New York Army Guard sends 1,380 personnel for deployments in East Africa and Kuwait | Herald of Fort Hood
NEW YORK – Kicking off the largest mobilization of National Guard forces in New York in more than a decade, 1,380 New York Army National Guard soldiers have mobilized for deployments in Africa East and Kuwait since June 9.
Two hundred and fifty soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation departed for Fort Hood, Texas June 9-10 to prepare for deployment to Kuwait in support of U.S. Central Command.
On June 13 and 14, 1,130 troops from the 1st Battalion, 69th New York Infantry, along with companies from the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, and 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry, which together constitute Task Force Wolfhound, held farewells marking their deployment to the Horn of Africa.
They departed for Fort Drum, New York and will train there for two weeks, meeting all US Africa Command training requirements. Then they travel to Fort Bliss, Texas for two more months of training before heading to Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti as a security task force.
“When we hit the ground in Africa in September, it will be the closest battalion in the United States Army,” Lt. Col. Shawn Tabankin, commander of the 69th Infantry, told 600 soldiers at a ceremony on June 14 at Jacob Javits. Convention Center in Manhattan.
This is the largest year of deployment for the New York National Guard since 2008-2009, when the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deployed to Afghanistan, according to Maj. Gen. Michel Natali , Deputy Adjutant General of the New York National Guard, Army.
With the aviation battalion and task force built around the 69th Infantry, the New York National Guard will deploy the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion, 369th Sustainment Brigade, 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion and other small support elements to Kuwait before fall 2022. .
The 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation is an assault helicopter battalion that has companies and support elements at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Albany International Airport in Latham, New York and Long Island McArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, New York.
A training rotation to support units from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., in 2021 has gone a long way in preparing soldiers for deployment to the Middle East, said Lt. Col. Matt Green, commanding officer of the battalion.
Originally, only one assault helicopter company and a few support elements were to be deployed.
But that changed in late 2021 to include the two New York-based helicopter companies and most of the battalion headquarters and deployed support companies, Green said.
Company C of the battalion is split between the Maine and Connecticut National Guardsmen.
The battalion emphasized individual readiness during weekend training and annual training at Fort Drum, Green said. The battalion will focus on the collective training and skills needed to conduct and coordinate air assaults on Fort Hood, he added.
The battalion launched 11 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from Latham and 10 from Ronkonkoma following farewell ceremonies held on 9 June. The rest of the troops deployed by chartered aircraft.
Task Force Wolfhound, which takes its name from the Irish dog that is the official mascot of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, has been training for 18 months to be ready for the mission, Tabankin said.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant the battalion didn’t have the normal two-year training period to prepare, Tabankin said. That means traditional weekend drills have turned into four to five days of training to do it all, he said.
“Sometimes using a full week at Fort Dix was really the only way to achieve our individual, leader and team training goals,” Tabankin said.
In Djibouti, the task force will provide security at Camp Lemonnier, a former French Foreign Legion post used by the United States since 2002. They will also be tasked with security duties in remote locations, Tabankin said.
Mission requirements necessitated reaching out to the New York National Guard for soldiers, Tabankin said.
The 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry, and 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, which have units in upstate New York, each provided 130 companies of soldiers.
The task force also includes combat engineers from the 204th Engineer Battalion from Binghamton, a platoon from the 207th Military Police Company and Joint Tactical Air Controllers from the New York Air National Guard.
The 69th Infantry has a strong tradition of service in the Civil War, World War I, World War II and in Iraq in 2005, Tabankin told 600 soldiers and 1,000 family members at the farewell ceremony at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
The 69th Infantry was made up of Irish immigrants in the days before the Civil War. Today, the Citizen Soldiers of the 69th Infantry include immigrants from 33 different countries who share the service together, he pointed out.
“That fighting spirit of immigrants, which makes real New Yorkers, and the melting pot, which makes real Americans, continues to form a base of strength in this battalion,” Tabankin said.
Tabankin reiterated that message during a second farewell ceremony for 300 soldiers at the Nassau County Police Academy on Long Island.
Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York, also spoke at both farewell events.
“We know that today is a difficult day for many as it represents the start of a long absence of your loved ones in faraway places in Africa,” Shields said. “But it is also a day of immense pride and love for our state and our nation as these citizen soldiers step out to protect our freedoms.”
The farewell ceremony for troopers of the 101st Cavalry was held June 13 at Hobart and Smith College in Geneva, New York, while troops of the 108th Infantry held their farewell ceremony at Mohawk Community College in Utica, New York.
“It’s never easy to tell a loved one or a family member that you have to go,” said Sgt. Nicholas Murphy, a member of 101st Cavalry A Troop, following the Geneva event.
“Our number one priority in the Army National Guard is keeping the community safe, and then if we’re called to deploy, keeping our nation safe,” Murphy said.