The end of the Kiowa in U.S. Army service is drawing near. The 10th Mountain Division’s 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, a longtime user of the scout chopper, began their goodbye to their OH-58 force by flying a mass launch of all 30 of their aircraft at once on July 27th.
The next day, July 28th, would be the official last operational flight of the OH-58D out of Fort Drum. The sight of the tiny, but noble little choppers filling the air for the last time is truly an awesome one, as can be seen in the pictures and video below.
The OH-58D, which served in Afghanistan and Iraq, will be replaced by a somewhat controversial combination of enhanced AH-64E Apache Guardians and unmanned aircraft. Neither of those are known for their extremely up close and personal engagements like the Kiowa Warrior.
Many times during combat operations, the Kiowa crews would resort to firing on the enemy using their M4 carbines and landing next to friendly forces to quickly brief for a strike. This austere capability made the Kiowa’s effective and versatile little attack and surveillance helicopters and their crews gained the reputation of being among the most resourceful and fearless in the world.
Photos via US Army
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