Albany, NY - September 7, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the deployment of 450 New York National Guard soldiers to Kuwait. The Soldiers will deploy to Kuwait later this fall to provide helicopter aviation support to American military forces based in that country following a post-mobilization training process at Fort Hood, Texas. Many of the service members preparing for deployment helped their neighbors recover from Superstorm Sandy.
“These Citizen Soldiers were there to help countless New Yorkers in need during Superstorm Sandy and now they stand ready to help their country overseas," Governor Cuomo said. “Our thanks, prayers and best wishes for these brave men and women who serve our country, our state and its citizens to come back to us safely."
The 180 Latham based Soldiers will hold their mobilization ceremony at 10.30 a.m. Saturday morning at Shaker High School in Watervliet.
The Soldiers belong to the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade; a headquarters unit based at the Albany International Airport in Latham, and Company A, 3rd Battalion 142nd Aviation Regiment which flies UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters at Albany International Airport.
A separate ceremony for 175 Soldiers assigned to Companies B and C of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion will also be held at 10 a.m. Saturday morning at St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue.
Company A of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion will hold a send-off ceremony for 50 Soldiers at Southwestern Central High School in Jamestown at 10 a.m. on Saturday, as well.
The Soldiers of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion provide aviation maintenance and logistical support to Army helicopter units.
Finally, the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion’s Headquarters Company will hold a Sunday morning mobilization ceremony for 100 Soldiers at the Army National Guard’s Rochester flight facility at Rochester International Airport at 10 a.m.
All these units, as well as additional non-New York units, will fall under the command of Col. Albert Ricci, commander of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade when they deploy to Kuwait.
The 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade will take command of 400 Soldiers of the Army's 4th Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment, an Attack Reconnaissance Battalion based at Fort Hood which flies the AH-64 D Apache "Longbow" attack helicopter. The brigade will also be assigned the 400 troops of the 3rd Battalion 238th General Support Aviation Battalion which is a Michigan National Guard aviation unit with some elements from the Delaware National Guard.
A General Support Aviation Battalion includes UH-60 helicopters configured as Air Ambulances for medical evacuation, UH-60 used in the command and control role to move key personnel around the country, and CH-47 heavy lift helicopters which can move up to 30 troops and large amounts of cargo.
The three New York National Guard elements will mobilize for federal duty at different times during the month of September so they are holding their mobilization ceremony at the beginning of the month.
The Soldiers will be on federal active duty for 12 months and spend about nine months in Kuwait.
Members of the media interested in covering these events should contact the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Public Affairs Office at 518-786-4581.