as an aviation group and stands as the most decorated aviation unit in the United States Army. It was redesignated an aviation brigade in It has served in almost every single military operation (combat, peacekeeping, and humanitarian) since the Vietnam War. In support of the Global War on Terror, the CAB has distinguished itself as the military's premiere combat aviation unit during its two deployments to Iraq ( and ) and five deployments to Afghanistan (, , , , and ). The brigade has flown hundreds of thousands of hours during these combat tours, transporting millions of troops around the battlefield and providing close air support/aerial reconnaissance. The st broke its own record for longest air assault in history during the invasion of Iraq in Previously, the longest air assault was conducted in during Operation Desert Storm.
On 1 July , at Camp Eagle in the Republic of Vietnam, the th Aviation Group was constituted with elements of the 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry; the st Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter); the th Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter); and the th Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter). Less than a year later, on 25 June , the th Aviation Group was redesignated as the st Aviation Group.
On 15 August , the st Aviation Group was redesignated as the Aviation Brigade, st Airborne Division. The Aviation Brigade was deployed to Saudi Arabia following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in The st fired the first shots of the Persian Gulf War from AH Apaches under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Richard "Dick" Cody who would later serve as the 31st Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. Through the s, the brigade deployed elements to Somalia, Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Honduras to defend democracy and assist in hurricane relief operations. On 9 October , the Aviation Brigade (the largest aviation brigade in the Army at the time) split its nine battalions into two brigades, the st Aviation Brigade (Attack) and the th Aviation Brigade (Assault). Upon return from its Iraq deployment, the st Combat Aviation Brigade was finally restructured to its current form. It now consists of a battalion of AHD Apache Longbows (1st Battalion), a battalion/squadron of OHD Kiowa Warriors (2/17th Cavalry), an assault battalion of UHM Black Hawks (5th Battalion), a general support battalion of CHF Chinooks, UHA Black Hawks, and UHL Black Hawks (6th Battalion), and an aviation support battalion (96th ASB). The th Aviation Brigade (Assault) underwent a similar transformation and was redesignated as the th Combat Aviation Brigade. The st Airborne Division (Air Assault) was the only division in the US Army to have two aviation brigades.
On 7 May the th Combat Aviation Brigade was inactivated at a ceremony at the Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Division Parade field, leaving only the st Combat Aviation Brigade in the division. Concurrently the st CAB was redesignated as the Combat Aviation Brigade, st Airborne Division, bringing it in line with other divisional aviation brigades, which are not numbered. This reorganization resulted in the division having the same configuration as the 10th Mountain Division, a light infantry division.
Along with the th Combat Aviation Brigade being inactivated, one of the most storied dustoff units in the United States Army history was inactivated as well, the division's "Eagle Dustoff." During the Gulf War (Desert Shield/Desert Storm) Eagle Dustoff was deployed to the Saudi Arabian Theater of operations on 22 August and was the first US Army medevac unit in country. When Eagle Dustoff landed in Dhahran Saudi Arabia and was unloaded from a C-5A Galaxy, the unit immediately began taking missions with the evacuation of a US Marine with a broken leg. Throughout Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Eagle Dustoff transported and saved the lives of US military personnel, Saudi nationals and Iraqi enemy prisoners of war.
Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom
Beginning in January , the brigade responded to the call to arms in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan following the attacks on 9/ The st was the first conventional aviation asset deployed after 9/ The st would support battalions of the th Infantry Regiment (part of the 3d Brigade of the st Airborne Division), fighting Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces.
In February , the brigade was again alerted to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The brigade crossed the berm into Iraq on 21 March , to launch deep attacks, as well as guard the V Corps' western flank. The brigade facilitated the liberation of three major cities and the coalition forces' march on Baghdad.
After the brigade's redeployment in the spring of , it transformed into an effort to create a self-sustaining combat aviation brigade. Completely transformed, the brigade once again answered the nation's call in August and began its second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Headquartered out of COB Speicher in Tikrit, the brigade provided full-spectrum aviation support to the st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and its five brigade combat teams that were arrayed across , square kilometers of the Band of Brothers' area of operation. During this deployment, the st innovated a unique strategy dubbed Eagle Watch, using its aircraft to conduct effective vehicle interdictions using its UH Black Hawk helicopters and Pathfinders.
In December , the st Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Destiny, deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Headquartered out of Bagram Airfield, the brigade task force provided full-spectrum aviation support to CJTF, CJTF, CJSOTF and International Security Assistance Force, covering an area of responsibility the size of Texas.
Deploying to Afghanistan again, this time to Kandahar Airfield in February after having their dwell period cut short by four months, Task Force Destiny's arrival coincided with the anticipated introduction of the "surge" of forces announced by the commander in chief three months earlier. Task Force Shadow, stationed out of Kandahar along with Brigade HQ, provided support to all of RC South but most notably the nd Infantry Regiment as they secured the Arghandab River Valley. The Arghandab River Valley was the site of some of the toughest and bloodiest fighting since the war began in Afghanistan. Over the course of the combat deployment, TF Shadow (A co. , B co. , B co. , C co. , A & C trp. ) conducted multiple combat operations, including reconnaissance, support of troops in contact, air assaults, combat resupply operations, support of Special Operations Forces, MEDEVAC, and many training flights in expanding current aviation capacity. Task Force Destiny Soldiers assisted the Shadow aviation units by conducted refueling at operating bases across the country 24 hours a day to ensure all supported ground forces retained flexibility in their operations.
Current role and structure
Since the brigade's restructuring in , the Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), st Airborne Division has become a self-sufficient aviation unit. It has successfully utilized the Task Force format in its , , and , deployments to Afghanistan. In keeping with the traditions by the st Airborne Division of using card suits to distinguish subordinate units, the brigade is represented by the diamond (♦) on their helmets.
The Combat Aviation Brigade, st Airborne Division currently consists of the following units:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), CAB (Hell Cats)
- 1st Battalion, st Aviation Regiment (Expect No Mercy)
- HHC (Avengers)
- A Company (Spectres)
- B Company (Bearcats)
- C Company (Paladins)
- D Company (Dragonslayers)
- E Company (Executioners)
- B/ Aviation Regiment (Archangels)
- 5th Battalion, st Aviation Regiment (Eagle Assault)
- HHC (Havoc)
- A Company (Phoenix)
- B Company (Lancers)
- C Company (Phantoms)
- D Company (Ghostriders)
- E Company (Renegades)
- 6th Battalion, st Aviation Regiment (Shadow of the Eagle)
- HHC (Iron Eagles)
- A Company (Warlords)
- B Company (Pachyderms)
- C Company (Shadow Dustoff)
- D Company (Witchdoctors)
- E Company (Trailblazers)
- F Company (Sky Masters)
- 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment (Out Front)
- Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (Headhunters)
- A Troop (Annihilators)
- B Troop (Banshee)
- C Troop (Condors)
- D Troop (Dirty Delta)
- E Troop (Iron Horse)
- F Troop (Firehawk)
- 96th Aviation Support Battalion (Troubleshooters)
- Headquarters and Support Company (Warriors)
- A Company (Roadrunners)
- B Company (Big Ugly)
- C Company (CIPHER)
This article incorporatespublic domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History website [st Aviation Lineage And Honors Informationst Aviation Lineage And Honors Information].
Probe launched into Army aviation brigade whose soldiers got into strip club trouble in Poland
Club Obsession, a strip club in the city center of Gdansk, Poland, in an undated photo. Lt. Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, 18th Airborne Corps commander, has ordered an investigation of various misconduct allegations connected to the leadership of the st Airborne Divisions Combat Aviation Brigade. The brigades soldiers were involved in an incident at the off-limits club in September (Facebook )
The 18th Airborne Corps is investigating various misconduct allegations aimed at the leadership of the st Airborne Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, which recently came under scrutiny after soldiers on an official trip visited a Polish strip club where a senior battalion officer went missing.
Other problems reported include bullying and instances of suicidal thoughts at the brigade’s headquarters company, documents provided to Stars and Stripes show.
The Fort Bragg, N.C.-based corps is dispatching a senior officer to Fort Campbell, Ky., to investigate the allegations, which they declined to disclose because of the ongoing probe.
Lt. Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, leader of the 18th Airborne Corps and former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, ordered the investigation.
“As a result of allegations made involving the command at the st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Aviation Brigade, the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps has initiated a formal investigation led by a Colonel from outside of the st Airborne Division (Air Assault),” 18th Airborne Corps spokesman Col. Joseph Buccino said in the statement.
Col. Travis Habhab, who leads the st CAB, on Friday briefed his battalion commanders, senior noncommissioned officers and other leaders that an outside review was being launched, a soldier who attended the meeting said.
Col. Travis M. Habhab, st Combat Aviation Brigade commander. Lt. Gen Michael E. Kurilla, 18th Airborne Corps commander, ordered a probe to investigate various misconduct allegations connected to the leadership of the brigade, which has fallen under scrutiny since its recent Europe deployment. (U.S. Army)
Lt. Gen Michael E. Kurilla, 18th Airborne Corps commander, ordered a probe to investigate various misconduct allegations connected to the leadership of the st Airborne Divisions Combat Aviation Brigade, which has fallen under scrutiny since its recent Europe deployment. (U.S. Army)
Some of the allegations under review were determined to be unfounded during an earlier probe, said an Army official familiar with the situation, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.
The probe suggests that issues within the brigade extend beyond the notorious “No Mercy” 1st Battalion staff ride last year in Poland that ended with numerous officers facing the possible end of their military careers.
Revelations emerged last month about the battalion trip, which was approved as a tour of World War II sites, according to an Army investigation report obtained by Stars and Stripes.
On the first night of the trip, soldiers drank heavily and went to the off-limits Club Obsession in the seaside city of Gdansk. The battalion’s executive officer went missing for a day after he was likely drugged and was charged thousands of dollars on his credit card, the investigation report said.
The battalion commander who organized the September staff ride was issued a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand and will retire, while the executive officer faces separation, Army officials said last month. Other members of the unit also were punished.
The brigade returned to Fort Campbell in April after completing a nine-month rotation in Europe as part of Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. campaign to deter Russian aggression along NATO’s eastern flank. During the rotation, there were signs that the st was struggling with a morale problem.
A command climate survey of the brigade’s headquarters company conducted during the Europe deployment found that 44% of those polled “reported knowledge” of suicidal thoughts and 25% reported some type of bullying behavior in the unit.
“Soldiers overwhelmingly don’t like their job,” stated the command climate review, which was provided to Stars and Stripes.
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