The 449th CAB began 1 October 1987 as an Aviation Group Headquarters in Kinston, N.C — associated with the 18th Airborne Corps, then the 11th Aviation Regiment under 5th Corps. The aviators served in Bosnia and completed three National Training Center (NTC) rotations from 1999 to 2003. Domestic service includes hurricanes Fran, Floyd and Katrina. Additionally, the 449th provided both personnel and equipment to Operation Jump Start on the southwest border.
In 2000, the 449th Aviation Group reintegrated into the 18th Airborne Corps as the 18th Aviation Brigade's lift and assault group headquarters.
The 449th became a Theater Aviation Brigade Headquarters (TAB) 12 September 2006, providing command and control of assault assets for the 66th Theater Aviation Command. The 449th TAB deployed to Iraq in November 2008 and assumed the role of Multi-National Division – Central Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) at Baghdad International Airport. In March 2009, they gained additional battle space and controlled the largest battle space for any CAB in theater.
The current brigade patch was creating during the deployment in 2008 and is symbolic to the unit's history. The wings represent flight and the sword refers to the numeral one, recalling the Brigade's ties to the birthplace of powered flight in North Carolina and the unit motto, "First in Flight."
In September of 2017 the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade, commanded by LTC Joseph Bishop and Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Shorter, deployed as a CAB in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield. The CAB became a multi-component unit comprised of 14 states and active-duty units to include: 1-244th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 248th Aviation Support Battalion, 2-17 Cavalry Regiment, 7-17 Cavalry Regiment, 4-4 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, B Company, 229 Aviation Regiment, F Company, 227 Aviation Regiment and the 1-126th General Support Aviation Battalion, which included Soldiers from the 2-130th Aviation Operations Battalion (-) and 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment (-).
The Brigade spanned ten locations and five countries to include Iraq, Syria, Kuwait and Turkey providing unified land operations with Coalition partners, lift assets, medical evacuations (MEDEVAC) aerial reconnaissance and attack operations in order to maintain a flexible and lethal force in the Middle East.
Between both theaters, the CAB conducted more than 185 partnership missions across multiple countries, to include Oman, Bahrain, Iraq and Jordan. The CAB conducted more than 36,000 flight hours to include: 1,500 distinguished visitor moves, 1600 personnel transports, 53,000 pounds of cargo transports, 170 MEDEVAC missions and 450 air weapons team (AWT) utilizations.
The 449th CAB cased their colors August 28, 2018, signifying the successful completion of their 9-month deployment and transferred authority to the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade at Camp Taji, Iraq. The 449th TAB was officially re-organized into a Combat Aviation Brigade 1 October 2021.
The North Carolina Units under the 449th CAB are the 1-130th Attack Battalion (AB), Charlie Company, 1-131st Assault Helicopter Battalion, 2-130th Airfield Operations Battalion, Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 2-151st Aviation Battalion, Det. 2, Bravo Company, 1-126th Aviation Regiment, Det. 2, Charlie Company, 1-126th Aviation Regiment, Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 638 Aviation Support Battalion, and the 677th and 430th Engineer Detachments.
C/1-131st Assault Company(984)-661-6546
DET 17 OSA
DET 1 CO B 2-151st AVN(984)-661-6356
DET 1 CO B 638th AVN SPT BN(984)-661-6317
DET 2 CO B 1-126th AVN REG
DET 2 CO C 1-126th AVN REG
677th ENG DET (FFTG)(984)-661-6356
430th ENG DET (FFTG)(984)-661-6546
Commander:COL Michele P. Harper (919)-664-6149
Sergeant Major:CSM Matthew S. Shorter (704)-639-7750
CCWO:CW5 Tom McAuliffe (984)-661-6223