News: Iraq War vets commemorate 10th Anniversary of historic National Guard mobilization at Fort Drum
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Iraq War veterans of the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division gather here to mark the 10-year anniversary of the unit's historic mobilization in the spring of 2004.
The callup was the first mobilization of a National Guard division headquarters for combat duties in more than 50 years. The 42nd Rainbow Division Soldiers were the first of two division deployments for the Army National Guard. Minnesota's 34th Infantry Division, the "Red Bulls," went on to serve in Iraq in 2009 as a division headquarters.
The ceremony on Saturday, June 28 will bring together members of the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation, the association for veterans and their legacies of the Army's famed 42nd Infantry Division which fought in both World Wars and in Iraq.
Retired Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, a former Fort Ann, New York, resident and division commander for the unit's deployment to Iraq, will present the current division with a memorial plaque honoring the mobilization and wartime service of the Army National Guard Soldiers who trained at Fort Drum and Fort Dix for their deployment to Iraq.
Taluto will be joined by New York Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Harry Miller to dedicate the plaque outside of the Army National Guard readiness center on Fort Drum, Building 855.
WHAT: Dedication of a Rainbow Division Memorial Plaque in honor of the unit's wartime service for Operation Iraqi Freedom
WHO: Retired Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, former 42nd Infantry Division Commander and Chairman of the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation, and Maj. Gen. Harry Miller, commander of the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division.
WHEN: Saturday, June 28 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: New York Army National Guard Readiness Center, Building 855, Fort Drum, N.Y.
News Media Opportunity
Imagery of 42nd Infantry Division senior leaders addressing veterans of the Rainbow Division and the unveiling of the division's Iraq War Memorial. Interviews with Iraq War veterans from the 42nd Division from across New York State.
For access to the Fort Drum installation, media must first linkup with a division representative at the Fort Drum Media Operations Center, Bldg. S-2509, on Route 26 adjacent to the entrance to Wheeler Sack Army Airfield.
News media should contact Master Sgt. Peter Towse, 42nd Infantry Division Public Affairs Chief, 518-390-1663 or Col. Richard Goldenberg, 518-727-7314 prior to the close of business on Friday, June 27 for linkup arrangements.
The 42nd Infantry Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom
The 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters, based in Troy, New York, mobilized for deployment in May 2004. It conducted its predeployment training at Fort Drum along with other division base units through the fall.The division base included some 3,000 Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard, New Jersey Army National Guard, Massachusetts Army National Guard and select augmentees from the active Army.
Initial units at Fort Drum or Fort Dix in 2004 included New York's 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters, the 42nd Aviation and Engineer Brigade Headquarters, the 642nd Division Aviation Support Battalion, the 642nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 42nd Division Band and 42nd Rear Operations Cell; Massachusetts' 42nd Division Artillery Headquarters, the 42nd Military Police Company, Battery E (Target Acquisition), 101st Field Artillery, and 272nd Chemical Company; New Jersey's Division Support Command Headquarters, the 1st Battalion, 150th General Aviation Support Battalion, and 50th Main Support Battalion, the 250th Signal Battalion; and Rhode Island's 173rd Long Range Surveillance Detachment.
The 42nd Division Soldiers provided the command and control, logistics and operational base for four maneuver brigades operating in North Central Iraq.
The division base, after conducting predeployment training through the summer of 2004, received its combat brigades and formed Task Force Liberty with the addition of the Tennessee Army National Guard's 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Cavalry Brigade and the 1st and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.
Together, more than 23,000 Soldiers served as Task Force Liberty from February through November 2005.
The 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters helped establish the conditions for the successful Iraqi-led constitutional referendum vote in October 2005.
Throughout the summer and fall of 2005, Task Force Liberty Soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division and 42nd Engineer Brigade also initiated the process of base closures in North Central Iraq, beginning the transfer of bases to Iraqi control. By November 2005, nine Forward Operating Bases in North Central Iraq closed or transferred to Iraqi army control. The tenth facility, Forward Operating Base Danger, the former presidential compound in Tikrit, transferred to Iraqi control on November 22, 2005.
Today, the division is aligned for training with some 14,000 Soldiers assigned to brigade elements in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire. Nearly all elements of the modern 42nd Infantry Division have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan in the past decade.
Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation
The Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to commemorating the deeds, sacrifices and traditions of the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division through memorials, education and the preservation of the history of the division.
Two other such Rainbow Division memorials exist in Garden City, New York, to commemorate the unit's birthplace and deployment preparations for World War I. The other is located at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, marking the site of the 42nd Infantry Division's mobilization for WWII. These memorials recognize the sacrifices of Rainbow Division Soldiers and their families from generation to generation.