Major General visits National Guard troops

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Friday announced that Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York, is visiting New York Army National Guard soldiers from the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion who have been serving in Kuwait since December, 2013.

Fifty of the soldiers are assigned to Company A of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion and drill at the New York State Armory in Dunkirk and also at the Armory in Olean. The soldiers left home in October for their post-mobilization training at Fort Hood.

“From defending our nation abroad to responding to extreme weather emergencies across the state, the men and women of New York’s Army National Guard play a vital role in ensuring the safety of our communities,” Cuomo said. “As General Murphy visits our citizen soldiers in Kuwait, I join with all New Yorkers in thanking them for their service and offer my thoughts and prayers for their safe return home.”

The 642nd Aviation Support Battalion also has soldiers based at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Ronkonkoma on Long Island and at the Rochester International Airport. About 300 of the battalion soldiers are deployed.

The battalion is part of the New York National Guard’s 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade which is responsible for providing Army aviation support to American forces in Kuwait.

Soldiers from Company A 3rd Battalion 142nd Aviation, are also part of the 450-strong New York Army National Guard deployment.

Murphy is being accompanied on his trip by New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Major Frank Wicks, the top enlisted soldier for the New York Army National Guard. The 450 New York Army National Guard soldiers mobilized at their home armories in October. They deployed to Kuwait in December after conducting training at Fort Hood.

The 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade is commanding an Army National Guard General Aviation Support Battalion from Michigan as well as an active Army attack helicopter battalion from the 1st Cavalry Division, in Kuwait. The 642nd Aviation Support Battalion is providing maintenance and logistics support to this team, while the Soldiers from Company A 3rd Battalion 142nd Aviation are flying UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to support American forces in Kuwait.

Since arriving in Kuwait the New York Army National Guard Soldiers have exercised with the Marines and practiced landing their helicopters on U.S. Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf, as well as supporting assault helicopter live-fire missions.

The trip was organized through the Joint Monthly Access for Reserve Components (JMARC) program. The program allows both Army Reserve and National Guard leaders to visit their troops deployed in Kuwait or Afghanistan.

General Murphy said, “The purpose of the JMARC is to provide soldiers and airmen with the opportunity to visit with their leadership from back in the states so that, number one, the leadership understands what the service member is doing and number two, to give the leaders exposure to their service members.”

When he was assigned to Third United States Army in Kuwait from 2004 to 2007, one of Murphy’s duties was implementing this very program in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.