News: Iraq and Afghan war veteran tapped to command Syracuse-headquartered New York National Guard Brigade
Story by Eric Durr
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Lt. Col. Joseph Biehler, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been selected as the next commander of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which is headquartered in Syracuse at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.
Biehler will replace Col. Geoffrey Slack, who has commanded the 27th Brigade Combat Team since August 2009. Slack trained the brigade for a planned deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012.
The brigade was reassigned for multiple missions in Kuwait, other Persian Gulf states and Afghanistan instead, and Slack led 1,750 New York Soldiers from the brigade during that deployment.
Biehler, a resident of the Rochester suburb of Webster, is a traditional National Guard officer who is a Finance Senior Manager for Rochester's Harris Corporation in civilian life.
His new position will also bring a promotion to Colonel.
Biehler is currently commander of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry. He was the battalion's operations officer during its deployment to Iraq in 2004 and commanded the battalion during its recent deployment to Afghanistan.
Along with deploying last year, the 27th Brigade sent about 1,100 soldiers to Afghanistan in 2008 to train the Afghan Army and Police. Brigade soldiers also responded to help New Yorkers deal with Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011.
The brigade's 3,500 soldiers are stationed across New York from Farmingdale on Long Island to Jamestown in Chautauqua County and Morrisonville in the North Country in four combat and two support battalions.
"Joe Biehler is an exceptionally capable citizen soldier who has proven himself on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan," said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York.
"He has been an exceptional leader for the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry and I am confident that he will do an outstanding job of leading the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as we face the challenges and opportunities of the next few years," Murphy added.
"The 27th Infantry Brigade is an incredible organization that has a storied past that goes back to World Wars I & II. It is a great honor to have been selected to lead this unit," Biehler said.
Biehler was commissioned as an Infantry officer in May 1987 and joined the New York Army National Guard. He has held positions as a rifle platoon leader, mortar platoon leader, support platoon leader, company commander, battalion supply, operations and executive officer, division liaison officer, and battalion commander.
Biehler is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms Staff Service School, Intermediate Level Education, Infantry Pre-Command Course, Airborne School, Air Assault School, and Ranger School.
He is currently enrolled in the Army War College, a military school for senior Army leaders.
Biehler was born in Rochester, New York and graduated from McQuaid Jesuit High School in 1983. He has earned Bachelor's of Science degrees in both Accounting and Management from St. John Fisher College in 1987 and is a Certified Public Accountant in New York State.
Biehler's awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal National Defense Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Basic Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Ranger Tab, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
He and his wife Sonya live in Webster, N.Y. with their twin sons Thomas and Andrew.
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