Sunday, February 2, 2020

The Georgia Guard Fields the OV-1 Mohawk

By Maj. William Carraway
Historian, Georgia Army National Guard
An OV-1 Mohawk piloted by Capt. K. B. Pearce makes its first flight from Winder Airport. Georgia Guard Archives

Aviation units of the Georgia Army National Guard first received the OV-1 Mohawk Aircraft Feb. 2, 1970.[1] The first two Mohawks to arrive were flown from the Grumman Aircraft Company in Stuart Florida to the headquarters of the 151st Aviation Battalion in Winder by Capt. John Towler and Capt. K. B. Pearce. The 151st was the first National Guard aviation unit to field the Mohawk. In addition to the 158th and 159th Aviation Companies which flew the OV-1 Mohawk, the 151st consisted of the 1140th Transportation Company. In 1970, the 151st had an aggregate strength of 762 Soldiers.

A CH-54 Skycrane of the 1160th Trans Co. lifts an
OV-1 Mohawk from Winder to the Ga. State 
Fairgrounds in 1977.
The OV1 Mohawk was a sophisticated two-seat reconnaissance aircraft capable of detecting enemy forces with infra-red and side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) technology. The twin turboprop aircraft had been used to monitoring the demilitarized zone in Korea and for reconnaissance efforts in Vietnam to provide surveillance for ground units irrespective or weather conditions.

Aviators of the 151st and its subordinate units, the 158th and 159th Aviation Companies, completed initial training on the OV-1 airframe in the summer of 1969 during annual training at Fort Lewis. An additional ten weeks of transition training was required for pilots to qualify on the Mohawk. This training included seven weeks at Fort Rucker, Ala. followed by three weeks at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

The 151st conducted their first operational training June 27 to July 11, 1970 at Savannah Municipal Airport where the unit flew more than 80 missions.[2] Six Mohawk crews flew more than 130 hours in day and nighttime conditions. In addition to the skills developed by the aircraft pilots and technical observers, the unit’s photograph technicians and imagery observers were provided with a steady stream of imagery for analysis.

[1] The Georgia Guardsman Magazine. Now it’s Mohawk Country. Jan-Mar 1970, 2
[2] The Georgia Guardsman Magazine. 80 Mohawk Missions Flown from Savannah.  July to September 1970, 8

1 comment:

  1. My father, D. Kirby Rutherford, was a technical observer during those early Mowhawk yrs for the GA NG


Blog Archive