FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) – It was deployment day at Fort Bragg.
About 300 paratroopers from the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade are headed on a mission to South Korea. There are already around 50 on the ground in South Korea.
“There’s a lot of pride within the squadron. There’s a lot of pride within the families,” said Lt. Col. Adam Frederick, Commander of the 1-17 Cavalry of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
The troops leaving Friday were the last unit to fly OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters in combat in Afghanistan in the fall of 2014. They will serve as the last unit in Korea to fly them as well before transitioning to AH-64 Apache helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Prior to the unit’s departure, they conducted underwater helicopter survival training to prepare them for flying over the waters surrounding the South Korean peninsula,” Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Freeman said.
The final flight of the unit’s OH-58 Kiowa Warriors was conducted on April 15. As a way of saying thank you to everyone that had supported the unit, they flew over Fort Bragg and Fayetteville. That formation flight is currently being verified by Guinness World Records as being the largest helicopter formation flight ever, Freeman told CBS North Carolina.
The OH-58 Kiowa Warrior fleet accumulated over 2 million flight hours across the U.S. Army. More than 750,000 of those miles were flown in combat.
The troops are expected to return early next year.