Division West’s 166th Aviation Brigade is busy training five units for deployments.

One unit in particular, the Texas Army National Guard’s Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment from Houston’s Ellington Field, recently passed its validation and will deploy to Afghanistan’s Regional Command-South in the coming weeks.

What made the unit’s training with the 166th unique was that, this time around, the brigade worked in concert with the 21st Cavalry Air Combat Brigade, said Lt. Col. Robert Donnelly of the 166th’s 1st Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, the unit directly responsible for training the company.

“Normally, this type of joint training is reserved for battalion-size elements,” Donnelly said. “However, with changes in the force downrange, this company will take up the hefty mission normally executed by a larger battalion.”

The 21st Cavalry Brigade trains Army aviation units on a niche aircraft, the Apache Longbow, and their role in training the Guard aviators was to certify the company received proper instruction prior to deploying.

The 166th Aviation Brigade is tasked with ensuring that Army National Guard and Reserve units are fully trained on their green (land) and blue (aerial) training. This is known as a pre-mobilization validation process that, once complete, enables the qualified unit to deploy and execute missions successfully.

Together, the 166th Aviation Brigade and the 21st Cavalry Brigade tested and retested the pilots and crew, placing them in environments that closely emulate the ones they will face downrange.

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