642nd Aviation Support Battalion History
The history and lineage of the 642d Aviation Support Battalion (ASB) originates from the various elements of the battalions of the 142d Aviation Regiment, a parent regiment of the Army Regimental System, with Company F (AVIM) forming the core of what would become the 642d ASB. Specifically, the direct lineage of the 642d ASB began with the reorganization of several units during the Army’s Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI) in which subordinate units of 1/142 Aviation Regiment and 2/142 Aviation Regiment were reorganized under the colors of the 1/142d Aviation Regiment (Attack), with Headquarters in Rochester, New York.
The numerical designation of 642d originated on 1 September 2000 with the creation of the 642d Divisional Aviation Support Battalion in the New York Army National Guard from new and existing units, with Headquarters at Brooklyn, under the command of LTC Thomas Bosco. The coat of arms for the 642d DASB with revised symbolism is derived from the 742d Ordnance Battalion, in a letter by the Quartermaster General dated 22, October 1953. This formalized the lineage between the support elements of the contemporary 642d DASB and units of the 42d Infantry Division who fought in the Rhineland Campaign of World War II.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 the 642d DASB mustered at the Marcy Avenue armory to await orders. The next morning, LTC Bosco travelled to headquarters where the he received orders to move to the Battalion to the World Trade Center site, in order to conduct perimeter security around Ground Zero. On the evening of September 12, 2001, the Battalion’s tactical vehicle convoy was the only traffic to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, headed for the remains of the World Trade center. Thereafter, Soldiers of the 642d DASB provided perimeter security for the World Trade Center for several weeks while recovery and firefighting operations continued at the site. The 642d DASB was one of the first military units from any service to respond to Ground Zero, serving at the very inception of what later became the Global War on Terror.
In April 2004, the Battalion was mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraqi Surge Campaign), along with its parent headquarters, the 42d Aviation Brigade and the 42d Infantry Division Headquarters, Task Force Liberty. On 9 November, 2004 under the command of LTC Glenn Marchi, the unit deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait pending movement into Iraq. On 4 December 2004, elements of the Battalion deployed into Iraq. While deployed, the 642d DASB operated primarily out of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Speicher in Tikrit, but also manned several forward arming and refueling points located at FOB McKenzie, FOB Danger, and FOB Caldwell. The Battalion distinguished itself while deployed, completing over 180 combat logistics patrols covering nearly 60,000 miles, while repelling multiple attacks by insurgent forces in addition to recovering three downed aircraft. During the deployment two purple hearts were awarded and six vehicles were lost to enemy fire yet the Battalion returned home successfully without loss of life.
After returning from deployment to Iraq in late 2005, the Battalion’s colors moved to its new headquarters at the Patriot Way armory in Rochester. On 5 August 2006 the 1/142 Aviation Regiment and the 642d Divisional Aviation Support battalion were consolidated and re-designated as the 642d Aviation Support battalion. This action was formalized during the change of command when LTC Mark Stryker, commander of the 1/142 Aviation Regiment, cased his colors. LTC Marchi then passed the 642d ASB colors to LTC Stryker as the new 642d ASB commander.
After deployment to OIF and the move from Brooklyn to Rochester, the Battalion further reorganized. B Company, 638th ASB, with Headquarters in Ronkonkoma, was re-designated as B Company, 642d ASB, with detachments in Maryland and South Carolina. C Company, a Network Signal Support Company with Headquarters at the Marcy Avenue Armory, was organized in 2006. LTC Scott Norcutt assumed command from LTC Stryker in September 2008. C Company moved to Fort Hamilton in 2009.
In November 2011, LTC Jack James assumed command from LTC Norcutt. Elements of the Battalion responded to Hurricane Irene in 2011 and the entire Battalion was mobilized for state active duty in support of Hurricane Sandy relief operations in November 2012. During the latter mobilization, the Battalion conducted relief missions throughout New York City, Rockland, and Westchester Counties. 642d ASB Soldiers flew missions throughout the region and Soldiers from the Battalion remained on state active duty as late as February 2013. Additionally, the Battalion provided command and control and pre-mobilization training for the deployment of two subordinate flight companies, B Co., 3-126 AVN (CH-47) and F Co., 1-169 AVN (Air Ambulance) to Afghanistan during 2012 and 2013.
In October 2013, the 642d Aviation Support Battalion mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom under the command of LTC James. Deploying all subordinate companies for the first time, the 642d ASB faced its first major test since the reorganization of the 42d Combat Aviation Brigade. During this deployment, the Battalion fulfilled all of its MTOE missions supporting 42d CAB operations in AO Georgia. Assigned as part of the deployable aviation task force, the Battalion is prepared to conduct split-based operation in support of ARCENT and stands ready to respond to any contingency.