Niskayuna resident Col. Jason Lefton takes command of Army Guard Aviation Brigade on Saturday, Nov. 6

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Colonel Jason Lefton

LATHAM, NY (11/03/2021) (readMedia)-- New York Army National Guard Col. Jason Lefton, a Niskayuna resident, will assume command of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade during a Saturday, Nov. 6, ceremony at Army Aviation Support Facility 3 at New York National Guard headquarters in Latham.

Lefton will replace Col. Michael Charnley who has commanded the brigade since 2019 and will be retiring after a 30-year career.

Members of the press are invited to cover the change of command ceremony.

WHO: Col. Jason Lefton, the incoming commander of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade; Col. Michael Charnley, the outgoing commander of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade; Major General Thomas Spencer, the commander of the 42nd Infantry Division will serve as the presiding officer.

WHAT: Traditional change of command ceremony in which the flag, or colors, of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade will be transferred from Charnley to Lefton by Spencer. Traditionally the unit colors indicate the location of the commander on the battlefield. The ceremony allowed soldiers to see who they would follow in combat.

WHEN: 1 p.m., Saturday, November 6, 2021

WHERE: New York National Guard Headquarters, 330 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham

Coverage Opportunities: Imagery of troops in formation and interviews with the incoming and outgoing commanders.

For access to this secure military installation contact Lt. Lauren Warner at 607-425-0940.


The 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade:

The 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, a component of the 42nd Infantry Division, provides command and control for Army aviation units. The brigade commands the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment, an assault helicopter battalion which flies the UH-60 Black Hawk, and the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion. The brigade also provides administrative support for B Company of the 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation Regiment and C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion.

Colonel Jason Lefton:

Jason Lefton, a veteran of the Iraq War, was promoted to the rank of colonel in the New York Army National Guard during a ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Latham on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

Lefton currently serves as the New York Army National Guard's state aviation officer and will hold that full-time job while also commanding the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

Lefton, who earned his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Program at Marion Military Institute, began his career as an officer in the 1st Battalion, 156th Field Artillery. He became an Army aviator in 2000.

He has held a variety of positions to include operations officer of the 1st Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment; Detachment Commander of the 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment; executive officer and commander of the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment; Commander of B Company, 642nd Aviation Battalion; Commander of Army Aviation Support Facility Number 1; and executive officer and operations officer of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

Lefton deployed to Iraq in 2008 as the executive officer of the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment; and served as a battle captain for Multi-National Division Southeast in Bosnia in 2002. He deployed to Kuwait in 2013 with the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade and served as both the operations and executive officer.

In 2017, while serving as commander of the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation, he led a support mission to Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Lefton is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.

His awards include two awards of the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Master Army Aviator Badge and the Air Assault Badge.

He holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York, Albany.

He holds a commercial helicopter pilots licenses and a single engine airplane license. He is also a fully registered representative in the financial services industry.

He and his wife Heather have two sons, Mack and Seth.

Colonel Michael Charnley:

Colonel Michael Charnley entered the United State Army in 1991 and attended Warrant Officer Flight training, graduating from flight school in 1992. During his active service he served as a Warrant Officer in various assignments in Korea and Fort Campbell, KY before being selected to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning in 1998.

After becoming a commissioned officer, Charnley served as a company Executive Officer and Platoon Leader in the 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment at Fort Drum. In 1999 he deployed to Bosnia as part of a 10th Mountain Division Brigade Task Force .

In 2001, he transferred to the New York National Guard. He deployed in support of Operation Nobel Eagle, the post Sept. 11, 2001 security mission in the United States, and Hurricane Katrina. He also deployed to Panama as the commander of an air ambulance company.

Charnley deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and served as the Garrison Commander of Camp Arifjan in 2012. Upon his return from Kuwait he was assigned as the 42d Infantry Division (ID) Division Airspace Management Officer.

In 2014 Charnley was selected as the Battalion Commander of the 642d Aviation Support Battalion (ASB). Charnley also served as the executive officer of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade and an operations deputy in the Army Forces Command aviation directorate before taking command of the 42nd Combat Aviation.

He is a graduate of the Army War College, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School and the Command and General Staff College.

Charnley is married to the former Karen deLancey. They have four children, Nicholas, Matthew, Kathleen, and Joseph and live in Churchville, N.Y.