The United States Army has been through many changes since its start in 1775, yet it remains the greatest, most disciplined all volunteer fighting force in the world. Like the service members of the past and present, many Army units have contributed to the success of our military, and like those service members many have been lost. Even though these units are not as well known as the divisions they have belonged to, they have enriched the history of our Army just the same. The achievements of the 123rd Aviation Battalion have contributed to the history and success of our nations battles.
In 1968, the United States Army activated the 123rd Aviation Battalion, creating a remarkable unit that was comprised of several Army assets. The design of the battalion revolutionized how assets could be combined to complete many missions by mixing infantry, signal, aviation, and support units. The 123rd’s mission ranged from was to collect intelligence, deliver supplies, insert and extract infantrymen, and provide air support. In addition to their primary mission they also participated in medical evacuation, an invaluable asset on the battlefields of Vietnam.
The 123rd Aviation Battalion was comprised of multiple airframes of which included the OH-23 Raven, OH-6 Cayuse, UH-1 Huey, AH-1 Cobra, and even at one point an attachment of CH-47 Chinooks. According to the Resume of the 123rd Aviation Battalion the A Company and B Company delivered over 1,400 tons of cargo, destroyed 575 structures, killed over 700 enemy combatants, and provided medical evacuation to 114 people. All of these accomplishments took place in 1968, prior to receiving an attachment of CH-47 Chinooks. The scout aircraft provided intelligence by either flying overhead or by dropping infantrymen in the pursuit of personnel of interest or equipment.
The 123rd area of operation extended from Quang Ngai to Chu Lai to Ky Ha, although the area is fairly small, the missions supported were not. The missions that took place were in support of 11 campaigns which include Tet Counteroffensive, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Winter-Spring 1970, and Consolidation I. While performing all these missions over the course of four years the 123rd were very fortunate to have lost only 17 men to combat or combat related incidents. In November of 1971 the 123d Aviation Battalion was deactivated in Vietnam.
The effort of the 123rd Aviation Battalion earned the unit two Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm. The unit was also awarded two guidon streamers embroidered Vietnam 1969-1970 and FEB-MAR. These awards and honors are the last the unit would receive as the 123rd Aviation Battalion.
The lineage information provided by the Center of Military History states that, the 123rd was reactivated at Fort Campbell...