The Branch Scarf for United State Army Aviation is manufactured in Ultramarine Blue (cable number 65010), the first-named color branch color of the Aviation Corps. It is authorized for wear with both the blue Army Service Uniform and utility uniforms on ceremonial occasions.

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Following the transformation of the United States Army Air Forces into the United States Air Force in 1947, the relation between the newest branch of the United States Armed Forces and its oldest could best be described as contentious and territorial. Many of the Air Force’s most powerful leaders insisted the Army should no longer have any type of organic aviation, i.e., aircraft and associated personnel and equipment assigned to Army tables of organization and under direct Army command. Against this stood Army Aviation proponents, who not only insisted on maintaining fixed-wing aircraft for both aerial observation as well as transport functions, but also embraced the rapidly evolving rotary-wing technology of the 1950s as the perfect instrument for support of ground operations.

Fortunately for the latter, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara envisioned a new type of combat for the Army, one in which speed and mobility would prove decisive on the battlefields of the future. But in an effort to convince the Air Force that its elder sibling would not be handed its own, self-contained tactical Air Force, McNamara released a memorandum placing both weight limitations and armament restrictions on Army aviation assets—then proceeded to make a weight exception for the OV-I Mohawk, which also had the capacity to be upgraded with armament. Around the same time, he established the Howze Board, named after its head General Hamilton Howze, to investigate the concept of air mobility in the Army.

Related Aviation Corps Items
During the Howze Board’s investigation, however, the future of the OV-1 Mohawk and another fixed-wing aircraft purchased by the Army, the DHC-4 Caribou, were discussed in much more detail than the concept of air mobility. Designed to replace the L-19 Bird Dog reconnaissance aircraft—the first all-metal plane acquired by the Army following the creation of the Air Force—the Mohawk was the subject of controversy due in no small part to “mission creep” on the part of its advocates, who envisioned it being equipped with sophisticated sensors. More troubling for the Air Force was that the Mohawk’s manufacturer, Grumman, published slick brochures that showed how the Mohawk could be armed to serve in a variety of ground attack and ground-support roles—duties the Air Force considered its bailiwick and its alone.

The Caribou, on the other hand, raised the ire of the Air Force not because it might be armed, but because of its size. A 32-passenger transport that could carry as much cargo as a C-47, the Caribou’s STOL-capabilities made it an outstanding plane for the conditions faced in Southeast Asia at the time.

Eventually, the Air Force and Army signed what came to be known as the Johnson-McConnell agreement of 1966, and the Caribou was transferred to the Air Force. And while the Army had already discontinued orders of the Mohawk, the agreement barred the Army from operating armed, fixed-wing aircraft.

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