On March 23, Captain Ricardo Kirk’s birth date, we commemorate the Army Aviation Day. This date was chosen as a tribute to the Army hero who brought, in a pioneering way, Military Aviation to Brazil, increasing the combat capacity of our Land Force.
Historically, the use of aerial means began in 1867, when the then Marquis of Caxias used captive balloons to observe enemy troops in the War of the Triple Alliance. From then on, the importance of using airborne vehicles in combat became evident.
First-Lieutenant Ricardo Kirk – who was already recognized within the Force for his relationship with aeronautical activities – was sent to France to complete a full pilot training course. He returned on October 22, 1912, as the first pilot of the Brazilian Army.
During the Battle of Contestado, on January 19, 1915, he made the first combat airplane flight in Brazil, with the mission of reconnoitering the conflict zone. However, later, during the same conflict, Ricardo Kirk was involved in a fatal plane crash.
His premature death, however, did not erase his ideals. In 1918, a delegation of the French Military Mission arrived in Brazil to support the creation of Military Aviation, and soon the Military Aviation School was inaugurated in Rio de Janeiro.
About 20 years later, in 1941, in order to centralize the aerial means, facilities and specialized personnel and thus increase Brazil’s combat capacity, the Military Aviation became a responsibility of the newly created Brazilian Air Force. However, this would not be the end of the Aviation of the Land Force.
As the years went by, it became clear, after analyzing the various conflicts around the world, that the use of aviation was essential to the Land Force. On September 3rd, 1986, by Decree 93.206, the Army Aviation was officially created, with its first facilities located in the city of Taubaté, in the state of São Paulo.
After 37 years, our Aviation is present throughout the country through its four operational battalions – the 1st and 2nd BAvEx, located in Taubaté (SP), the 3rd BAvEx, in Campo Grande (MS), and the 4th BAvEx, in Manaus (AM) – and all command and support units that help the Army Aviation to be always ready. Besides these, it is important to highlight the recently created Army Aviation Detachment, located in the city of Belém (PA), which is already in operation.
Always in search of technological innovation, flight safety and combat capacity, the Army Aviation keeps its personnel in constant improvement and professionalization, operating today the Jaguar, Black Hawk, Cougar, Pantera and Fennec aircrafts.
Army Aviation provides organic aeromobility to the Land Force, being present in practically all operations. Law and order assurance, participation in federal interventions, guarantee of voting and elections, aeromobile infiltrations and exfiltrations, rescue and evacuation of the wounded, support to special border platoons and to the Brazilian people in the most remote areas, are only a few examples of the diverse missions carried out by this specialized troop of the Army.
Army Aviation fulfills all of its missions, without compromising flight safety, the improvement and professionalization of its personnel, and technological innovation, which is clearly visible in the implementation of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, currently underway.
On this day, let us praise the Wings of the Land Force: the Army Aviation. May its members always be in search of new possibilities, facing and overcoming challenges with the same determination of the pioneers, eternalized in its patron, Captain Ricardo Kirk. May enthusiasm, dedication and constant technical improvement continue to guide Army Aviation. May the noble and indescribable feeling of flying be present in the daily life of the aviators of the Land Force, of those who fly and of those who make others fly, always safely and with the necessary audacity to face the clouds and skies of our Brazil.