LATHAM, New York – Five New York Army National Guard Soldiers who operate a C-12 transport plane based at the Army Aviation Support Facility are headed to East Africa this month to support U.S. forces.
The five Soldiers, and a sixth Soldier who will deploy halfway through the nine-month rotation, were honored Nov. 6 during a ceremony at the flight facility.
The aviation Soldiers will be based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. They will join 1,100 New York Army National Guard Soldiers already deployed in the region to provide security at U.S. facilities.
Five Soldiers will mobilize Nov. 12 and report to Fort Bliss, Texas, for additional training Nov. 15.
The Soldiers are members of Detachment 5 of C Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 245th Aviation Regiment, which provides passenger transport for military and Department of Defense personnel.
The farewell ceremony was held before Nov. 12 because it was a drill weekend for his Soldiers and the 42nd Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, whose members wanted to attend the ceremony, according to Chief Warrant Officer 5 James McCauley, the detachment commander.
Col. Jason Lefton, the commander of the aviation brigade, said the detachment’s Soldiers were prepared for their mission.
Sgt. Victoria Kingman, an aviation operations specialist who was promoted during the ceremony, said she was looking forward to the deployment.
“I think I am going to learn a lot over there, especially with the group I am in,” Kingman said.
There are a lot of experienced aviators in the detachment, Kingman explained.
Her job, she said, will be to help the pilots coordinate their missions as they fly people and equipment around the region.
The C-12 Huron is the military version of the Model 200 Super King Air civilian executive aircraft. The plane has a pilot and co-pilot and can carry seven passengers and cargo at 330 mph.
The New York aviators will deploy alongside four Kentucky Army National Guard Soldiers.
They will be flying planes already at Camp Lemonnier. The Latham-based detachment’s C-12 aircraft will be relocated to West Virginia while they are deployed.
The battalion has detachments responsible for ferrying military passengers at Army National Guard aviation bases across the country.
The New York National Guard C-12 detachment will be the command element for the mission, with plans to return to New York in August.
The 1,100 New York National Guard troops already in the region are from the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment, and the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment. They operate as Task Force Wolfhound under Lt. Col. Shawn Tabankin, 69th Infantry Battalion commander.
The New York Army National Guard has also deployed 140 Soldiers to Germany to help train the Ukrainian army. Another 600 Soldiers are on duty in Kuwait.