4th Squadron (“Longknife”)
Longknife Squadron was organized as follows,
Headquarters and Headquarters Troop ("Headhunters")
K Troop (Killer) - Recon
L Troop (Lighting) - Recon
M Troop ( Mad Dog )- Recon
P Anti-Tank Company (Predator) - Infantry ('Regimental asset which fall under the control of Longknife for administrative reasons)
The 4th Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, originated from the Aviation Section assigned to the regiment while stationed in Germany in 1961. In July 1968, the 3d ACR, with the aviation section, redeployed to the United States and was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.
The Regiment, along with the Aviation section and a recently-formed Air Cavalry Troop, relocated from Fort Lewis, Washington to Fort Bliss, Texas in 1972. In 1982, the Aviation Section was consolidated and re-designated as the Regimental Support Aviation Troop (RSAT) which, along with the Air Cavalry Troop (ACT), provided the Regiment with airborne command and control, troop lift, aerial resupply, and medical evacuation capabilities.
The ACT and RSAT were combined in December 1985 to form the 3d Combat Aviation Squadron (Provisional). This provisional squadron first demonstrated its contribution to the Regimental Combined Arms Team during a rotation to the National Training Center in 1987. The following year, the squadron deployed to EFORGER to participate in the last REFORGER exercise prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The squadron was officially activated as the 4th Squadron, 3d ACR in October 1988. It consisted of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT), three Air Cavalry Troops (N, O, P), two Attack Troops (Q and R), an Assault Troop (S), and an Aviation Maintenance Troop (T). Within these organizations, the squadron was equipped with the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter, the OH-58A/C Kiowa Helicopter, and the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
In September 1990, the squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield and established Longknife Base Camp in north central Saudi Arabia. On the morning of 24 February 1991, the squadron crossed the border into Iraq and commenced offensive operations in support of the regiment, attacking deep into Iraqi territory, moving more than 350 kilometers in less than 72 hours. Upon the Coalition Forces' victory, the squadron redeployed to Fort Bliss, Texas in March 1991.
In late 1995, the squadron initiated its relocation from Fort Bliss to Fort Carson, Colorado. In December 1995, the two attack troops (Q and R) were inactivated and their OH-58A/C and AH-1 aircraft were turned in. On 15 January 1996, the two attack troops were reactivated and equipped with AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. The relocation to Fort Carson, Colorado was completed in March 1996.
The 571 Medical Company (Air Ambulance) was assigned to the squadron in August 1996 with 15 additional UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft. With the addition of the 571st, the squadron grew to a total of 83 combat aircraft and 700 Troopers, the largest aviation squadron/battalion in the United States Army. As of 2006, 571st Medical Company is no longer with Longknife Squadron.
The squadron continued its Attack, Air Cavalry, Assault, Electronic Warfare and Medevac missions in support of the regiment and the Mountain Post not only at home station, but also during recent deployments to the National Training Center, Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Operation Green Flag (Nellis, AFB), Operation Northern Edge (Alaska), Operation Intrinsic Action (Kuwait), Medevac support to Joint Task Force Sic, Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Riley, Kansas and to wild land firefighting contingencies throughout the Western United States.
In October 1998, the squadron transferred all remaining OH-58A/C and AH-1 aircraft and was modernized with 24 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. This reorganization under the Army Restructuring Initiative will again distinguish the squadron as the only squadron or battalion in the active force equipped with AH-64, UH-60A/L, and OH-58D aircraft.
In 2005, during OIF III, Quicksilver Troop was re-designated "Quickstrike" and served as the Regiment's light reconnaissance troop with air-mobile capability. Additionally, Troop Q partnered with an Iraqi Army brigade and helped start the 3rd IA Division's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) company.
In 2006, Longknife Squadron was inactivated during the Regiment's move to Fort Hood, Texas in the summer of 2006, leaving portions of Longknife Squadron at Fort Carson, CO. The three OH-58D Air Cavalry Troops, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, the FST and portions of the AVIM and AVUM (specific to OH58 maintenance) remained at Fort Carson and were reflagged as the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry. Upon the Regiment's arrival at Fort Hood, the 1st Squadron, 1st Aviation Regiment (located at Fort Hood, fielding the AH-64D Longbow) was reflagged as 4th Squadron, 3d ACR, changing the makeup and capabilities of 4th Squadron. Troops N, O and P no longer possess the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and are now outfitted with AH-64D Apache Longbows. Troop R is no longer the attack troop and is now the Forward Support Troop. Troop S remains the UH-60L Black Hawk Troop. Troop T is still the Aviation Unit level Maintenance (AVUM) Troop. Upon the reflag, Longknife gained an Aviation Intermediate Maintenance (AVIM) Troop which was previously organized under the Regimental Support Squadron (RSS), making the 4th Squadron, 3d ACR a unique and extremely flexible air cavalry squadron.
On 16 November 2011, Longknife Squadron was reconstituted as the Regiment's Reconnaissance Squadron. Under LTC David Foley, the Squadron made the transition from a combination of Tank Companies, to a Stryker based Reconnaissance Squadron. Unlike other Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCT), Longknife has the Anti-Tank Company (Predator Company) attached.
In early summer of 2014, 4th Squadron, “Longknife,” was tasked for a deployment to Egypt to assist in peacekeeping operations in the Sinai Peninsula as part of Operation Resolute Support.
Between May and August 2016, Troopers from the Longknife Squadron departed from Fort Hood, Texas, for Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel and Resolute Support. Just after the Squadron assumed their duties, President Obama announced the implementation of Strategic Effects Authorities, drastically changing the way the Regimental Staff and Advisor teams would be able to support the ANDSF with enabler support.
Shortly thereafter, the decision to keep 8,400 troops in Afghanistan was announced. With this change, the Brave Rifles stopped retrograde planning, and began to redouble their efforts to assist the Afghans in increasing their offensive capabilities. Task Force Longknife operated from Operating Base Fenty conducting base defense operations, guardian angel support and security operations in the ground defense area in and around the city of Jalalabad. On several occasions, Longknife Troopers were engaged by the enemy resulting in numerous Purple Hearts and combat badges awarded. Longknife returned home in February 2017.
In early 2018, the Brave Rifles received orders to support Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria. From April 2018 to January 2019, the Regiment directly supported the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve and conducted an advise, assist and enable mission to provide military partners with intelligence support, joint fires, aerial surveillance and training opportunities that enhanced their capabilities to fight against ISIS.
Longknife Squadron returned to Ninewa Province in northern Iraq for the first time as a ground reconnaissance squadron. Situated in the heart of Mosul, Longknife directly coordinated with the Ninewa Operations Center to support Iraqi Security Forces efforts hunting down remaining elements of ISIS, set the conditions for follow on stability operations to rebuild Mosul after the destruction caused by ISIS, and enhance government of Iraq efforts to bring security to the province.
In May, immediately upon arriving in Iraq, Task Force Longknife established Fire Base Um Jorais along the Syria border, bringing together Iraqi and 3d Cav. Regt. artillery to support clearance operations across the border. Task Force Longknife also enabled coordination with the Kurdish Regional Government, repairing a rift between the Kurdish government and Iraqi officials that enabled the opening of multiple checkpoints along the Kurdish coordination line, restoring normalcy and economic hope to the province. By February 2019, all of Longknife returned home to Fort Hood without suffering a single casualty.
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