Rochester Army National Guard Aviation Soldiers Return to U.S. from Afghanistan

Troops expected to redeploy home mid-month

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Soldiers of B Company 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation load a CH-47 onto a C-5 Galaxy in Afghanistan as they prepared to return home to the United States.

FORT HOOD, TEXAS (05/07/2013)(readMedia)-- More than 55 New York Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to Detachment 1 of Company B, 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation Regiment arrived back in the United States on May 4 following their deployment to Afghanistan this year.

The Soldiers, based at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Rochester, will conduct demobilization tasks at Fort Hood, Texas and prepare to return home. The Soldiers are expected to return home later in May.

The unit mobilized for federal service in May 2012, the organization's third deployment overseas.

Nicknamed "The Kong" Detachment, the troops of Detachment 1, Company B. 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation (Heavy Lift) operates CH-47D Chinook helicopters. The helicopter has proven itself invaluable in Afghanistan where the dual engines and rotors allow it to function well in high mountains.

The CH-47 is the Army's largest helicopter and can lift more than 30 Soldiers and carry 28,000 pounds of cargo. The 98-foot long, twin rotor helicopters are invaluable for moving troops and equipment in the mountains of Afghanistan.

The detachment-the other half of the company is part of the Maryland Army National Guard based in Edgewood, MD – previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. The company was recognized as the Army National Guard aviation unit of the year for 2008 by the Army Aviation Association of America (known as Quad A) for the company's accomplishments in Afghanistan, including participating in the largest Air Assault operation in that country since 2002.

In 2009 the detachment's pilots and other Soldiers trained Canadian Forces pilots to operate the CH-47 because all of that country's CH-47s were already deployed to Afghanistan. The detachment also sent Soldiers and helicopters to assist in the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In August and September 2011, CH-47s assigned to the detachment were used to move Federal Emergency Management Agency supplies during the National Guard's response to Tropical Storm Irene.