Army Aviation was first organized in Mississippi in 1948 to support artillery units in the northern part of the state and Hattiesburg in the south. These aviation units were located at Grenada Airport 100 miles north of Jackson. In January 1951, all army aviation units in Mississippi were ordered to active duty and sent to Fort Jackson, SC. Six of the original ten aviators saw combat duty in Korea. The Grenada facility was closed during this time leaving no active army aviation programs in Mississippi.
In early 1953, the Mississippi Aviation program was reorganized at Hawkins Field in Jackson. Mississippi received its first helicopters, two Bell OH-13s, in 1954. By 1958, the program had expanded to include a total of 40 aviators.
The Mississippi Army Aviation program began operations as separate companies in 1959 and continued until 1968. During this time full time maintenance support facilities were opened in Tupelo and Meridian.
The state’s first aviation battalion, the 131st Aviation Battalion, was formed on 15 February 1968 as the result of a major reorganization. The 131st was in service until 1986 when it was restructured to be the state’s first aviation group (131st Aviation Group). In 1987, the 131st was redesignated as the 185th Aviation Group.
In 1992, Company E, 185th Aviation in Meridian was redesignated Company G. This resulted in the company’s CH-54 Sky Cranes being replaced by the twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook medium lift helicopter. In 1994 the mission of Company C, 1-185th Aviation in Tupelo was changed to armed aerial assault using the OH-58D/I Kiowa Warrior. Company C was then redesignated Company H, 185th Aviation. During 1996 Companies C and D, 1-185th Aviation in Jackson replaced their aging UH-1Hs with the MH-60 Blackhawk.
On 01 October 1999, Company H was reformed as Company D, 1-159th Aviation, Fort Bragg, NC. They are one of the first reserve component units in the nation to be part of an active component aviation battalion. The company is still located in Tupelo, MS.
Aviation assets under the 185th that are presently located in Mississippi are the 1-185th Aviation Battalion (MH-60 Blackhawk) at Tupelo, MS and Jackson, MS; Company B, 1-111th Aviation (CH-47 Chinook) at Meridian, MS; Company C, 1-114th Aviation (RAID) at Jackson, MS; TRP D, E, F 1-104th CAV (AH-64 Apache) Tupelo, MS; and 232nd AOD (ATS) at Southaven, MS.
HQ, 185th AVN was deployed to Iraq and stationed at Balad, Iraq for OIF-2 from Nov 2003 to Dec 2004. The 185th Served as the Aviation BDE and controlled all Aviation assets in the country of Iraq during their deployment. The 185th Group returned on 24 Dec 2004.
On September 2006 the 185th Avn Gp was redesignated to the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade. The 185th Aviation Brigade is the name it carries today.