1978 – Troop D, 1st Squadron, 101st Cavalry was organized from the 51st Assault Helicopter Company becoming aligned with the 42nd Infantry Division located in New York.
The new Troop consisted of a HQS Platoon, a Recon Platoon, a Gun Platoon, an Observation Platoon, and a Maintenance Platoon. The adding of an Observation Platoon brought with it an additional 10 ea. OH-58A’s increasing the total number of OH-58A’s within the state. MAJ D. Edward Baxley was the Troop Commander and 1SG Dewey Bullman was the First Sergeant.
Annual Training in 1978 –
1980 – Trp D participated in an aviation recruiting drive at Columbia Mall. The recruiting drive was a three day event running from Friday morning when the mall opened until Sunday when the mall closed. The Recon Platoon did a rappelling demonstration on Saturday afternoon and was a huge success. Many lead cards were generated and actually one or two new recruits and some prior service were signed up.
May 1983 – Troop D, 1st Squadron, 101st Cavalry traveled to Camp Blanding, Florida where the unit successfully challenged the Pinecastle Electronic Warfare Range in Pinecastle, Florida. The mission for the gunships was to move forward while being guided by OH-58 scout aircraft and attack predetermined targets while not being detected by avoiding Naval Radar.
These plaques are displayed in the Eastover Armory foyer in remembrance of CW3 Don Landmesser and SSG Donnie Thornton.
January 1986 – During the first drill weekend after the 12 Dec 1985 chartered flight, Arrow Air Flight 1285, crash that claimed the lives of 248 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division on their way from the dessert to Ft. Campbell for the Christmas holidays, SGT Tony Denning was instrumental in a moment of silence observance and taking up a collection that was sent to the families. (Note: Just over one year earlier, a young man working as a custodian at AASF became so impressed with the military that he join the Army an became a combat medic. SP4 Calvin McWhite was on flight 1285.)
2 Oct 1986 – Troop D, 1st Squadron, 101st Cavalry was reorganized as 51st Aviation Battalion (Attack Helicopter).
Troop D had three commanders and two first sergeants:
MAJ D. Edward Baxley 1SG Dewey Bullman
MAJ Randal M. Robinson 1SG Carlyle Wood
MAJ Mark V. Rhett 1SG Carlyle Wood
The following photos are from the Recon Platoon: