Military

Night Stalkers Spec Ops Force Turns 35

By S.L. Fuller | October 17, 2016
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On Oct. 16, 1981, the Screaming Eagle patches came off and the Army's 101st Aviation Group was designated as the 160th Aviation Battalion. Five years later, it became the 160th Aviation Group, then the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) in 1990. But, the regiment is most affectionately known as “Night Stalkers,” after the soldiers who pioneered the Army’s nighttime flying techniques. And on Oct. 21, the Night Stalkers are throwing themselves a party, according to Fort Campbell’s publication.

On Friday, the 160th will host a daylong celebration for past and present SOAR soldiers and their families to celebrate 35 years in service. Events will take place at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where SOAR headquarters are located. But there will be no usual party games present. Instead, outdoor activities include a team-building, 10-obstacle mud run course for active SOAR soldiers and a Night Stalker picnic, which will include a cook-off. There will also be bounce houses and live music.

The Night Stalker version of "plank holders" and Gold Star families will be in attendance, giving distinction to those who have been there since the beginning, and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. In the regiment’s 35 years, 94 Night Stalkers have died in training and combat. Outlined in the 160th's creed, being a Night Stalker comes with high risk for which each soldier is prepared.

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While SOAR headquarters, the training company, 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion are in Kentucky, the 3rd Battalion is in Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, and the 4th Battalion is in Fort Lewis, Washington. Each battalion comprises light, medium and heavy helicopters, customized for the units. 

First Battalion has one Boeing (based on McDonnell Douglas) AH-6 Little Bird company, one McDonnell Douglas (first Hughes) MH-6 Little Bird company and three Sikorsky MH-60 Black Hawk companies. The 2nd Battalion has two Boeing MH-47 Chinook companies. Third and 4th battalions both have two Chinook companies and one Black Hawk company.

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