US to deploy two dozen National Guard air crew and aviators to Afghanistan

18 July 2016 (Last Updated July 18th, 2016 18:30)

Air crew and aviators from the New York Army National Guard will be deployed to Afghanistan in early 2017.

Air crew and aviators from the New York Army National Guard will be deployed to Afghanistan in early 2017.

Nearly 24 soldiers from Detachment 1, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment will be sent to support US forces already in the country.

The Army National Guard aviation unit participated in the largest air assault operation in Afghanistan since 2002.

It operates CH-47 Chinook helicopters that were used in the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Personnel from the Army National Guard will also join 5,000 other soldiers to participate in an exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Fort Polk, Louisiana."

Powered by two turbine engines driving two rotor blades, the heavy-lift helicopter can carry up to 55 troops and lift up to 13t of cargo.

Personnel from the Army National Guard will also join 5,000 other soldiers to participate in an exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Fort Polk, Louisiana.

The aviation units will focus on moving troops and equipment throughout the training area to support the units being evaluated.

Army units at the JRTC will conduct combat training in a realistic environment, which features a well-trained opposing force, civilian role-players on the battlefield, high-tech monitoring systems, and observer-controllers to evaluate unit actions.


Image: A CH-47 Chinook prepares for takeoff at the Army's JRTC in Louisiana. Photo: courtesy of Sgt. Michael Davis.