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CONTACT: Eric Durr, 518-786-4581 or (cell) 518-429-5186.
FOR RELEASE: Saturday, Dec 06, 2008
ON SITE: Sgt First Class Peter Towse: 315-558-4504

Iraq War Veteran Assumes Command Of Utica-based National Guard Unit

Media Advisory


Lt Col. Joseph Biehler takes command from Lt. Col. Dennis Deeley, the commander of the battalion since 2005


Lt. Col. Joseph Biehler, an Iraq War veteran and Bronze Star Medal winner, takes command of the New York Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry on Dec 6 during a formal Change-of-Command Ceremony at the Utica Armory. Change-Of-Command Ceremony. Lt. Col. Deeley, the outgoing commander, will transfer the unit’s flag, or colors, to the incoming commander, Lt. Col. Biehler, to mark the transition from one commander to another.


11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.


: New York State Armory, 1700 Parkway East Armory, Utica NY

WHY: The Change of Command Ceremony dates back to the days in which a military unit’s flag marked its position in the line of battle. The colors were always near the commander, so troops knew where to rally on the battlefield. Today the transfer of the colors marks a change in the unit and givens the soldiers their first opportunity to see and hear their new leader. BACKGROUND: Lt. Col. Joseph Biehler Lt. Col. Joseph Biehler was commissioned as an Infantry officer in May of 1987 and joined the New York Army National Guard. He has served as a rifle platoon leader, mortar platoon leaders, company commander, battalion supply officer, battalion operations officer, and battalion executive officer before assuming his new job. He deployed to Iraq in 2004 as the operations officer of the battalion he will now lead. His awards include the Bronze Star, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, the Ranger Tab Airborne Wings, Air Assault Wings and Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He holds BS Degrees in Accounting and Management and is a Finance Senior Manager for Harris Corporation. He lives in Webster, Monroe County, with his wife Sonya and children Thomas and Andrew Lt. Col Dennis Deeley: Lt. Col. Dennis Deeley joined the Army as an enlisted soldier in 1984 and earned his commission through the New York State Officer Candidate program in 1989. He served in Iraq as the executive officer of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry before assuming command of the battalion in 2005. He has also served as a company commander, information operations officer, intelligence officer and brigade operations officer. He is currently a full-time employee of the New York Army National Guard where he works as division planner for the 42nd Infantry Division in Troy, NY. His civilian education includes degrees in architecture and liberal arts. His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Parachutist Badge and the Air Assault Badge. The 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry: The Second Battalion 108th Infantry has over 80O soldiers located at armories in Utica, Geneseo, Batavia, Ithaca, Rome, Gloversville, Morrisonville, Ogdensburg, Saranac Lake, Hoosick Falls and Schenectady. In October 2003 the unit was mobilized for service in Iraq and deployed to that country in February 2004 where it operated with the 1st Infantry Division. The battalion captured high value individuals who were associated with the crimes against humanity in the town of Ad Dujayl. The Iraqi government executed Saddam Hussein for ordering these mass murders. Members of the battalion also rescued U.S. contractor Mark Hamill who escaped his insurgent captors after being held for three weeks. Three members of the battalion were killed during the 2004 Iraqi deployment and 30 received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in action. The battalion has also served as a key element, and the headquarters for, a New York National Guard team of Army and Air Guard members trained to extract and treat people injured in buildings destroyed in chemical, biological, or radiological incidents. While the battalion “flag” stayed home, almost 300 members of 2nd 108th Infantry deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 to train the Afghan National Army and Police. About 150 of those soldiers have already returned home. The 108th Infantry Regiment also saw service in World War I and World War II. For access to this secure military facility members of the media should call 1st Lt. Chris Culpepper at 315-793-5240 or Major Scott White 518 786-6171


© NYS DMNA Press Release:Iraq War Veteran Assumes Command Of Utica-based National Guard Unit
Page Last Modified: Jul 01, 2013