Brief History of Avel and LEM units in Vietnam
Historical information is always welcome!

 

 There were four Avel (Aviation Electronics Support Company) Companies in Vietnam. They were Avel Far North, Avel North, Avel Central and Avel South. Their mission was to provide avionics general support for all of the Army helicopter units in Vietnam.  All of the Avel units came under the command of the 34th General Support Group, USARV. 

Until early 1966, supply and maintenance for the Army's aircraft in the Republic of Vietnam came under the control of the US. Army Support Command. This organization was composed of two Transportation Battalions (Aircraft Maintenance and Supply) the 14th with one direct support company and the 765th with one general and two direct support companies. Supply support was handled by the Aviation Supply Point at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, which was carrying 8,000 line items in support of 660 aircraft.

 

Major General John Norton, then Commanding General of the US Army Support Command, Vietnam, realized that his organization would be unable to handle the large aircraft buildup projected for 1965 and 1966. To meet this problem, General Norton appointed an ADHOC committee arid gave it the project of creating an aviation logistical support organization capable of meeting the demands of the projected aircraft buildup.

The committee was given two guidelines. First, the new organization should be structured to provide one-stop maintenance (i.e., support at one location not only for the aircraft, but for its associated avionics and weapons systems as well). Secondly, the new organization should be able to grow with the expected buildup of aircraft.

Based on the recommendations of the committee, the 34th General Support Group (Aircraft Maintenance and Supply) was formed provisionally in November 1965. It was activated in January 1966 and given the responsibility of providing command and control of assigned and attached units performing the aircraft, avionics and air armament maintenance functions in the Republic of Vietnam". This mission included aircraft maintenance and supply support for all Free World Forces in Vietnam.

Upon activation, the Group was composed of the 14th and 765th Transportation Battalions, along with assets drawn from the Army Support Command. During the first year of its existence, two more battalions were brought to Vietnam and placed under the control of 34th Group. The 58th Transportation Battalion (Aircraft Maintenance and Supply) (General Support) and the Floating Aircraft Maintenance Facility (FAMF), 1st Transportation Battalion (Seaborne) raised the Group's strength to four battalions. In March 1967, another General Support Aircraft Maintenance and Supply Battalion-the 520th was added, and in February 1968, the US. Army Aviation Materiel Management Center (AMMC) was placed under the operational control of the Group.

With the addition of these organizations, the 34th Group was able to render general support to all Army aircraft in Vietnam. It provided back-up direct support to divisional units in-country, including the 101st Airborne, Americal, 4th Infantry, 25th Infantry, and the 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) as well as the 1st Aviation Brigade. Other USARV aviation units receive direct support from the 34th Group.

In addition to meeting the needs of US. Army aviation, 34th Group also provided logistical support to elements of the Royal Australian Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force, Royal Thai Army, US. Navy, US. Air Force, and the US. Marines.

Avel Far North was activated on 20 February 1968 and deactivated in December 1969 when it was redesignated the 263rd Light Equipment Maintenance Company. The 263rd LEM was officially deactivated on 1 April 1972.

Avel North was activated on 1 January 1966 and deactivated on 1 December 1969 when it was redesignated the 614th Light Equipment Maintenance Company.  The 614th LEM was officially deactivated on 15 January 1972.

Avel South was activated on 1 January 1966 and decativated on 1 December 1969 when it was redesignated the 317th Light Equipment Maintenance Company.  The 317th LEM was officially deactivated on 1 April 1972.

Avel Central was activated on 1 January 1966.

 

  The 34th General Support Group was transferred to the control of the 1st Aviation Brigade in December 1971. It remained under the control of the 1st Aviation Brigade until it stood down on 30 November 1972. 

Avel Central served longer than any of the other Avel Companies. It was activated on 1 January 1966 and finally deactivated on 29 April 1972.

The war was over for us but it would drag on for a couple more months until it finally ended officially for the United States. It would be a lot longer before we were welcomed home.