The Oregon Army National Guard’s medical evacuation helicopter unit, well-known for assisting with mountain rescues, underwent a name change due to the restructuring of the Army National Guard. The unit, formerly known as Company C (Charlie), 7-158th Aviation Regiment, was deactivated during a ceremony, August 7, at the Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF #1) in Salem, Oregon.
The unit was renamed Company G (Golf) 1-189th Aviation Regiment. The unit conducts medical evacuations (medevac), search and rescues, as well as wild land fire suppression operations utilizing HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.
“This change is a very positive thing for us,” said Oregon Army National Guard Maj. Brady Phillips, commander of the new Golf Company, 1-189th Aviation Regiment. “It increases our unit’s force structure [personnel manning] for enlisted Soldiers, allowing us to promote more people and get more flight medics qualified as nationally registered paramedics.”
While their mission remains the same, the unit is a new company structured under the Montana Army National Guard’s 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment. Although the battalion is headquartered in Helena, Montana, the medevac company will remain stationed in Salem, Oregon, as part of the Oregon Army National Guard and will continue to support civil authorities throughout the State of Oregon as needed.
The unit received new colors, known as a guidon flag, during the ceremony to symbolize the activation of Company G (Golf) 1-189th Aviation Regiment. Armies have followed their unit flags into combat since ancient times when they were used to direct soldiers, foster esprit de corps and provide a rallying point in the confusion of battle. Flags still represent the soul of a military unit as a reminder of their deeds, glory and valor throughout history.
When a unit undergoes a permanent change of station, deployment/redeployment or deactivation, the guidon flag is furled and placed inside a canvas case to signify that the command has completed its mission and ceased operations at that location. The guidon flag representing Charlie Company, 7-158th Aviation, was rolled and cased during the ceremony, symbolizing the deactivation of the former unit.
The history of Charlie Company, 7-158th Aviation, dates back to 1996, when it was originally formed as the 1042nd Medical Company Air Ambulance. The unit first deployed to Bosnia and then twice to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In 2007, the 1042nd Medical Company was reflagged and structured under the U.S. Army Reserve’s 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas. The unit deployed three times under the 7-158th Aviation flag; to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, to Kuwait in support of Operation New Dawn, and to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian.
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