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The 1st Battalion, 5th Aviation Regiment conducts general support aviation operations and provides administrative support for the Headquarters, Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), Fort 32D Hospital Center Leadership :: Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Johnson (army.mil) and the United States Army Garrison, in order to train Soldiers, grow leaders, and support the validation of units as they prepare to deploy, fight, and win our nation's wars.

  • Box Tour

    Box Tour

  • Flight Operations

    Flight Operations

  • Box Tour

    Box Tour

  • Flight Operations

    Flight Operations

  • Flight Operations

    Flight Operations






Constituted 20 July 1940 as the 5th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, assigned to the 5th Division.  Activated 10 August 1940 at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.

Activated 10 August 1940 at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.

Reorganized and re-designated 1 October 1943 as the 5th Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized.

Reorganized and re-designated 4 March 1946 as the 5th Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop.

Inactivated 20 September 1946 at Camp Campbell, Kentucky.

Re-designated 6 July 1948 as the 5th Reconnaissance Company and activated at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Activated 1 March 1951 at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation , Pennsylvania.

Inactivated 1 September 1953 at Indiantown Gap Military  Reservation, Pennsylvania.

Activated 25 May 1954 in Germany.

Inactivated 1 June 1957 at Fort Ord, California.

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Converted and re-designated 26 January 1962 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Aviation Battalion.

Battalion activated 19 February 1962 at Fort Carson, Colorado (HHC, 5th Aviation Battalion, reorganized and re-designated 12 February 1964 as HHD, 5th Aviation Battalion; Company A inactivated 25 April 1966 in Vietnam).

Battalion (less Company A) inactivated 24 June 1967 at Fort Carson, Colorado HHD, 5th Aviation Battalion, re-designated 21 July 1975 as the Aviation Company, 5th Infantry Division, and activated at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

5th Aviation Battalion (Provisional) activated December 1977 at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Reorganized and re-designated 1 September 1982 as HHC, 5th Aviation Battalion.

Relieved 16 November 1987 from assignment to the 5th Infantry Division; concurrently reorganized and re-designated as the 5th Aviation, a parent regiment under the United States Army Regimental System, with Headquarters at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

5th Aviation Battalion was activated on 1 October 2017 at Fort Polk, Louisiana (known as Fort Johnson since 2023) and designated as Aviation Battalion, JRTC and Fort Polk.


LTC James B. Polk, Battalion Commander

        Lieutenant Colonel James Polk commissioned as a distinguished military graduated from Morehead State University in 2003 with a degree in Journalism.  Upon graduation he attended Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training and the Aviation Officer Basic Course at Fort Rucker, AL.  After completion of flight training and qualification in the UH-60 A/L, he was assigned to 1-58th Aviation, 18th Aviation Brigade at Fort Bragg, NC and deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

        Upon redeployment he attended the Aviation Captain’s Career Course and was reassigned to 3-10th General Support Aviation Battalion at Fort Drum, NY.  During his tenure in the 10th Mountain Division, James served as the Commander of F Co, 3-10th GSAB, and deployed to OIF 08-09.  Upon redeployment, he took command of C Co, 2-10th Assault and deployed to Afghanistan during OEF 10-11.  Upon redeployment, he was reassigned as the Executive Officer and MSIII Instructor for the University of Florida Army ROTC program in Gainesville, FL.

        Following, graduation from the Command and General Staff Officer Course, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC and served as the Division G3 Aviation Deputy, and later as the Brigade Aviation Officer for 3/82nd BCT, where he deployed to Iraq as part of the Brigade’s Security Forces Advise and Assist Team and served as the advisor to the Iraqi Deputy Commanding General of the Ninawa Operations Command.  Upon redeployment he was assigned as the Executive Officer for 1-82nd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion in the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.  Later he was assigned as the Recruiting Operations Officer for 3rd ROTC Brigade at Northern Illinois University.

        In 2019, James was reassigned to Fort Rucker, AL to serve as the Doctrine and Sustainment Branch Chief and later as the Tactics Division Chief for USAACE.  In his most recent, assignment he served as the J5 for Joint Special Operations Task Force- Somalia in the Horn of Africa.  

       James’ awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with numeral two, Army Accommodation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Achievement Medal. He has earned the Senior Aviator Badge and Parachutist Badge and holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Saint Leo University.

LTC Polk is married to his beautiful wife Shannon and has two children, Emmalee (16) and Carson (11). 


CSM Jack J. Essig, Battalion Command Sergeant Major

        Command Sergeant Major Jack Essig is a native of Cranston, Rhode Island and enlisted in the Army as an Aviation Operation Specialist. He completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, SC and he received his Advanced Individual Training as at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

        CSM Essig has served in every leadership position from squad leader to Command Sergeant Major. He has performed duties as Brigade Training NCO, Airfield NCOIC, Senior O/C TOC Trainer, ADAM/BAE NCOIC, Battalion and Brigade Operations NCOIC and Air Operations Training Committee Chief. 

        His assignments include Fort Bragg, NC, Camp Humphreys, Korea, Fort Huachuca, AZ, Fort McPherson, GA, Fort Rucker, AL, Schofield Barracks, HI, Fort Polk, LA, Fort Campbell, KY and Fort Bliss, TX. He has 3 deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and 2 deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

        His military education includes all levels of NCOPDS to include the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Battle Staff Course, Master Raven Operator Course, Observer/Controller Course, Combat Life Savers Course, Equal Opportunity Leaders Course, Master Resilience Trainer Course, Common Faculty Development Instructor Course, and the First Sergeant Course.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Leadership and Workforce Development. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Adult Education from Troy University.

        CSM Essig’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (6), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (8), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (4), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation (2), Army Superior Unit Award, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2 stars), Iraqi Campaign Medal (4 stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, NCO Development Ribbon (5), Overseas Service Ribbon (4), NATO Medal, Drivers Badge, Combat Action Badge, Basic Instructor Badge and the Master Aviation Badge, as well as the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Award (2), and Army Superior Unit Award (2). He is also a recipient of the Order of Saint Michael (Bronze Medal).

Unit Footprint/Location


  From Leesville Area
  •  Travel south via US-171 S. Take a left onto Entrance Rd to Fort Johnson main gate. Continue straight on Entrance Road. Once you pass the Smoothie King, turn left onto Texas Avenue. Make a right on Pennsylvania Road. Turn right onto California Avenue, and continue straight until you reach the Hangars on the right hand side.    
  • Polk Army Airfield

    Polk Army Airfield

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company

    Headquarters and Headquarters Company

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company

    Headquarters and Headquarters Company

  • Alpha Company

    Alpha Company

  • Alpha Company Hangar

    Alpha Company Hangar

  • Bravo Company

    Bravo Company

  • Bravo Company Hangar

    Bravo Company Hangar

  • Bravo Company Hangar

    Bravo Company Hangar

  • Charlie Company

    Charlie Company

  • Charlie Company Flight Line

    Charlie Company Flight Line

  • Charlie Company Flight Line

    Charlie Company Flight Line

Incoming Personnel

Incoming Single Soldiers will live in the barracks located on 12th Street in Building 1635.

The Geronimo Warrior Restaurant is about a 8 minute walk and is located next to the MEB Fitness Gym.

Slideshow below is a representation of the barracks and its common areas.

  • 1-5 Aviation Barrack Bldg

    1-5 Aviation Barrack Bldg

  • Day Room

    Day Room

  • Laundry Room

    Laundry Room

  • Barracks Room

    Barracks Room

  • Personal Kitchen Area

    Personal Kitchen Area

  • Personal Living Area

    Personal Living Area

Welcome Packet

Headquarters and Headquarters Company “Hawks”

Alpha Company “Tomahawks”