NY National Guard mobilizes 650 Soldiers for long-planned deployment to U.S. Central Command area

More than 2,500 Soldiers and their family members take part in farewell events in Rochester, Staten Island and Loudonville Saturday, Jan. 11

The New York National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division headquarters will be holding farewell events in Rochester, Staten Island and the Albany suburb of Loudonville for 650 Soldiers deploying to the United States Central Command area of operations Saturday, Jan. 11.

The division headquarters has been planning for this mission for the past two years.

The three locations were picked so that Soldier’s families do not have to travel too far for one central event. 42nd Infantry Division leaders anticipate that 2,500 Soldiers and family members will attend the three events.

The 42nd Infantry Division headquarters, based in Troy, is being mobilized for a deployment in the early spring. United States Central Command is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

The division, commanded by Major General Steven Ferrari will assume command over Task Force Spartan.

Task Force Spartan is a unique, multi-component organization, made up of active Army and National Guard units, rounded out by U.S. Army Reserve support units. The task force maintains U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia sufficient to strengthen defense relationships and build partner capacity.

Units in the task force support Operation Spartan Shield with capabilities such as aviation, logistics, force protection and information management.

The division headquarters and the task force will facilitate theater security cooperation activities such as key leader engagements, joint exercises, conferences, symposia and humanitarian assistance/disaster response planning.

Division Soldiers will initially conduct training at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania and then move to Fort Hood for additional pre-deployment training.

The Rochester event will be held at the Patriot Way Armory at 76 Patriot Way near the Rochester International Airport. Brig. Gen. Joseph Biehler, the division’s deputy commander for operations, will be the ranking officer at this location.

The division anticipates that over 300 family members and 80 Soldiers will take part in this event.

The Albany region event will be held at “The Alumni Recreation Center at Siena College in Loudonville. Brig. Gen. Thomas Spencer, the division’s deputy commander for support, will be the ranking officer at the Siena College event. The division expects 200 Soldiers and over 800 family members to participate in this event.

The Staten Island farewell will be held at the College of Staten Island’s Atrium at 2800 Victory Blvd. About 230 Soldiers and 870 family members are expected to attend. Major Gen. Steve Ferrari, the division commander, will be the ranking officer at this event.

Major Gen. Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York will attend the Staten Island event.

The 42nd Infantry Division was created during World War I when National Guard elements from 26 states were combined into one division that could deploy to France quickly. The officer who came up with the idea, Col. Douglas MacArthur, said the division would stretch across the United States “like a Rainbow.”

Since then the division has been known as The Rainbow Division.

In World War II the division was recreated and fought in France and Germany. Division Soldiers took the cities of Wurzburg and Munich and liberated the inmates at the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp.

In 1947 the 42nd Infantry Division became part of the New York Army National Guard. Division Soldiers responded to state emergencies and served as part of the United States strategic reserve.

In 2004 the division headquarters and support elements were mobilized for deployment to Iraq. Division soldiers served in Iraq in 2005, with the division headquarters responsible for 23,000 Soldiers in four Iraqi provinces.

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