"To perform Air Assault and Air Movement operations. To provide Command, Control, Supervision, Staff Planning and Logistical Support to all units organic or attached to the battalion."
The Headquarters of the 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Rhode Island Army National Guard, is located at the Quonset Armory, 104 Airport Street, North Kingstown, RI. This headquarters provides command and control to the battalion which is located across Rhode Island, North and South Carolina. Soldiers in this unit are trained as Helicopter Pilots (AOC 15A/152G), Maintenance, Supply (CMF 92), Communications, Medical and Administration (CMF 71).
The first battalion is also designated as regimental headquarters for the 126th Aviation.
The history of the 1/126th Aviation begins with the organization and Federal recognition of HQ 68th Field Artillery Brigade in Providence, Rhode Island, in March, 1930. The Brigade Headquarters was broken up 19 February 1942 and reorganized and redesignated as HQ and HQ Btry 43rd Division Artillery (DIVARTY). Along with this reorganization the need for a medical detachment was identified. The 1/126th Aviation traces it's history to the formation of Medical Detachment, 43rd DIVARTY. The 43rd Infantry Division served with distinction during World War II in the South Pacific Theatre of Operations.
NORTHERN SOLOMONS (W/ARROWHEAD)
In 1950, during the Korean War, the Medical Detachment, 43rd DIVARTY was mobilized and inducted into Federal service (as part of the 43rd Infantry Division). Their mission was to reinforce United States Army units maintaining peace along the East and West German borders.
In the middle '60's, the detachment was again reorganized due to the changing mission requirements and converted to aviation. Also during this conversion, the detachment was assigned to the 103d Field Artillery with the designation of Battery F. The unit served as the forward observation/aviation asset to the regiment.
In 1968, the detachment was assigned to the 43rd Cavalry Regiment (designated Troop E) and remained the aviation asset.
In 1971, the Troop was redesignated Troop D, 1/26th Cavalry (Regiment), and assigned to the 26th Infantry Division.
One of the next major state activation's came in 1978. The "Blizzard of '78" crippled the state and forced all units to be called to duty from 6 - 16 February 1978. Troop D was called to support disaster relief operations. This unit flew over 700 hours transporting food and supplies, medical evacuation, personnel and equipment. There had not been a statewide call up since the "Hurricane of '38", thirty-nine years earlier.
From 1986 to 1996, 1/126 AVN (Attack), RIARNG was the attack battalion for the 26th Aviation Brigade, 26th Infantry Division. The WARHORSE battalion flew AH-1S, OH-6A, and UH-1H helicopters. The entire battalion was stationed at Quonset Point, RI. This battalion was formed by expanding the present unit. The attack battalion changed names three times within 3 years. Starting as the 122nd Attack Battalion, the name changed to the 126th AVN (Attack), then finally to 1/126 AVN (Attack).
In November of 1996 the battalion was reorganized with Hq & Hq Company in Quonset; Company A in Quonset; Company B in Picatinny, NJ; Company C in Burlington, VT and Company D at Westover AFB, MA.
In September of 1999 the battalion was again reorganized with Hq & Hq Company in Quonset; Company A in Quonset; Company B at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ; Company C at Otis ANGB, MA; and Company D at Westover AFB, MA. This reformation now brought some history to the battalion as the Massachusetts companies were entitled to battle honors for the Civil War, Span-Am War, World War I, and World War II.
In 2003, the battalion has again been reorganized with Hq & Hq Company in Quonset; Company A in Quonset; Company B (North Carolina); Company C (South Carolina); and Company D in Quonset. Regrettably, with the reassignment of the Massachusetts units, the battalions battle honors also leave.
In 2004, the 1/126th was inducted into Federal service for the Global War on Terror. The 1/126th arrived in Kuwait on 30 January 2005. This unit formed the core of Taskforce Dragonwing. The battallion was comprised of 457 soldiers and 24 UH-60 and 12 CH-47 aircraft. During it's deployment, the unit performed operations throughtout the ITO. Flying an average 48 flight hours per day, to 336 hours per week, TF Dragonwing accumulated an impressive 12,430 (UH-60) and 4,750 (CH-47) combat flight hours. By the end of their tour, the unit had conducted over 1,300 (UH-60) and 600 (CH-47) air missions, transporting over 66,000 passengers and 5,100 tons of cargo. TF Dragonwing flew 46 missions in direct action against known or suspected anti-Iraqi forces, and was subjected to 22 known surface-to-air fire engagements with seven aircraft receiving battle damage due to hostile fire. Despite the high OPTEMPO, the 1st battalion, 126th Aviation is recognized as the Outstanding ARNG Aviation Unit of the Year for 2005. The 1/126th left the ITO on 17 December 2005.
This unit earned a battle streamer bearing the name:
Today, the citizen soldiers of the 126th Aviation Regiment, Rhode Island Army National Guard, continue to carry on the proud traditions of their forefathers and stand ready to answer the call to defend the nation or provide emergency services to the State of Rhode Island and its residents.