18th 54th 18th CAC Aviation Association

339th Transportation Company DS/GS

This is Always


18th Aviation Company's First Softball Team @ Ft. Riley, KS.

The unit started ATP in July 1960.

The unit completed ATP in October 1960.

The first Army Training Test was held from 2 November to 5 November 1960. A grade of Excellent was attained.

On 2 December 1960 the 18th Aviation Company was designated as a STRAC unit.

Change of Command

Captain Murray was reassigned as Commanding Officer of the A.O.D. Marshall AAF, leaving the command of the 18th to Major Richard H. Scott as of 15 February 1961.

The 18th Aviation Company was called upon to support numerous activities of the Army which sent them to many different parts of the United States. In April three (3) Otters to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in support of the National Parachute meet.

In May 1961 the unit had gone one complete year accident free, an outstanding accomplishment.

Beginning June through August 1961 One (1) Otter to the Engineer Research & Development Laboratory for the purpose of testing the Airborne Tellurometer equipment.

June 1961 three (3) Otters to Fort Eustis, Virginia for Operation Air Mobility and two Otters to Fort Campbell, Kentucky for transporting personnel.

Change of Command

In September 1961 another change of command took place as Major Scott was transferred to Alaska and Captain Robert L. Felix assumed command on 2 September. 

Change of Command

Captain Felix received orders to attend the Aviation Safety Course at the University of California until December 1961. Captain William D. Brandon assumed command in the absence of Captain Felix.

In October 1961 the ATP started again in preparation for the coming AIT in January, unaware the unit would never complete it prior to its shipment overseas.

The period that followed was filled with extensive preparation for the coming movement, destination unknown.

Pre-production photo of 5-3256 and 5-3257 at Marshall Air Field Ft. Riley, Kansas.

(Gerald L. Royals Col, USA, (Ret) - Photo Credit)

This photo will be in the photo section for era 59.  As I recall the story these two Otters 5-53247 and 3248 were also 18th Otters and they came from a European deactivated unit.  Finally enclosed for this era is the order to pick up 5-81707 attached to the unit history (below).
Orders to pickup A/C #5-81707 from Toronto Canada (Sent in by Gerald L. Royals, Col, USA, (Ret)) 

The 18th Aviation Company was established on 1 May 1959 at Ft. Riley, Kansas as a Fixed Wing Light Transport (FWLT) unit.  It had received its 1st Otter tail no 5-81705 from DHC on 18 March 1959 and on 10 October 1959 the unit received its final Otter tail no 5-92205.  

These 16 Otters brought the unit up to it’s authorize strength.  The company first mission was a long range medevac from Ft. Riley, Kansas to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver.  Training mass troop lifts and re-supply missions were the standard tasks for the Otters flying out of Marshall AAF, at Fort Riley, Kansas.

Operation Dragon Head

During Oct/Nov 1959 seven of the Otters went to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in support of Dragon Head. 

 Change of Command

Captain Richard J. Murray assumed command of the 18th from Major Robert D. McClanahan on 26 October 1959.

First Softball Team
Marshall Army Air Field, Fort Riley Kansas

Home of the 1st Infantry Division

In 1955 the 1st Infantry Division left Germany and relocated to Fort Riley, Kansas.

The post was selected as the home of the 14th Army Aviation Company in June 1955. Activated as a Fixed-Wing Tactical Transport unit, it was the first of its type and flew the 11-seat De Havilland U-1 Otter.

Big news arrived on 21 July 1955, with receipt of a directive to activate the first Army Aviation Unit Training Command (AAUTC) at Fort Riley. The creation of the AAUTC was the result of the rapid expansion in Army aviation units in the mid-1950s.

Seeking to utilize existing resources, the Department of the Army established two AAUTCs in 1955: one at Fort Riley and one at Fort Sill.

71st Transportation Battalion (Helicopter)

On 28 June 1954, the 71st Transportation Battalion was re-designated as the 71st Transportation Battalion (Helicopter) and was activated at Fort Riley, Kansas on 19 July 1954. This new battalion was the first of its kind to prepare helicopter companies as combat ready units for assignment overseas.

The 71st Transportation Battalion was assigned the training mission on 24 January 1956, and the AAUTC became operational on 18 February 1956, making it the first of its kind in the Army.

On 20 March 1956, three H-12 helicopters of one of the companies assigned to the Battalion accomplished one of its most memorable feats when they endured sub-zero temperatures, plus ice and snow, to scale the tricky slopes and land atop Pikes Peak, Colorado, to set a new altitude record at 14,110 feet.

The 18th Aviation Company Fixed Wing Light Transport (Otters) activated at Ft Riley, Kansas on 1 May 1959 and flew the 11-seat De Havilland U-1A Otters.

The first "Otter" (5-81695) was received on 18 March 1959 from the DeHavilland Corporation.

The first mission assigned to the 18th Aviation Company was a Medical Evacuation (Medavac) to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

Assumption of Command

Major Robert D. McClanahan assumed command of the newly formed 18th Aviation Company at Fort Riley, Kansas on 1 May 1959.

Master Sergeant Donald L. Rees became the initial First Sergeant.

The first reenlistment in the 18th Aviation Company was Sergeant First Class Adam E. Naines, for a period of 6 years in an "Otter" flying at 1,500 feet. The oath was administered by Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth F. Langland and was witnessed by Major McClanahan.

This article sent in by then Captain Gerald Royals – Army, Colonel (Retired)

I was the S-1 for the 71st Transportation Battalion and when the 80th Light Helicopter Company departed for Alaska. Department of the Army decided to activate the 18th Aviation Company at Marshall Army Air Field, Ft. Riley, Kansas.

I believe the first pilot assigned to the 18th was Lt/Capt. Carl Yoder (still flying). Capt Ray Smith was the only Otter qualified pilot at Ft. Riley.  He was transferred from the 1st Inf. Division’s, 1st Aviation Company.  Capt Raymond G. Smith was the CO of the aircraft field maintenance detachment, a TD outfit assigned to provide 3rd echelon maintenance to all of the aircraft at Ft. Riley. 

As Capt Ray Smith was the only Otter qualified pilot at Ft. Riley and when the call came to pick up the units first Otter a/c in Toronto, Canada, I went with Ray and he subsequently checked me out in the Otter.  We picked up a/c #5-81707 the first unit Otter delivered to Ft Riley on April 2, 1959.  I think the a/c received were somewhat sequential, I can remember 5-81708, 09, 10, and 15.  I can also recall 5-92203 and 05. 

I flew approximately 150 hours in the 18th a/c and in September 59 I was reassigned from S-1 to XO of the 81st Transportation Helicopter Company.  For all practical purposes my Otter days at Ft. Riley were over.  I was a new pilot and every trip was an exciting one.

The 18th Aviation Company @ Fort Riley, Kansas

1 May 1959 - 31 December 1961