Seventy-four years ago, Army Aviation was born; given life amid a world at war. At the same time, it is important to realize that the Army’s tactical air branch is the inevitable product of the Industrial Revolution, with its innovation, invention and specialization of tasks that have produced the tools of conflict that have so profoundly affected the practice of war. Throughout the history of Army Aviation, this evolution is seen with the advent of four aircraft:
Beginning with the antecedent of today’s Army Aviation, the Balloon Corps, which was characterized by its static aerial observation posts or the gas bag. Followed as it was by the L-4 Cub, which lent needed mobility to the successful employment of aerial observation/aerial direction of artillery fire. Next, the UH-1 Huey, that poster child expression of airmobility followed lastly by the AH-64 Apache, that aircraft which epitomizes the decades of Army/Air Force discord concerning control of aircraft for the ground support of the foot slogger. Indeed, the evolution of Army Aviation is a fascinating history to behold.