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    NY Army Guard explosive ordnance battalion Soldiers head to Middle East

    501st Ordnance Battalion Deployment Ceremony

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Sebastian Rothwyn | U.S. Army Lt. Col. Douglas Baker, commander of the 501st Ordnance Battalion, and...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Jordan Sivayavirojna 

    New York National Guard

    GLENVILLE, N.Y. -- Twenty-three New York Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 501st Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), bid farewell to their families and headed off on the battalion’s third deployment on June 10, following a ceremony at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Glenville, New York.

    The battalion’s headquarters Soldiers are trained to oversee three to five explosive ordnance disposal companies and was converted from an infantry battalion headquarters in 2005.
    The battalion deployed to Iraq in the fall of 2010, serving there for nine months. In 2018, 19 Soldiers from the battalion deployed to Afghanistan.
    On this mission, the battalion will oversee explosive ordnance disposal missions throughout the Central Command area of responsibility as part of Task Force Spartan, the U.S. Army forces in the region.
    Explosive ordnance disposal Soldiers support operations by detecting, locating, identifying, rendering safe, and disposing of all explosive ordnance, improvised explosive devices, and weapons of mass destruction.

    “This is a well-established unit with professional training, professional leaders, noncommissioned officers, and Soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Jack James the commander of the 53rd Troop Command.

    “This is just the latest chapter in the long and illustrious history of this unit,” he added.

    “For some of these Soldiers, this is their 2nd or 3rd deployment with this unit and the second time they’re deploying in the past two years,” said James.

    The Soldiers first stop was Fort Indiantown Gap where they will complete two weeks of premobilization training. Their next stop will be Fort Bliss, Texas for 30 to 45 days of post-mobilization training.

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, traditional pre-deployment training had to be modified to ensure the safety of the unit. This meant more training online and less in person, said Lt. Col. Douglas Baker, the battalion commander.

    “All the obstacles that were thrown at us to train and prepare for this deployment, you guys excelled at,” Baker said.
    “I was thoroughly impressed with the members of the unit on their ability to do a very good staff exercise using Microsoft Teams,“ he added.

    During the pre-deployment training, even that conducted online, the experienced Soldiers shared tips with those deploying for the first time.

    “For some of these Soldiers, this is their 2nd or 3rd deployment with this unit and the second time they’re deploying in the past two years,” said James.

    Master Sgt. Eric Lautenschlager, an EOD technician who has been with the 501st since its inception, said he was excited to share his experience from his past three EOD deployments, and four total deployments, with the younger Soldiers.

    “With me being one of the more experienced EOD technicians going,” said Lautenschlager. “I want to use this opportunity to help train up some of the soldiers and give tips for missions I’ve encountered.”

    The New York Army National Guard is an extended family, Baker told the Soldiers and their families.

    The battalion’s Family Readiness Group is there to help Soldiers families during the deployment, he said. It is often harder for the families than the Soldiers, Baker said, and we will be standing by you.

    Several Soldiers on this deployment have many years of experience on their back, but some have just joined the unit and have less than 3 years of service in the National Guard.

    Pfc. Olivia Chase, a 19-year-old Army paralegal specialist who attended her first in-person drill in November after coming off of COVID-19 orders, said she was enthusiastic about her first deployment.

    She was one of the first considered after another Soldier could no longer go on the deployment.

    Chase said she happily accepted the last-minute offer in hopes to further her military career.

    “I’m definitely a little nervous just because I did just get back from training,” said Chase. “But I’m also very excited to network with other paralegals and develop a plan to eventually commission.”

    The 501st Soldiers are expected to spend about ten months in Kuwait. They are expected to return home in May of 2022.



    Date Taken: 06.10.2021
    Date Posted: 06.14.2021 08:27
    Story ID: 398829
    Location: GLENVILLE, NY, US 

    Web Views: 413
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