Kiowa – Going Out and Setting a Record

Thirty-two OH-58D Kiowa Warriors conduct a flyover above Fort Bragg, N.C., 2016, during the final stateside flight of the aircraft, April 15, 2016. The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior has been a mainstay in the skies over the area for more than 25 years. DoD photo by Kenneth Kassens

Thirty-two OH-58D Kiowa Warriors conduct a flyover above Fort Bragg, N.C., 2016, during the final stateside flight of the aircraft, April 15, 2016. The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior has been a mainstay in the skies over the area for more than 25 years. DoD photo by Kenneth Kassens

The 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment took all 30 of its Kiowa Warrior helicopters on a final flight over Fort Bragg and Fayetteville for the last time on April 15, 2016.

The flight set a world record for theĀ  largest formation.

The flight honored past and present service members who have had the privilege of operating and maintaining the Kiowa Warrior.

Nearly three years after defense officials first proposed eliminating the small aircraft from the Army’s aviation, all but two squadrons have bid farewell to the Kiowa.

Last year, 18 OH-58Ds from 2nd Squadron 6th Cavalry at Wheeler Air Field in Hawaii took to the sky for a final flight prior to deploying to South Korea to support 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

OH-58Ds from 2nd Squadron 6th Cavalry took to the sky for a final flight prior to deploying to South Korea to support 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade. After the flight 2-6, cased our colors until the Squadron is established in South Korea. Photo by CW4 Mark Leung

OH-58Ds from 2nd Squadron 6th Cavalry took to the sky for a final flight prior to deploying to South Korea to support 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade. After the flight 2-6, cased our colors until the Squadron is established in South Korea. Photo by CW4 Mark Leung

The squadron, part of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, along with its more than 400 soldiers will deploy to Korea this summer, it will become the last Kiowa squadron, in the U.S. Army.

When the unit returns from Korea the squadron will adopt the AH-64 Apache and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Kiowa Warrior,is the armed version of the Kiowa, employed by the U.S. Army from 1969. The new variant, that embedded new systems and weapons pod, were inducted into active service beginning in 1987.

The helicopter saw service in Vietnam as a scout platform, carrying no weapons.

The helicopters were also used in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, conducting scout and light assault missions.

Army officials announced in 2013 that the force would phase out the Kiowa Warrior.

The next year, as squadrons began inactivating across the country, the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment deployed with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade to Afghanistan.

There, the unit served as the last to fly the OH-58 in the skies above Afghanistan, conducting the final mission in November before redeploying to Fort Bragg.

For additional photos, visit theĀ Kiowa Facebook page

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