With the establishment of the 1st Aviation Brigade in 1966, the Army achieved an almost perfect balance between the nimbleness and agility offered by decentralizing aviation assets with the efficiency provided by the standardization of administrative processes and training techniques.

The 1st Aviation Brigade managed the Army’s non-organic aviation assets, which grew dramatically in the years following the Brigade’s activation, by standardizing procedures, creating training schools, establishing and enforcing safety regulations, and handling logistical support; operational control was in the hands of ground commanders to whom the aviation units were assigned.

The Brigade attempted to place an assault helicopter company with each U.S. brigade, assigning one combat aviation battalion headquarters to directly support an infantry division. Over the course of the war, this system allowed Army Aviation personnel and ground commanders to create, on the fly, many of the doctrines and tactics that are still taught today the 1st Aviation Brigade “Golden Hawks” at the Army Center of Aviation Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

The 1st Aviation Brigade patch, or Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, was approved on 2 August 1966. The gold border and blue field are inspired by the colors of Army Aviation, while the gold hawk and red sword were taken from the colors of the Republic of Vietnam. Those colors were also used by U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam and U.S. Army, Vietnam, the Brigade’s commanding units, in fact, the sword on this patch is also found on the insignia of those two formations.

Related Items
1st Aviation Brigade Unit Crest (DUI)
1st Aviation Brigade Combat Service ID Badge (CSIB)

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