The Department of the Army announced Wednesday the stationing of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a phased action that will see the first unit elements activated at JBLM as early as June, with the final unit activated approximately September 2014.
The 16th CAB will be split based, with its headquarters moving to JBLM but leaving an element at its current station of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, to support training there. Other units now stationed elsewhere will join the CAB at JBLM.
The 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment, already at JBLM, will fall in with the 16th CAB.
Standing up the aviation brigade will mean the addition of about 1,400 new Soldiers and 44 helicopters to existing assets at JBLM. A combat aviation brigade normally consists of 113 to 115 helicopters, 600 wheeled vehicles and 2,700 Soldiers.
Aviation is one of the most sought-after combat multipliers on the battlefield, said Maj. Kathleen Turner, I Corps spokeswoman, delivering close combat attack, reconnaissance and security, combat support and combat service support across the breadth and depth of the battlefield.
The addition of a medium combat aviation brigade is necessary, said a Wednesday JBLM release, to support mission, training and operations for units assigned to the base. There are nine brigades, including three being Stryker brigades, at JBLM along with other major subordinate commands, totaling more than 40,000 Soldiers and Airmen. Additional aviation assets are needed to support training for these forces consistent with Army doctrine, as well as support future operational mission requirements in accordance with the needs of the Army.
With its expansive maneuver area at Yakima Training Center and existing runways and airfields, JBLM will provide ideal training facilities for pilots and enhance air-ground integration training between the combat aviation brigade and brigade combat teams.
Having the 16th CAB at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will give I Corps and our major subordinate commands an unprecedented degree of training and operational flexibility, said Maj. Kathleen Turner, spokeswomen for I Corps. Currently, JBLM is the only corps-sized installation without a combat aviation brigade. As the Pacific regions premier Army corps, we need the potent warfighting capability that the new CAB will bring us.
Approval for stationing the 16th CAB came after review of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Realignment, Growth and Stationing of Army Assets, which considered an array of environmental effects on soil, noise, airspace, air quality, natural and cultural resources. As a result, the DA PAO identified implementation of mitigations to environmental impact, including dust and wildfire suppression, flight procedures to reduce noise, and construction of a new waste-water treatment plant at Solo Point to upgrade the water quality of effluent coming from the plant.
For more information, contact Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs at 967-0147 or 0152, or the I Corps Public Affairs Office at 477-0165.