UNIT STATUS: Welcome to the 21st Cav Bde (AC) web presence. For post information please call: 254-287-1110. If you notice any Suspicious Activity report it to: 254-288-COPS.

Welcome to the 21st Cav Bde (AC) web presence. For post information please call: 254-287-1110. If you notice any Suspicious Activity report it to: 254-288-COPS.

Athapaskan Award

History of the Tribal Order of the Athapaskan Award for Excellence

On 25 June 1986, COL Walter H. Yates, Commander, 6th Cavalry Brigade, forwarded a request to establish an Apache Award of Excellence to the Commander, III Corps and Fort Hood.  That same day, LTG Crosbie E. Saint, Commander, III Corps and Fort Hood, approved the award and forwarded the packet to Commander, US Forces Command for recognition.

6th CAV PatchFort Hood is the birthplace and home of the US Army’s Apache Fighting Force. Over the next 9 years, all thirty-nine AH-64A units underwent fielding, collective training, and certification as combat ready, initially under the auspices of the 6th Cavalry Brigade until replaced by the Apache Training Brigade in 1987. The Commanding General, III Corps was the certifying authority. This Unit Fielding and Training Program was designed to teach commanders and soldiers to fight the Apache Attack Helicopter system under ideal conditions to foster battlefield excellence and professional esprit. Using the greater than 46,000 square kilometers in the Western Training Area (West Central Texas), the force was trained by a level of standardization and fitness that proved itself enormously on the battlefield during the 1990-1991 Gulf War in South West Asia.

This award, the Tribal Order of the Athapaskan, was necessary to recognize those units and individual soldiers who aptly met and demonstrated the daring and innovative challenges of this unique form of aerial combat. As the Apache forces were established worldwide, the award of excellence continues to recognize and identify the pioneers of our newest combat of the American fighting forces

As originally conceived by COL Yates (now MG Yates), the award came in several types. First, the order was broken down into two sub-orders, the Chief and the Brave. The Chief came in a Gold version for individuals and the Silver for units. They were awarded only by the Commanding General. The nomination for the sub-order of the Brave, Bronze, was approved by the 0-6 aviation commander and forwarded to the Commander, 6th Cavalry (and afterwards, the Apache Training Brigade) for approval.

AAAA CrestOn 21 June 1991, COL William S. Reeder, JR., Commander, Apache Training Brigade, forwarded a Information Memorandum to bring the III Corps Commander up to date on the award. By this time, The Army Aviation Association of America, in conjunction with the Chief of Aviation, had developed the Order of Saint Michael to recognize aviation soldiers of all types.

This award is restricted to individuals only and comes in three categories, bronze, silver and gold. COL Reeder informed the CG at this time that the Order of the Athapaskan was for individuals only but still came in sub-orders of the Chief and the Brave, all using the same bronze colored medallion. COL Reeder codified the policy that 3 to 5 individuals were awarded the Order upon graduation from each ATB training program. He also mentioned that other III Corps and off post units could also nominate soldiers for the award.

OH-58D Kiowa With the advent of the OH-58D Kiowa Unit Training Program, the Apache Training Brigade was renamed the Combat Aviation Training Brigade and subsequently 21st Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat) in line with its expanded mission. This mission now includes the administration of training for the US Foreign Military Sales program, sustainment training of modernized combat aviation units, and pre- and post-mobilization training. The Tribal Order of the Athapaskan was also expanded to include the Apaches’ Plains Indian peers, the Kiowas. Should the program continue into the fielding of the RAH-66 Comanche, the Athapaskan Warrior Order will also include this other Southwestern tribe.

21st Cavalry Brigade (AC) now serves as the sole administrator for the Tribal Order of the Athapaskan. This award, in its now more varied manners, not only recognizes service to the Attack Helicopter Fighting Force, but also establishes and demonstrates standards of professional excellence throughout the Aviation community. The sub-orders, Lodges of the Chief and the Brave, still exist. Athapaskans are now issued for each tribe, Apache, Apache Longbow, and Kiowa (future Comanche), and a combination of them for non-flyers that have contributed immensely to combat aviation fielding and training programs. Nominations for the award are received from the field. Six (6) to eight (8) awards are given at the end of each Unit Fielding and Training Program rotation, as decided by the battalion and brigade commanders

Historical Significance of the Athapaskan Warrior

Placeholder image Placeholder image Placeholder image