420 Army National Guard Soldiers returning to Long Island, Rochester area following Middle Eastern deployment

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Soldiers assigned to the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion, New York Army National Guard, stand in formation during a ceremony at Camp Buehring, Kuwait on July 14, 2023.

LATHAM, NY (01/22/2024) (readMedia)-- Four hundred and twenty-five New York Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to armories in Rochester, Dunkirk, and Farmingdale, who served in the Middle East during 2023 will be back at home by the end of January.

Three hundred and eighty Soldiers are assigned to the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion. Forty-five are members of B Company, of the 3rd Battalion, 126th General Support Aviation Battalion and fly CH-47F Chinook helicopters.

Some Soldiers who departed Kuwait early have already returned home. Most are expected back in New York at the end of January after completing out processing at Fort Cavazos, Texas.

The Soldiers of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion mobilized for their mission on January 22, 2023. They trained at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, and Fort Cavazos, before deploying to the Middle East in February, 2023.

The Soldiers were assigned to the Mississippi Army National Guard's 185th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade. The brigade provided aviation support to Task Force Spartan, the 10,000-Soldier Army force operating in the region.

The 642nd conducted maintenance on ground vehicles and aircraft, while also transporting supplies and providing support for the brigade's communication network. The battalion also provided personnel to help the 185th's support operations staff run an efficient operation as they moved people and equipment across the region.

Soldiers of the 642nd operated in Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria during their deployment. They normally train at armories in Dunkirk, Rochester and Farmingdale.

They turned over their responsibilities to a new unit on January 8, 2024, during a ceremony in Kuwait.

The Soldiers of B Company, 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation, who are based at Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in Rochester, also started returning home earlier this month. The bulk of the Soldiers are expected home by the end of the month.

During their deployment, the aviation Soldiers moved people and key leaders, along with cargo, for both American and coalition forces in the region.

The CH-47F can carry 27 tons of cargo or up to 36 passengers.