MDNG detachment heads to Kuwait
October 17, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Members of the Maryland National Guard's Detachment 2, Company B, 642nd Aviation Support Battalion bid farewell to fellow Soldiers, Family members and friends before departing on a nine-month tour to Kuwait during a Deployment Ceremony at the Maj. Gen. Warren D. Hodges Armory at APG South (Edgewood) Oct. 4.
The detachment of aviation maintenance specialists will support U.S. military missions in the Southwest Asia nation. Its Soldiers will join hundreds of New York and New Jersey guard members who will train in Fort Hood, Texas, before deploying. The Soldiers will be gone about one year.
The ceremony's guests included Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, Maryland Adjutant General and Maj. Aaron Harding, executive officer of the 29th Combat Aviation Battalion as well as APG Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin.
The detachment of 21 Soldiers is led by Detachment Commander 1st Lt. Brian Fisher.
Several Soldiers and Family members said they will count on the unit's Family Readiness Group to keep them informed.
Electronics mechanic, Sgt. Brandon Matthews said he was reluctant to leave his wife, Roxxy, and sons, Braydon, 1, and Robbin, 6, because he's from Louisiana and has no other family in the area.
"But I'm not worried; we have very strong FRG support. I just want to spend as much time with my Family as I can before I leave," he said.
Loretta Burgess came to see off her boyfriend, Sgt. Dennis King, an avionics equipment repairman along with his daughter Donnisha King and his aunt Ernestine King.
Burgess said they've survived other deployments and know what to expect.
"We'll stay in touch through the Internet and cable and the FRG will keep us busy making care packages and holding Family gatherings. It will go by fast."
"Sandy Elmore, the mother of Spc. Jeremy Elmore, said she got "a little teary-eyed," because her oldest son is leaving on his first deployment.
She was accompanied by her husband, Jeff, their other two children and Jeremy's fiancé, Jenn Albers.
"When he comes back they're getting married," Sandy Elmore said. "I'll just be glad to have him home."
Supporting elements at the ceremony included members of the Maryland Patriot Guard led by State Captain William C. Staats. With the motto, "Respect, Honor, Support," the group attends ceremonies honoring service members around the state.
Desiree Bowman and Alyson Collins of the U.S. Army Public Health Command provided a Soldier's Angels display; an assortment of free knick-knacks and patriotic mementos from the organization supporting service members, veterans and their families.
Bowman said they usually use their annual leave time to attend events but didn't have to because they were both furloughed due to the government shutdown.
"We'd be here if we weren't furloughed," Bowman said. "It's what we're about."
History of Det. 2, Co. B, 62nd ASB
Detachment 2, Company B, 642nd ASB was activated as a Maryland Army National Guard organization in April 2006. The detachment's history includes six major campaigns in France during World War I followed by successful campaigns in France and Germany during World War II as part of the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division. The division was inactivated in 1946.
Following the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, Rainbow battalions from New York armories provided immediate emergency response and thousands of the division's Soldiers participated in recovery operations as Joint Task Force 42. The security augmentation operations lasted more than a year.
In 2004, the 42nd ID became the first National Guard divisional command in Iraq when it was mobilized for 18 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 642nd DASB provided key maintenance support for the division and the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade.