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    Rochester , N.Y. National Guard casualty evacuation Soldiers heading for Afghanistan

    Charlie Co. 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, Has Farewell Ceremony Before Deployment

    Photo By Sgt. Andrew Valenza | New York army National Guard Soldiers of Charlie Company of 1st Battalion, 171st...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Andrew Valenza 

    New York National Guard

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Forty-six New York Army National Guard Soldiers began 2019 by saying goodbye to family members, as they prepared to leave for a 10-month deployment to Afghanistan on January 2.

    At a farewell ceremony held at the unit flight facility in Rochester, the Soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion heard from their division and battalion leadership before departing for mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas.

    The casualty evacuation unit will train at Fort Bliss for a month before heading to Afghanistan. Once in Afghanistan, they will provide casualty evacuation to American and coalition forces.

    Brig. Gen. Joseph Biehler, the 42nd Infantry Division Deputy Commander for Operations, thanked the Soldiers for their sacrifice. He also thanked the Soldier’s families for the sacrifices they make while their Soldier deploys.

    He promised that the New York National Guard would be there to support their families while the Soldiers were gone.

    The Wednesday, Jan. 2, ceremony was the last chance for the Soldiers and their families to be together before the deployment. Three helicopters and their crews left the Army Aviation Support Facility Thursday morning, Jan. 3, for Fort Bliss. The rest of the Soldiers will join them at their mobilization station this weekend.

    When the unit deploys they, will use UH-60 medical evacuation helicopters which are already on the ground in Afghanistan.

    In 2012-13, another 43 members of the unit deployed to Afghanistan. Working alongside members of the Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Missouri Army National Guard, the Soldiers conducted 471 missions and transported 527 personnel in Helmand Province, then known as Company F, 1st Battalion, 169th General Support Aviation Battalion.

    Earlier this year, the unit deployed two helicopters and crews to the Carolinas in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in September 2018.

    The medical evacuation unit also responded to Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    Maj. Jeffrey Kneer, the company commander, said he thought the deployment would affect every Soldier differently depending on their family situation.

    "Once you have children, and have more affects everybody differently," Kneer said.

    Sgt. First Class Stephen Tschiderer, a flight medic who has previously deployed, was saying goodbye to his two sons. Despite this, he said he was proud and ready to deploy again because he would be assisting other Soldiers.

    “…on people’s worst day, it’s our best day," Tschiderer said. "We need to go out and do it so they can come home to their friends and family."



    Date Taken: 01.02.2019
    Date Posted: 01.03.2019 15:07
    Story ID: 306150
    Location: ROCHESTER, NY, US 

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