New York Army National Guard Soldiers return from Afghanistan today

ROCHESTER, NY (11/02/2017) (readMedia)-- Twenty New York Army National Guard Soldiers from the Rochester-based Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th General Support Aviation Battalion returned to the United States from Afghanistan, today Thursday November 2, after nine months.

The Soldiers, who fly the Ch-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter, returned to Fort Hood, Texas. They are expected to return to New York within a week following demobilization.

The unit departed New York in January of 2017. The unit was deployed for nine months at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

The 98-foot long CH-47, twin rotor helicopters are used to move troops and equipment in and out of the mountains of Afghanistan. It can lift more than 30 soldiers and carry 28,000 pounds of cargo.

The aircraft have proven immensely valuable in the mountains of Afghanistan because the twin rotors provide lift at high altitudes and in cold weather.

The unit conducted combat support by resupplying equipment and moving personnel, in and out of Kandahar airfield and Forward Operating base Fenty.

Nicknamed "Kong," the Soldiers of Co. B, 3-126th Aviation deployed previously to Afghanistan twice to support United States forces there.

The Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 through 2008, and the company was recognized as the Army National Guard aviation unit of the year for 2008 by the Army Aviation Association of America for its accomplishments in Afghanistan, including the unit's participation in the largest air assault operation in that country since 2002.

In 2012 to 2013 the Soldiers deployed again to Afghanistan to move troops and supplies across the country.

Half the company is based in Rochester, and the other half of the company is part of the Maryland Army National Guard.