Army National Guard Aviation Unit of the Year
Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment Maryland and New York Army National Guards Edgewood Arsenal, Md.
Sponsored by Honeywell International
Cdr Photo Tag: MAJ Hummer
1SG Photo Tag: 1SG Kecken
The accomplishments of the “Kong” Soldiers of Co. B, 3rd Bn., 126th Avn. Regt., during their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom can best be described by their successes in mission execution, adaptability and maintenance. With their 12 CH-47 Chinook aircraft, Co. B conducted operations throughout Afghanistan from three locations at Forward Operating Bases Bagram, Salerno and Kandahar, ranging over 400 miles apart. They flew in excess of 5,500 flight-hours, moving 16,714 passengers and more than 5.8 million pounds of internal cargo and over 2.3 million pounds of equipment by external sling load throughout the area of operations. The “Kong” took the lead on the largest air assault mission in Afghanistan since the 2002 Operation Anaconda, helping to capture 13 high-value targets. Co. B also provided critical continuity during the relief-in-place between the going 3rd Bn., 82nd Avn., and the 6th Bn., 101st Avn., by conducting missions with 10 of its 12 assigned aircraft for a two-week period. At each of their FOBs, they adapted to the situation and established maintenance teams and flight operations, ensuring the supported ground commanders received mission-critical supplies only accessible by helicopter, while pushing their aircraft to the limits against challenging environmental conditions. Co. B was the first unit to establish a CH-47 phase team at FOB Salerno. The quickest and most efficient CH-47 phases were completed by the “Kong,” and they demonstrated their ability to complete 400-hour phases in only 9 days, 15 days less than the in-theater standard. For their outstanding achievements, the Soldiers of Co. B, 3rd Bn., 126th Avn., have earned the title of AAAA’s Army National Guard Aviation Unit of the Year for 2008.