Forty-four Rochester-based NY National Guard Soldiers return home after Afghanistan deployment Wednesday

Soldiers demobilized at Fort Bliss, Texas and return to New York tomorrow, November 20

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A U.S. Army aircrew readies a UH-60L Black Hawk MEDEVAC helicopter for takeoff during training on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Dec. 12, 2018.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (11/20/2019) (readMedia)-- Forty-four Rochester-based New York Army National Guard Soldiers are returning to New York on Nov. 20, after an eight month deployment to Afghanistan.

The Soldiers, members of Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas on Nov. 7. The Soldiers have been going through the demobilization process since then.

Charlie Company is a medical evacuation unit which flies the UH-60 Black Hawk air ambulance helicopter. The company is based at the Patriot Way Armory and the Army Aviation Support Facility at the Rochester International Airport.

The unit mobilized for deployment on January 2, 2019 and deployed to Afghanistan after 45 days of training at Fort Bliss.

Unit aircraft flew 90 combat missions in Afghanistan, transporting 167 patients.

Charlie Company aircrews flew at total of 2,400 flight hours in support of medical evacuation missions and general battlefield circulation.

The company provided medical evacuation and personnel recovery for Coalition units training and advising the Afghan Army and police in the south, southwest and western areas of Afghanistan. This covers about half the country.

The National Guard Soldiers supported conventional forces, Special Forces and Afghan military during their tour.

Company Soldiers were awarded 108 Air Medals for the C -for combat- identifier. Soldiers also earned fifty Army Commendation Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals and a Bronze Star.

Three of the Soldiers became fathers during the deployment.

In 2012 and 2013, 43 members of the company, which was then Company F of the 1st Battalion, 169th General Support Aviation Battalion, served in Afghanistan.

In 2018 the unit deployed two helicopters and crews to North Carolina in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. The unit also responded to Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast in 2005, and Tropical Storms Lee and Irene here in New York in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.