Brian Haas joined the Army in May 1996 as a refueler, and from 1996 to 1999, he was refueling tanks at Fort Hood, Texas, and then Apaches in Illesheim, Germany. While in Germany, Brian made the rank of Sergeant, and applied for Warrant Officer Candidate School / Flight School. Brian achieved his goal by pinning his wings on May 10, 2000 and selected the Apache as his aircraft. His dream came true as he was assigned the AH-64D Apache Longbow, the world’s most technologically advanced and lethal attack helicopter.
Brian reported to Fort Hood to help form up 1/2 Attack Battalion, which would become the most forward deployed Longbow battalion at the time, and only the third Longbow battalion formed. After about a year of training up at Fort Hood, Brian left his family for a one-year tour at Camp Page, Korea. Brian got to Korea days prior to September 11, 2001. After a year of good training and good flying as a Paladin in B Company, he went back to Fort Hood and reported to the 1-227 Aviation Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division.
Brian finished his training at the new battalion with weeks to spare before deploying to Kuwait in 2003. On March 23rd, his unit took part in the deep strike against the Medina Division of the Republican Guard. With no ground support, their battalion suffered battle damage on 23 of the 24 aircraft. With the rest of 1st Cav Division put on hold, the 1-227 returned home to be with their division.
They weren’t home long, as the 1st Cav replaced 1st Armored Division within 6 months. This turned out to be a 15-month deployment, from 2004 – 2005, which included “the surge”. Brian’s company, the Reapers, were involved in the Mahdi Army Uprising in Sadr City, the Battle of Fallujah, the Battle of An Najaf, and daily missions throughout the Iraq Area of Operations, concentrating on Baghdad. The unit returned to Iraq from 2006 – 2007 for a 12-month tour. From 2004 to 2007, that included some of the hottest and most pitched battles in Iraqi Freedom. The aircraft were engaging or engaged on an almost daily basis. The 1-227 went to Iraq yet again from 2009 to 2010 for another 12-month tour. After four deployments to Iraq, Brian took a “breather” for two years at Fort Rucker, Alabama, putting his expertise to work helping write the new doctrine manuals.
At the end of 2012, Brian had to head back to the “real” Army, and headed up to 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, where they deployed to Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan in 2013. There, he was the senior Maintenance Test Pilot in a task force with up to 73 aircraft at one point, the largest aviation task force in history. In the Quality Control Shop, he was responsible for the safe maintenance of all aircraft, to include conducting test flights on those aircraft out of major maintenance. While not conducting maintenance, Brian was still flying missions about 3 times per week. In July of 2013, Brian had a hard landing that damaged the disk between the L5 and S1 vertebrae in his back. This exacerbated the chronic pain he had developed over the last years with the amount of flying they had been doing. Even after his injury Brian continued to fly for four more months, but his back continued to get worse. Eventually, the flight doctor told Brian he was going to be evacuated. He went to Bagram, to Germany, to Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland.
Brian spent nearly 3 years at Walter Reed until being released on November 13, 2016. In addition to the back injuries, Brian has a multitude of other injuries suffered through the time in the Army, to include PTSD.
Brian has over 1,550 hours of combat flight time, and more than 2,500 hours total earning his Master Wings. A typical time period, they would fly 13 out of 14 days, with anywhere from one major mission each flight up to six or seven missions per flight. Many times, they were the answer to a “911” call when ground troops got in contact. Brian has easily flown over 1,000 combat missions. His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal for Valorous Actions (x3), the Air Medal (x4), the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and a multitude of others.
Brian is now looking forward to spending his retirement in Purcellville, Virginia with his wife Jolyne, doing some traveling, spending time with family, and just relaxing. Baseball, hunting, fishing, cooking out, golf, and enjoying DC are just some of the plans that are going to be filling the time.
Brian is a huge Cannons Fan and he is a huge supporter of the Cannons in the Community. Brian is excited to join the Cannons Staff and help promote CannonsFever in Purcellville. Contact Brian to get set up as a Host Family today.