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BDU Top to 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment Pilot

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I picked this up today for $5.


Unfortunately there is no name tape, however I'm still pleased to have it.


Of note is that the collar aviation branch insignia has the "160" over it.













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Maybe a stupid question about SOAR... are they not required to be Airborne qualified?


I think that by TO&E they are, but it's more important for them to have qualified pilots.


Special ops units often bend the TO&E rules when it comes to getting qualified soldiers. The thought being that they need people to fill the slot and if they have to send them to jump school later, they can always do that, but until then they need the people for the mission. In reality, requiring airborne qualified soldiers is more about getting highly motivated and physically fit people into the unit more than it is about actually deploying them via parachute.


Doesn't make much sense for a helicopter pilot to jump out of an airplane anyway! ;)


Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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Although within the Special Operations arena, not all 160th are Airborne qualified. There are a relatively small number of 160th Soldiers who actually are on Jump status. Many of the jumpers are in specialized support roles: fuel handlers, aerial weapons specialists and mechanics.


These Soldiers may be expected to parachute into a remote/denied areas along anticipated 160th SOAR mission routes, where the ground team would establish Forward Area Arming and Refueling Points (FARP) to support the operation. Other Airborne operations might drop in personnel to establish specialized communications or navigational aid.



As an Army Reservist, I was assigned to a Pathfinder platoon in the early-mid-1980's, and one of our missions was to parachute into an area and set up helicopter landing sites in support of aviation operations. We often supported FARP sites, establishing communications and navigational aid, as well as providing ground security to the FARP crew.



I later became an Intelligence Analyst, and served in this role for nearly 15 years (out of a 22-year Active Duty career) with the 5th Special Forces Group (1986 to 1997, then again 2005 to 2008). In the late 1980's the 160th SOAR met with several of we Intel guys, proposing a swap - some of their Intel Analysts come to 5th SF Group and some of us get reassigned to the 160th. We all declined, because we knew that there was good possibility that we may not end up in a paid Jump Status position.


We liked jumping, as well as the extra $110 (at that time) hazardous duty pay!




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