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    Long Island National Guard aviation support company gets new commander on Saturday

    Long Island National Guard aviation support company gets new commander on Saturday

    Courtesy Photo | Then-Capt. Eric Fritz, center, in 2011 after retrieving a boat from the waters of the...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    New York National Guard

    RONKONKOMA, N.Y. - New York Army National Guard Maj. Eric Fritz, a Webster, New York, resident, a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, and a CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot, takes command of Company B of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion Saturday morning, June 27, at the Army Aviation Support Facility here at Islip MacArthur Airport.

    The unit provides logistics and maintenance support to the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, and last returned from deployment to Kuwait in August 2014.

    Fritz takes command from Major Shawn Hatch, from Highland, New York, who has led the company since March 2012. Hatch is a veteran of the Iraq War.

    Who: Maj. Eric Fritz, the incoming commander, receives the colors of his new command from outgoing commander Major Shawn Hatch. Lt. Col. Michael Charnley, commander of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion, oversees the transfer of command.

    What: A traditional military change-of-command ceremony in which the colors, or flag, of the battalion is transferred from Hatch to Fritz by the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Michael Charnley, signifying the change of responsibility and authority for the command from one leader to another.

    Traditionally the unit's color's marked the location of the commander on the battlefield and the ceremony allowed the Soldiers to know who their commander was.

    When: Saturday, June 27, 2015 at 11 a.m.

    Where: Army Aviation Support Facility, 201 Schaefer Drive, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

    Coverage opportunities: Reporters will have the opportunity to interview both the incoming and outgoing commanders. Video and photographic opportunities include Soldiers in formation as well as the ceremony in which the unit colors are transferred.

    Media must contact Capt. Michael Squires at 518-894-0383 for access to the secure military facility.

    The change of command ceremony dates back to the days in which a military unit's flag marked its position in the line of battle. The colors were always near the commander, so troops knew where to rally on the battlefield.

    Today the transfer of the colors marks a change in the unit and gives the soldiers their first opportunity to see and hear their new leader.

    The change of command ceremony recognizes the accomplishments of the outgoing commander and the Soldiers who served under him. In addition, the ceremony identifies the new commander to the Soldiers, so they can follow him on the field of battle.

    Maj. Eric Fritz
    Maj. Eric Fritz began his military career when he enlisted in August of 2000. Upon completion of basic training he was assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment, then based in Rochester. Fritz was then selected for Officer Candidate School and received his commission in 2002 as a second lieutenant. He attended the Officer Basic Course and Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama where he qualified in the OH-58 A/C aircraft.

    Since his commissioning, Fritz has held positions as Section Leader, Platoon Leader, S2/3, Detachment Commander, company commander and division aviation officer. He played a key role in the planning and execution of numerous operations and training events including four hurricane response missions (Katrina, Wilma, Gustav, and Irene), two flood responses, the rescue of a New York State Park Police boat on the brink of Niagara Falls, the training of the New York National Guard Chemical Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Consequence Management Response Force, and several Army National Guard transformations.

    Fritz has two combat deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During his first deployment he served as a Platoon Leader with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation providing direct CH-47 support to Task Force "No Mercy" 1st Battalion. 101st Aviation. MAJ Fritz's contributions as Platoon Leader directly contributed to 3-126th receiving the Army Aviation Association of America "Unit of the Year." During his second deployment Fritz was assigned as Company Commander of 116 Soldiers over three locations in Regional Command South Afghanistan.

    His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 3 Campaign Stars, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2 device, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device w/10yr bronze hour glass, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and the Senior Army Aviator Badge.

    Fritz graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego in 2003 with a degree in Business Administration. He is also a graduate of several military schools including the Aviation Captains Career Course, Aviation Officer Basic Course, CH-47 Instructor Pilot Course, Aviation Maintenance Management Course, Survival Escape Resistance Evasion Course Level C, Combative Level 1 Instructor, Unit Movement Officer, and Defense Support of Civil Authorities. Fritz is an Air Mission Commander and Instructor Pilot in the CH-47F helicopter and is also rated in the UH-1 and OH-58 A/C aircraft.

    He currently resides in Webster, New York, with his wife, Andrea, two daughters, Nina and Lyla, and son A.J.

    Maj. Shawn Hatch
    Major Shawn C. Hatch, a native of Manassas, Virginia, received his commission in 1999 as a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he earned a Bachelor's of Science in Astronautical Engineering.

    Upon completion of the Aviation Officer Basic Course, Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course, and the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Aircraft Qualification Course, Hatch was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served as an Air Scout platoon leader, squadron liaison officer, and squadron personnel officer from May 2001 to September 2004.

    Hatch deployed with the unit to Kuwait and then into Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2003 to Nov 2003.

    Following his attendance at the Armor Captains' Career Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky and the Joint Firepower Controllers Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Hatch was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 82nd Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division from June 2005 to June 2008. He served as the Squadron Assistant Operations Officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop Commander, and B Troop Commander, deploying to Iraq from July 2006 to July 2007.

    In 2008, Hatch was assigned to the Maneuver Center of Excellence, where he served as the senior aviation instructor in the Directorate of Training.

    In 2011, Hatch left active duty and joined the New York Army National Guard where he was assigned as the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade Intelligence Officer. He took command of Company B, 642nd Aviation Support Battalion in March 2012. The "BlackDiamond" company deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from December 2013 to August 2014.

    His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal w/oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/two oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Army Aviator Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and Combat Action Badge.

    Hatch is married to the former Marie Lou Roush of Steilacoom, Washington. They have four children, Abigail, Caleb, Miriam, and Noah.

    642nd Aviation Support Battalion
    The 642nd Aviation Support Battalion provides provide aviation maintenance and logistical support to Army helicopter units. The battalion has elements at McArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma on Long Island, as well as at armories in Dunkirk and Olean in addition to the headquarters at the Army National Guard flight facility in Rochester.

    Company B is based in Ronkonkoma, located alongside the supported UH-60 aircraft of the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation.

    Formerly known as the 642nd Division Aviation Support Battalion, Soldiers of the 642nd deployed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and served in Iraq as part of the 42nd Infantry Division Aviation Brigade deployment in 2004/05.

    The battalion mobilized and departed New York in September of 2013 and provided aviation support for U.S. military forces deployed in Kuwait since December 2013 as part of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade task force.

    The force included some 44 aircraft and about 1,200 Active Army and Army National Guard aviation troops during their Kuwait deployment.

    While deployed to Kuwait with the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, Soldiers of the 642nd ASB completed some 186,000 man hours of aviation maintenance work to support 2,700 work orders. These efforts kept 44 Army aircraft flying to support missions across Kuwait, the Gulf of Arabia, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

    The 642nd ASB Soldiers achieved a 75 percent readiness rate for all aircraft, completing 15 phase maintenance inspections for 15 UH-60 or AH-64 aircraft. The inspection is a major overhaul and review involving the disassembly, inspection of major components, repair and replacement of aircraft engine, avionics, rotor, transmission, airframe and other key components.

    While deployed, the battalion oversaw 186 ground movement missions across the area, moving more than 3,000 troops and 5.8 million pounds of equipment with no accidents or injuries.

    The unit received the Safety Excellence Award streamer recognizing outstanding safety record and risk management practices in the organization.



    Date Taken: 06.26.2015
    Date Posted: 06.26.2015 16:24
    Story ID: 168330
    Location: RONKONKOMA, NY, US
    Hometown: MANASSAS, VA, US
    Hometown: WEBSTER, NY, US

    Web Views: 399
    Downloads: 0