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Rochester-based Army National Guard Aviation Soldiers return from Afghanistan

STAFF REPORTS
ROCHESTER -- Twenty New York Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to Detachment 1 of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th General Support Aviation Battalion return home from a nine month tour from Afghanistan on Saturday, Feb. 10th.

Detachment 1, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment

Nicknamed "The Kong" Detachment 1 Company B. 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation (Heavy Lift) operates CH-47F Chinook helicopters from the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport.

The detachment-the other half of the company is part of the Maryland Army National Guard based in Edgewood, MD -- deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008.

The company was recognized as the Army National Guard aviation unit of the year for 2008 by the Army Aviation Association of America (known as Quad A) for the company's accomplishments in Afghanistan, including participating in the largest Air Assault operation in that country since 2002.

In 2009 the detachment's pilots and other Soldiers trained Canadian Forces pilots to operate the CH-47 because all of that country's CH-47s were already deployed to Afghanistan. The detachment also sent Soldiers and helicopters to assist in the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In June 2011 a helicopter assigned to the company plucked a motorboat stuck in the Niagara Falls rapids from the lip of the falls before it could go over.

In August and September 2011 CH-47s assigned to the detachment were used to move Federal Emergency Management Agency supplies during the National Guard's response to Tropical Storm Irene.

Following Superstorm Sandy in November 2012 the Soldiers of Company B once again used their CH-47 helicopters to move critically needed supplies from other locations to New York City during the New York National Guard response to the storm.

In 2012 and 2013 the Soldiers deployed once again to Afghanistan to move troops and supplies across the country.

The unit will deploy to the mobilization site with four CH-47 helicopters for training. One helicopter will remain in Rochester for training and emergency response purposes.

CH-47F Chinook

The CH-47F is the Army's largest helicopter and can lift more than 30 Soldiers and carry 28,000 pounds of cargo. The 98-foot long, twin rotor helicopters are invaluable for moving troops and equipment in the mountains of Afghanistan.

The CH-47F, the latest model of the CH-47 features a digital "glass cockpit" instrument array which replaces many dials with integrated computer readouts. Known officially as the Common Avionics Architecture System, the array of computer readouts incorporate information for the aircraft pilots in an easily managed format. The new digital readouts were designed to reflect lessons learned in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.