6-6 CAV is an OH-58D attack and reconnaissance squadron with the primary mission to rapidly deploy to any designated contingency area and conduct full spectrum operations.
The 6-6 CAV history illustrates a legacy of valor, service, and professionalism consistent with the heritage and tradition of the 6th Cavalry Regiment. The 6th Cavalry's soldiers, both past and present are among the finest professional and extremely motivated individuals our nation offers. The Officers, Warrant Officers, enlisted Troopers, civilians and family members of this unit are a proud team dedicated to serving the nation.
On 4 May 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued the second mobilization call for the North and the 3rd U.S. Cavalry was formed. The Regiment was redesignated the 6th U.S. Cavalry when congress reorganized cavalry units on 3 August 1861. By the end of the Civil War, the 6th valiantly fought through sixteen campaigns.
Since then the 6th U.S. Cavalry has participated in numerous major campaigns during the Indian Wars, The Spanish-American War, operations in China, the Phillipines, and Mexico, and World Wars I and II. Of note during WW II, the 6th U.S. Cavalry saw fierce fighting in five campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe. The unit earned its Presidential Unit Citation for its efforts at Betlange and Harlange. When hostilities ended in 1945, the Fighting Sixth Cavalry found itself on the Czechoslovakian-German border, and remained for occupation duty. The Sixth patrolled the border, but also assisted the Bavarian people, helping to heal war-torn Germany.
After leaving Germany, the Regiment returned to Fort Knox, Kentucky to support Advanced Individual Training. The Squadron was deactivated on 24 October 1963.
The Sixth day of the Sixth month, 1990, saw once again the reactivation of the 6th Squadron, 6th U.S. Cavalry at Ft. Hood, Texas. After an intensive training program the AH-64A attack helicopter squadron was designated as Combat Ready with enough combat power to destroy an enemy tank division. With twenty-four AH-64A Apache helicopters, the Sixth Squadron left for Germany. The arrival of the Squadron saw our sister squadron deploying to Saudi Arabia for Operation DESERT SHIELD and STORM. Also marked for deployment, the squadron trained while performing security operations in Germany. The violent and short duration of the war saw the Sixth Squadron still in Germany at the wars end. Saddam Hussein, unable to defeat the force he faced, turned against the Kurdish people in Northern Iraq. He systematically began to eliminate them. The Sixth Squadron received the call to deploy to Northern Iraq and stop the senseless slaughter of the Kurdish people. Within 96 hours the Squadron left Germany in the first self-deployment by an AH-64 Attack Helicopter Squadron. Covering five countries, two continents, and 3,000 miles in just four days the Squadron established and controlled a 2,500 square mile security zone, as part of Operation PROVIDE COMFORT allowing the Kurdish people to return to their homes. October 1991 saw the redeployment of the Squadron to Illesheim, Germany. Recently, the Squadron was the first Squadron in the U.S. Army to complete the Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI) transition.
During mid-1994 the 6th Squadron, 6th U.S. Cavalry, accomplished the tasks of reorganization and training during the Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI). Converting 6-6 Cavalry Squadron to the ARI MTOE was an all-encompassing task. More than 60 percent of the line item numbers (LIN) of equipment were affected by the change, and both the Headquarters and aviation unit maintenance (AVUM) reorganized significantly. Overall, the Squadron increased from 296 to 299 personnel, and prime movers were reduced by 11 vehicles. All of the OH-58 and UH-60 equipment became excess, and new technology replaced aging systems (SINCGARS replacing VRC-46, for example).
In April of 1996, C Troop (+), 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry deployed to Camp Hampton, Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR and the First Brigade Combat Team of the First Armored Division.
In 1998, the entire Squadron deployed to Bosnia again in support of Operation JOINT GUARD and JOINT FORCE. They formed the nucleus of Task Force SIXSHOOTER, 1st Armored Division for four months. The Task Force assumed two missions from two separate battalions, flying over 5000 hours, and maintained all training proficiency.
Less than 6 months after the redeployment from Bosnia the call for duty rang again, this time in support of Operation ALLIED force. Recognized as the most combat ready Apache unit in Europe, 6-6 Cavalry was chosen to spearhead the deployment and prepare for combat missions against the Federal Republic of Serbia. During the training for this mission, two 6-6 Cavalry Troopers were killed in Albania on 05 May 1999 when their aircraft crashed. The crash occurred about 75 kilometers northeast of the Tirana-Rinas Airport during a mission in support of Operation Allied Force. The aviators were identified as Chief Warrant Officer 3 David A.Gibbs, 38, from Ohio and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin L. Reichert, 28, from Wisconsin. Both were assigned to C Troop, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment at Illesheim, Germany.
Upon capitulation of Serbian forces, one-third of 6-6 deployed to Skopje, Macedonia where they conducted peace keeping operations in the war torn area of Kosovo in support of Operation JOINT GUARDIAN.
In early June 2001, the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry, gathered in their hangar on Storck Barracks in Illesheim. The soldiers of this historic unit officially cased their colors in anticipation of their move to Fort Hood, Texas. The timing of the casing was no coincidence. For it was exactly 11 years to the day they stood up the unit with the then state-of-the-art AH-64A Apache helicopter. The unit was headed back to Fort Hood to be trained in the newest model of the Apache, the AH-64D Longbow Apache. The unit stood up in October 2001 at Fort Hood, after pilot training at Fort Rucker to complete the unit training program with the new Longbow.
After the Fort Hood training, the helicopters arrived at the Port of Antwerp in July 2002 encased in a protective cocoon of shrink-wrapped plastic. Once accounted for and inspected, mechanics and crew chiefs from D Troop began reassembly of the Longbows. Following the reassembly process, the helicopters were test-flown before being moved to Illesheim. On July 22, 2002, 22 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters flew in mass formation to their home airfield in Illesheim, Germany.
The squadron was the first unit in USAREUR to reflect the reorganization of assets. Previously composed of three companies, each with eight Apaches, the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry comprised of three companies with seven Longbows each - the new Army-wide standard for corps aviation assets. In August 2006, a final phase of aviation restructuring took place when 6-6 Cavalry re-flagged to 2dn Battalion, 159th Aviation (Attack). This action was one component of the aviation restructuring in Europe which created the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) on 8 August 2006. The 12th CAB is now the only aviation brigade in USAREUR. It consists of HHC, 12th CAB, 3-158th Assault Battalion, 3-159th Aviation (Attack/Recon), 2-159th Aviation (Attack), and 5-158th General Support Aviation Battalion. The next chapter in 6-6 Cavalry history began on 5 October 2006 with the Department of the Army directing the re-designation of 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment to the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment. 1-10 Attack reflagged to 6-6 Cavalry on 23 January 2007 at Fort Drum, New York to continue the proud history of the Six-Shooters and the Fighting Sixth Regiment.