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Home : News
NEWS | Jan. 20, 2023

NY Army Guard Aviation Soldiers Mobilize for Mideast Mission

By Eric Durr, New York National Guard

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Almost 400 New York Army National Guard Soldiers will leave for a deployment to Kuwait.

The Soldiers from Rochester, Dunkirk and Long Island will train in Pennsylvania and Texas before heading to the Middle East for 10 months.

Some 350 Soldiers are assigned to the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion, trained to provide logistics and maintenance support to the helicopter units of an Army combat aviation brigade.

Forty-five Soldiers are members of Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th General Support Aviation Battalion, and fly CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters.

The 642nd Aviation has elements in Rochester and Dunkirk in western New York and in Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma on Long Island. The battalion is part of the New York Army National Guard’s 42nd Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade.

The 642nd will conduct farewell ceremonies at the Army Aviation Support Facilities in Rochester and Ronkonkoma.

The Soldiers from Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th General Support Aviation Battalion, will participate in the Rochester ceremony.

The 642nd will train for two weeks at Fort Indiantown Gap near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and for about two months in Fort Hood, Texas, before deploying to Kuwait.

The Soldiers from Bravo Company will also train at Fort Indiantown Gap and Fort Hood. They will be under the control of their battalion at Fort Hood and in Kuwait while they fly missions to support Army forces in the region.

The 642nd will support the Mississippi Army National Guard’s 185th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade during operations throughout the region. 

The 642nd Aviation Support Battalion deployed to Kuwait in 2013 and 2014 as part of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, conducting support operations across the Middle East.

In 2005, the battalion, then known as the 642nd Divisional Aviation Support Battalion, deployed to Tikrit, Iraq, as part of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade and the 42nd Infantry Division.

During that deployment, the battalion conducted 180 combat logistics patrols covering nearly 60,000 miles while repelling multiple attacks by insurgent forces. The unit also recovered three downed aircraft.

During the deployment, two purple hearts were awarded and six vehicles were lost to enemy fire, but no Soldiers were killed.

In New York, Soldiers of the battalion responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and supported operations after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th General Support Aviation Battalion is a New York Army National Guard aviation company that is part of an aviation battalion headquartered in Massachusetts.

The Soldiers fly the CH-47F helicopter, the largest in the Army’s inventory.

The company deployed to Afghanistan, where the heavy lift and high-altitude capabilities of the CH-47 were vital. The unit served in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008, 2012 and 2013, and 2018.

Soldiers from the company participated in state responses to Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the “Snowvember” Storm in 2014. Last fall, the unit deployed an aircraft and crew to Florida to help respond to Hurricane Ian.

In May, a Bravo Company CH-47 recovered a pontoon in danger of sweeping over Niagara Falls.

Currently, 1,800 New York Army National Guard Soldiers are deployed overseas.

The 369th Sustainment Brigade has deployed 260 Soldiers in Kuwait, supporting the 10,000 Army Soldiers of Task Force Spartan.

The 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation, a UH-60 helicopter unit based in Latham and Ronkonkoma, has 250 troops deployed in Kuwait.

The 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, along with companies from the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry, and the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry — 1,130 Soldiers — are operating in the Horn of Africa, securing U.S. military facilities in the area.

And in Germany, 140 Soldiers of Task Force Orion, from the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, are training Ukrainian soldiers as part of the U.S. support for that nation’s war effort.