The 16th Combat Aviation Group was formed in battle on 23 January 1968 under USARPAC General Order number 131. The unit was activated at Marble Mountain, Danang in the northern most part of south Vietnam. At the time of activation, the 16th Combat Aviation Group was formed from two battalions, the 14th Combat Aviation Battalion and the 212th Combat Support Aviation Battalion with a total combat force 3300 personnel.
Provisionally established in October 2005 at Fort Wainwright, Alaska Task Force 49 originally oversaw 4-123d Aviation Battalion, 1-52d Aviation Battalion, 68th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), and C-123d Aviation Maintenance Company. In February 2006, Task Force 49 was formally established, 4-123d Aviation Battalion was inactivated and 1-52d Aviation Battalion was reorganized into a General Support Aviation Battalion. 6-17th Cavalry Squadron and elements from the 209th Aviation Support Battalion were relocated from Wheeler Army Air Base, Hawaii to Fort Wainwright, Alaska in May 2006. While not part of the 16th CAB lineage, 6-17 CAV was under the command and control of 16th CAB from May 2006 to July 2011.
Beginning in July 2007, TF 49 had company elements continuously deployed for 31 consecutive months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first unit to deploy from Task Force 49 was the CH-47 based Task Force Dragon, composed primarily of B Company, 1-52d Aviation Battalion. Task Force Dragon supported two marine aircraft wings in Al Anbar, Iraq from July 2007 to August 2008.
From November 2007 to December 2008, HHC, Task Force 49, deployed, and assumed command of the Multi-National Corps Iraq Aviation Brigade in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and in July 2008, HHC Task Force 49 assumed command of the Multi-National Division-Center Aviation Brigade at Baghdad International Airport Iraq.
6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry deployed as Task Force Saber to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 08-09 with D Company, 123rd attached. The Squadron was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for their performance in Northern Iraq from July 2008 to July 2009.
In November 2008, C/1-52 Med deployed for a year in support of OIF 08-10 and was assigned to Multi-National Division South, where they flew over 1000 combat MEDEVAC missions and saved countless lives.
From February 2009 to February 2010, the GSABs Command Aviation Company, A/1-52, deployed to Iraq in support of MND-Center and MND-South. Throughout all of the brigades operational requirements in support of the Global War on Terror, C/123d AVIM deployed detachments and provided outstanding aircraft maintenance support.
On 16 October 2009, Headquarters and Headquarters Company Task Force 49 was re-designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, and activated at Fort Wainwright, Alaska becoming the Armys twelfth active duty Combat Aviation Brigade.
16th CABs first operational deployment was in August 2010 to provide Humanitarian Assistance to Pakistan. Task Force Denali, consisting of elements from 1-52 GSAB, C/123d AVIM and HHC/BDE, conducted a 100-day operation in response to Pakistans flood disaster.
In February 2011, 6-17 CAV and C/1-52 Medevac deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan respectively. 1-229 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (AH-64), stationed at Fort Hood, Texas joined the 16th CAB in July 2010. 1-229th deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn in March 2011. In June, 2011, 1-52 deployed Team Denali, a CH-47 based unit, to Operation Enduring Freedom to support operations in southern Afghanistan.
On 15 June, 2011, the 16th CAB cased the Brigades colors at Fort Wainwright, Alaska and moved the Headquarters and Headquarters Company to Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington.
The colors were uncased at JBLM on 1 August, 2011, along with the activation of 2-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion (AHB) and 46th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB).