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    NY National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division headquarters prepares for Middle East Deployment

    42nd Division Signal Company trains and works at Fort Drum

    Photo By Sgt. Andrew Valenza | New York Army National Guard Sgt. Daraine Delevante helps Spc. Troy Bailey, both...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Andrew Valenza 

    New York National Guard

    FORT DRUM, N.Y. — New York’s 42nd Infantry “Rainbow” Division conducted a staff training exercise October 22-27 in preparation for assuming command of Army forces in a volatile Middle East. The division is scheduled to deploy to the region in early 2020.

    With U.S. troops being withdrawn from northern Syria and repositioning in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other countries, 650 Soldiers assigned to the 42nd Infantry Division headquarters geared for their upcoming deployment with the staff training exercise, at Fort Drum, N.Y.

    The Guardsmen of the division will deploy to support Task Force Spartan. They will be in command and control of more than 9,000 U.S. Service members who are there to increase security and self-reliance throughout the region, according to Department of Defense officials.

    In the wake of a recent Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia, additional 42nd Infantry Soldiers will deploy to support that country and assist with command and control of deployed airborne early warning aircraft squadrons, maritime patrol aircraft squadrons, patriot air and missile defense batteries and B-52 bombers.

    During the training event, the Soldiers war-gamed situations that may arise while overseas. This gave each section a chance to work together and learn or re-learn how to accomplish their individual missions, said Maj. Gary Barney, the training and exercise chief for the staff training exercise.

    A staff training exercise tests the ability of command post teams—senior officers and non-commissioned officers -- to communicate and work through issues to increase their proficiency in an environment similar to what they will experience overseas, Barney said.

    Since 2017 the division headquarters has taken part in a division level command post exercise called Warfighters, two brigade-level command post exercises and two separate staff training exercise.

    “What you’re seeing with these events is people maturing in their positions. When we started back in first staff training exercise, we had people that were new to the division…and we’ve seen a steady increase in proficiency among Soldiers,” Barney said.

    A major objective of this exercise was to get the division leadership and staff focused on issues they had not dealt with before during earlier exercises and evaluations, Barney explained.

    “Prior to beginning this staff exercise, a lot of the focus of the division was on a Korea scenario,” Barney said. “Our goal is not only to pivot from Korea, into what we’re going to be doing while deployed, but also to integrate new personnel who have just come into the unit. And we want to establish battle rhythm into working groups and how we’re going to operate overseas.”

    Soldiers not directly involved in the staff exercise conducted maintenance on division equipment stored at Fort Drum to prepare it for the upcoming deployment.

    The division’s mission to the Middle East will be to work with U.S. and other coalition forces in the U.S. Central Command region to help sustain troops conducting missions there.

    A part of that mission is to help deter Iranian aggression against U.S. Middle Eastern allies, said Brig. Gen. Joseph Biehler, the 42nd Infantry Division’s deputy commanding general.

    The Soldiers assigned to the 42nd Infantry Division headquarters are ready for this mission, Biehler said.

    “These Soldiers have been training their whole career for this, since basic training, as individuals to squad and platoon collective training.” Biehler said.

    “They are some of the best you can have in the Army. I think they’re on par with the active Army.”

    Biehler said that although the rate of deployments has slowed down in the last few years, he believed the need for a U.S. presence in the Middle East is still necessary.

    “We’ve done a number of deployments since 9/11, there was a period of time when people were just going out the door on a very frequent basis and now it’s every five years, maybe even longer. It’s what we have to do as members of the National Guard,” Biehler said.

    No matter how well trained Soldiers are, their families will still worry about them, Biehler said. But their training and their leaders will keep them as safe as possible, he emphasized.

    “I believe we’ll be safe, and your loved ones will be doing a great service for the country by being over there and serving a need that is an enduring mission that’s going on,” Biehler said.

    The 42nd Infantry Division, which turned 100 in 2017, was created during America’s entry in World War I.

    Elements from the National Guards of 26 states were picked to create a division that could be mobilized quickly.

    As a result of this unified effort, the 42nd Infantry Division was born in August and organized in September 1917 at Camp Mills on Long Island, New York.

    Col. Douglas MacArthur, who had been instrumental in the forming of the division, said shortly after its completion that: "The 42nd Division stretches like a rainbow from one end of America to the other.”

    The division was reactivated for service in World War II in 1943 and it has served in the New York Army National Guard since 1947.

    The 42nd Infantry Division, one of eight National Guard divisions and one of 18 U.S. Army divisions, provides fully manned, equipped, trained and expertly led units prepared to deploy and conduct unified land operations for combatant commanders.

    In 2005 the division headquarters and support section deployed almost 4,500 Soldiers to Iraq, where the division commanded both active Army and National Guard brigades north of Baghdad.



    Date Taken: 10.28.2019
    Date Posted: 10.28.2019 11:23
    Story ID: 349480
    Location: FORT DRUM , NY, US 

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