The United States Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as Night Stalkers, is a special operations force of the United States Army that provides helicopter aviation support for general purpose forces and special operations forces. Its missions have included attack, assault, and reconnaissance, and are usually conducted at night, at high speeds, low altitudes, and on short notice.
The 160th SOAR consists of the Army’s best-qualified aviators, Crew Chiefs and support soldiers. Officers volunteer while enlisted soldiers volunteer or are assigned by the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. All soldiers receive intensive training upon joining the 160th and are required to pass the Green Platoon course. The basic Night Stalker course for enlisted soldiers lasts five weeks; the officer course lasts 20 to 28 weeks.
A new Night Stalker arrives to his unit Basic Mission Qualified (BMQ), after a series of test qualifications, experience and leadership, the Night Stalker is designated Fully Mission Qualified (FMQ). After three to five years as an FMQ, the Night Stalker will have the chance to assess for flight lead qualification. The 160th previously recruited only men for combat positions, but as of June 2013 has opened those positions to women as well.