The 1st Aviation Brigade is responsible for training Aviation officers, warrant officers, and Soldiers with a variety of aviation military occupational specialties. The Golden Hawks’ Brigade Headquarters and most subordinate units are stationed at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Novosel, Alabama. The 1st Aviation Brigade commands three distinctly different battalions, each with a unique mission to train young Soldiers and officers: 1st battalion, 13th aviation regiment, 1st battalion, 145th aviation regiment, and 2nd battalion, 13th aviation regiment at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

Along with its many command responsibilities, logistical support requirements and administrative duties, the brigade's primary mission is to train and develop future Army aviation leaders. Instructors and cadre write, review and develop the courses critical to initial military training as well as professional military education. The cadre are some of the most competent and experienced officers, warrant officers, NCOs and civilians in the U.S. Army.  They bring relevant combat experience together with current Army doctrine, lessons learned and a focus on air-ground operations to provide world-class instruction in a learning environment that is Above the Best.

Tactical training is further reinforced with state-of-the art simulations, allowing students to assume various command and staff positions at all command levels while fighting simulated battles throughout a wide spectrum of tactical scenarios.

Lastly, the brigade conducts a variety of training support, administrative and garrison support missions as part of USAACE team.


In 1965, as the U.S. Army's involvement in Vietnam grew deeper, the ubiquitous use of the helicopter in the new "frontless" war became apparent. The Army had to have a means to maintain tactical and administrative control over all of its divisional and non-divisional aviation assets in country. It did this with the creation of the 1st Aviation Brigade, the Golden Hawks.

In April 1965, the USA Aviation Brigade (Provisional) was activated in Vietnam with the existing 13th, 14th, 52nd, and 145th Aviation Battalions reporting to it. In August it became the 12th Aviation Group. Now doubled in size, the 12th Aviation Group was used as the basis to form the 1st Aviation Brigade in March 1966. The Brigade served in Vietnam from May 1966 until March 1973. At its peak strength, the 1st Aviation Brigade had over 4,000 rotary and fixed wing aircraft and 24,000 Soldiers assigned.


Commander, 1st Aviation Brigade

Commander, 1st Aviation Brigade

Col. Richard P. Tucker

Col. Richard Tucker is a graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he was commissioned in 1998. Tucker’s key command assignments include HHC/82nd Aviation Brigade in Fort Bragg, North Carolina; 1-228th Aviation Regiment, Joint Task Force-Bravo, in Honduras, Haiti, and Central America; and the deputy brigade commander for 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade in the Republic of Korea. His key staff assignments include aide-de-camp for the assistant division commander, 7th Infantry Division and Fort... READ MORE

Command Sergeant Major, 1st Aviation Brigade

Command CWO, 1st Aviation Brigade

CW5 Michael Maine

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Maine enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1998 as a Mechanized Infantryman, with assignments at Fort Hood, Texas, and Schweinfurt, Germany. He was accepted into the Warrant Officer Flight Training Program in 2000, graduated flight school in 2001, and proceeded to Katterbach, Germany, to begin his aviation career as an AH-64A Apache pilot. His follow on assignments include B Co., 3-3 ARB, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia; C Co., 1-2 ARB, Camp Eagle, Korea; B Co., 4-2 ARB, Camp Humphreys, Korea... READ MORE

Command Sergeant Major, 1st Aviation Brigade

Command Sgt. Major, 1st Aviation Brigade

Command Sgt. Maj. John R. Bonilla

Command Sgt. Maj. John R. Bonilla, a native of Riverside, California, enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 9, 1997, as an 11M Mechanized Infantryman. He re-classed in September 1999 to become a 67R (15R) Attack Helicopter Repairman (AH-64), at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Bonilla is a graduate of United States Army Sergeants Major Academy to include Primary Leadership Development Course, Advance Leader Course, and Senior Leader Course. He is also a graduate of the Basic Instructors Leaders Course, Master Resilience Trainer Course, and... READ MORE