281st AHC History



In case you didn't already know, the Lancers also participated in Desert Storm. In the late 1960's, the 311th Escort Co. (USAR) was formed at Parks Airport in Cahokia, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. In 1970, the 281st Assault Helicopter was deactivated, then reactivated as a Reserve Unit, replacing the 311th. In 1976, the 281st AHC, and the 219th Transportation Co., moved to Scott AFB, Illinois. In 1988, the 281st was redesignated as the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment. A Co. callsign was Ghostrider and B Co. was Lancer. The unit received UH-60 Blackhawks and was one of two battalions so equipped. The other was at Ft. Rucker. In 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the unit was mobilized and sent to Saudi. The Battalion was based at King Kahlid Military City (KKMC) and it was the first Army Aviation Unit into Kuwait City. The Battalion mission was support for echelons above corp. (EAC), which means we flew the 3rd Army Commander and his staff personnel who were responsible for running the War. I was a Lancer and was assigned as PIC for Gen. John Yosock, 3rd Army Commander. I also flew the CINC, Gen. Schwartzkopf. The unit remained in Saudi until May of 1991 when it returned to Scott and stood down. In 1995 it became a victim of politics and was inactivated. I flew C Model gunships in Vietnam with the 92nd Assault Helicopter Co. in 67/68, taught at Wolters and left active duty in 1970. From 71 - 95 I was in the Reserves and was proud to serve with the Lancers. We were aware of the unit history and determined to maintain the fine reputation that came with the name. The 7-158th was the only Army Reserve Aviation Battalion mobilized for Desert Storm, the unit flew more hours than any Army Aviation unit in the Gulf War and did it without any accidents. Just thought you Lancer types would be happy to know that the unit guidon picked up one more battle ribbon before it retired with pride. Fred Harms, CW4 (ret)
Fred Harms
USAR  1971-1989
920 Auburn Court
Fairview Heights, IL  62208
E-Mail: fharms@charter.net