Afghanistan Veteran Takes Command of Utica National Guard Company

(Utica, NY – June 10, 2013) New York Army National Guard Capt. Terry Benson, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, took command of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry after a ceremony held Saturday, June 8.

He replaces Capt. Joseph Minning, a veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq, who has led the company since 2011, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2012.

The Change of Command Ceremony dates back to the days when military units used flags to mark their locations 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 also 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. On Saturday Cronin passed the company guidon from Minning to Benson.

Capt. Terry S. Benson

Benson is from Harford, NY where he graduated High School in 1992. He joined the Marine Corps in 1992 and served in the Marines in Florida and Hawaii until 1996.

He left active duty with the rank of Sergeant in 1996 and attended the State University of New York earning his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. In January 2002, Benson enlisted in the New York Army National Guard and attended Officer Candidate School (OCS). He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2004.

Upon commissioning he was assigned to Company C 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry as a Platoon Leader. In 2006, he attended the Army Mountain Warfare School in Ethan Allen, Vermont prior to deploying to Afghanistan as a member of an Embedded Training Team mentoring the Afghan National Army in Ghazni Province in 2007.

Upon his return in 2008, he was assigned as the Executive Officer for Company C 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry. In 2009, Benson was selected to serve as the fulltime Active Guard and Reserve Force Integration Readiness Officer at Joint Force Headquarters.

In January 2012, Benson was selected to serve as Commander of Company A 1st Battalion 69th Infantry. In October of 2012, Benson served as the ground Commander for a Joint Task Force in response to Hurricane Sandy that performed several search rescue missions, evacuations, debris removal and food and water deliveries through New York City. In January 2013, Benson was selected as the training officer for the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry

Benson lives in Glens Falls, N.Y. with his wife Kari and their children Tyler and Sarah.

Capt. Joseph Minning

Minning is from Ronkonkoma, NY. He enlisted as an infantryman in the United States Army in 1997 and after basic training at Ft. Benning, GA was assigned to 2nd of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC.

He left active duty with the rank of Sergeant in 2001 and attended Hofstra University through a Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship awarded through the Army’s “Green to Gold” program which allows enlisted Soldiers to earn an ROTC commission. Upon leaving Active Duty, he was assigned to B-Co 1-69 IN as a SMP Cadet. His 1st drill with the NYARNG was in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center where their unit was charged with the recovery efforts immediately following the attacks.

He graduated and was commissioned in 2003 and joined back up with his unit, the 1st Battalion 69th Infantry as platoon leader in 2004, reporting directly to Fort Hood, Texas where the unit was mobilizing. He served in Iraq for a year with the B-Co 1st Battalion 69th Infantry. During this period the battalion was charged with securing the road between downtown Baghdad International Airport and the Green Zone, known as “Route Irish”.

Upon returning from Iraq he took over the 69th’s scout platoon and deployed to the Southwestern Border in support of Operation Jump Start; the use of National Guard troops to help the Board Patrol conduct its mission. He was promoted to Captain in 2007 and in 2008 deployed to Afghanistan as the OIC of an Embedded Training Team working with the Afghan National Army. Since returning from Afghanistan he has served as Assistant Battalions Operations Officer, and the Commander of Company B 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry. He works full-time at New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs headquarters in Latham. Minning lead HHC during its most recent deployment with Task Force Iron and is giving up command after 2 years.

CPT. Minning resides in Clifton Park

Headquarters and Headquarters Company 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry

Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry Regiment is comprised of about 255 Soldiers. The unit returned from a one-year deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2005 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. The headquarters company provides medical, personnel, logistics, and maintenance support to the three line companies of an infantry battalion and also includes the battalion scout and mortar platoons. The battalion is part of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 42nd Infantry Division, New York Army National Guard.

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