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160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
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Night Stalkers Unit History
The US Army owes its modern night-fighting aviation capabilities to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), headquartered at Ft. Campbell, KY. Originally formed from attachments of the 101st Airborne Division, after years of development, training and deployments it has become the world’s most elite special operations night-operating aviation force.
Employing heavily modified Chinook, Black Hawk, and assault and attack configurations of Little Bird helicopters and unmanned-aerial-systems, they are exceptionally well-trained and ready to accomplish the very toughest missions in all environments, anywhere in the world, day or night, with unparalleled precision. They are commonly called the Night Stalkers because of their ability to strike undetected during night-time operations.
Since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, units of the Night Stalkers have been continuously and actively engaged in special operations combat deployments around the world.
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Families of the Fallen
We make a solemn vow to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice — to honor their memory and care for their families. Throughout the history of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), many Night Stalkers have given their lives for their country.
There are currently nearly 100 Names on the Wall of Honor. Whether in combat or during their intense training, we have seen brave Soldiers pay the ultimate price and their families feel the impact for a lifetime. Our Gold Star families, those who have lost a Soldier in combat, and the families of our fallen Night Stalkers lost in training, deserve and need our support. The Night Stalker Foundation (NSF) provides emotional and financial support for these families through the Families of the Fallen Night Stalkers organization (FOFNS).
By helping to fund the programs of the FOFNS, the NSF fulfills the promise made to our brave men and women, to leave no one behind.
Wall of Honor Inductees
Service in the 160th is a calling only a few will answer because the mission is constantly demanding and hard. A Night Stalker’s service commitment also has a direct impact on their ability to provide education opportunities for their family.
When Soldiers of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment have children reaching college age, they often find that their financial needs cannot be met on their military pay. As a result, many of these well-trained Soldiers, who’ve undergone extensive training and the Army has put a significant investment in, find they must leave the military for higher-paying civilian jobs.
The Night Stalker Foundation’s original mission was to provide financial assistance for the academic endeavors of the Soldiers and families of the 160th SOAR (ABN). In the last eight years, The Foundation has awarded over $1.1 million in scholarships. Our need is well beyond this number.
Most Scholarships are awarded in the name of a fallen Soldier of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). These scholarships are named, in perpetuity, after our fallen in remembrance of their patriotism and the ultimate sacrifice paid by them in service to their country.
These scholarships are sponsored by corporate and private donations to our organization. There is an annual awards ceremony to announce the scholarship recipients and to recognize the donors and sponsors.
Beyond Scholarships, the NSF is now looking to enable “Transition Training/Assistance” for those Soldiers who must leave the unit. Through your support, the Foundation is looking to expand its programs to help those Soldiers who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life.
Since October 2001, the Regiment has been deployed for 17 years and counting. The Colors of this great organization have never returned home. Many of our Soldiers and their families have been with the unit since it was thrust into combat in 2001 and continue as those Soldiers remain deployed today. Many Soldiers and Aviators have been on 25 to 30 deployments.
Can you imagine that? These deployments amount to years of time in combat or training. The average aviation UAS (Drone) Crew can expect to spend between 180 to 270 days per year in training or in deployment.
Your freedom comes at a high cost, not just to the Night Stalker, but to his or her family, as well. We want to be there to help those families. We hope to expand our support to include emotional support groups and counseling as well as financial support for extraordinary life events.
The more we support their family, the more we demonstrate our commitment to these elite Soldiers and help ease their needs at home.
The very nature of the top-secret operations conducted by the 160th SOAR (ABN) requires a high level of secrecy. As a result, their heroic efforts are known to relatively few people and most of them are associated with this unit by having served in it or through their friends and family. The population at large generally knows only what they read about the 160th in the book, “Blackhawk Down” or by seeing a movie. Yet, there is a much broader, richer narrative to be told to preserve the legacy of those who have served in this elite unit. The NSF is committed to maintaining the legacy of the 160th’s Soldiers and Families.
We always want to remember.