The 123rd Aviation Battalion was organized and activated on 8 Dec 67 by USARPAC GO 300,
dated 2 Dec 67.
The 161st Aviation Company became the nucleus for the organization, providing initial assets for the
Battalion Headquarters, A Company and B Company. The 406th TC Detachment and the 449th Signal Detachment which had supported
the 161st Aviation Company, were reassigned and attached to the 123d Aviation Battalion by AMCL OD 168, 25 Jan 68.
January and February of 1968, the activity of the 123d Aviation Battalion organization intensified. Key officers and enlisted
personnel were assigned to the Battalion. Staff sections were formed and equipment and facilities were requisitioned and expanded.
The Motor Pool, Supply, Flight Operations, Commo, Maintenance, and Mess were consolidated to facilitate operations.
was at this time that the Commanding General, Americal Division expanded the mission of the fledgling Aviation Battalion,
which, due to the exceptionally large area of operation of the Americal Division, required an additional air cavalry type
unit. B Company was organized from the Armed Helicopter Platoon of the former 161st Avn Co and later given a provisional mission
as Aero Scouts. Additional aviation and infantry personnel and equipment for this unit were made available from within the
Americal Division's assets by AMCL OD 603, 10 Feb 68, which directed the organization of the Aero Scout Company (Provisional).
"Two combat aviation battalions help the Americal Division
carry the war to all parts of its large area of operations. The 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, attached to Task Force Oregon
since April of 1967, contains four assault helicopter companies and one assault support helicopter company. Known as the "Fighting
Fourteenth," the battalion furnishes aircraft facilities for combat operations.
The 123rd Aviation Battalion was activated as the division's
aviation battalion when the 161st Aviation Company was deactivated last December. In a typical week, the "slick" troop ships
of the Company A "Pelicans" and the Company B "Scorpions" (noteŠ later renamed to Warlords). (NOTE:
this is the 1st reference I've seen to any name other than Warlord!) will spend some 280 hours in the air carrying
about 2,800 soldiers to the enemy's doorstep. The Pelicans fly about 49 tons of cargo a week. The unique Company B comes equipped
with its own airmobile infantry section as well as light observation helicopters and gunships and is equally adept at providing
reconnaissance support for infantry elements and at meeting the enemy on its own. It is the only aero scout company in Vietnam."
(Source: "The Americal", May 1968)
During 1968, the 123d Avn Bn compiled an impressive record, A company supported
the Americal's ground units by hauling 1,482 tons of cargo on over 3,736 sorties, and in the process killed over twenty VC/NVA
and med-evaced over 94 persons. B Company learned their tactical lessons well, killing over seven hundred VC/NVA and destroyed
over 575 structures in 27,510 sorties.
On 15 Dec 68 , the 123d Avn Bn, comprised of A Co, B Co, 406th TC Det, and
the 449th Sig Det and was attached to the 16th Combat Aviation Group. In Jan 69, two CH-47 units, the 132d and 178th Assault
Support Helicopter Companies were attached to the Battalion. With the addition of the 178th and the 132d, extensive changes
were necessary in the Battalion's staff structure.
The functions of the S2 section, previously handled as an additional
duty of the S3 were separated and the S2 section was fully staffed and became a functional staff section. The most significant
changes occurred in the S3, which previously handled all flight records and operations duties of A and B Companies. Facilities
were expanded to accomodate the more complex mission requirements of the CH-47 and to provide continuous information on aircraft
and mission status to Division Army Aviation Element.
A short period after this reorganization, the 406th TC Detachment
and the 449th Sig Detachment were deactivated. E Company, 723d Maintenance Battalion which was formed from the assets of the
406th TC Det, and the 449th Sig Det were attached to the 123d Aviation Battalion. The current organization of the 123d Aviation
Battalion is Headquarters and Headquarters Comany, A Company, B Company, E Company, 178th and 132d Assault Support Helicopter
(Source - Year Book, 123d Avn Bn, 1969, courtesy of Junius "Jay" Tanner)
The unit stood down
and was deactivated in November 1971. The Battalion was reactivated as the 123rd Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division,
at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on 16 December 1985. On 15 March 1989, Forces Command directed a Command Aviation Battalion (CAB)
be formed at Fort Campbell to expand the aviation capability of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The unit was redesignated
as 3rd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment in July 1989. In December 1989, the unit was fully integrated into the Division
when it was redesignated and received the colors of the 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment.
The Battalion is organized
into an HHC, AVUM company (D), three general support companies (A, B, and C), and a Pathfinder Company. 6-101st consists of
6 different companies consisting of HHC "Iron Eagles", A Co "Avengers", B Co "Warlords", C Co "Rude Dogs", D Co "Witchdoctors
(Voodoo Maintenance)", and the Pathfinders "Torch/First In Last Out". The unit has the largest division approved METL consisting
of 9 base tasks.