CONTACT: Col. Richard Goldenberg 518-786-4581 or (day of the event) Lt. Salvatore Cautela (cell) 321-9204
FOR RELEASE: Saturday, Oct 20, 2012
Iraq Veteran Takes Command of New York Army National Guard Explosives Ordnance Disposal Battalion
Lt. Col. Andrew Caliendo Takes Command on Saturday at Stratton Air National Guard Base
STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCOTIA, NY (10/19/2012)(readMedia)-- Lt. Col. Andrew Caliendo, a veteran of the Iraq War, will take command of the New York Army National Guard’s 501st Ordnance Battalion, a headquarters unit that controls up to five explosive ordnance disposal companies, on Saturday, Oct. 20 during a ceremony at Stratton Air National Guard Base.
Explosive ordnance disposal companies are key in fighting the IEDs that have been the enemy’s primary weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan.
WHO: Lt. Col. Andrew Caliendo, the incoming commander, Lt. Col. Robert Mitchell, the outgoing commander, and the Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard’s 501st Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and Col. Jim Pabis, the commander of the 153rd Troop Command.
WHAT: A traditional Army Change-of-Command ceremony in which the battalion’s a color, or flag, is transferred from Mitchell ( the outgoing commander) to Pabis, the higher headquarters commander, to Caliendo, the incoming commander. The ceremony marks the transfer of authority and responsibility for the unit and was traditionally designed to allow the Soldiers to see who their new commander was. On the battlefield the unit’s colors marked the location of the commander during the fight.
WHEN: 1 p.m. , Saturday, October 20, 2012.
WHERE: Stratton Air National Guard Base, 1 Air National Guard Road, Scotia, NY
Members of the press will be able to interview the incoming and outgoing commanders. Video and photographic opportunities include Soldiers in formation and the flag transfer ceremony.
For access to this secure military facility contact Lt. Colette Martin at (office) 518-344-2352 prior to 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19.
Lt. Col. Andrew Caliendo
Lt. Col. Andrew Caliendo was commissioned a second lieutenant in the New York Army National Guard through the Empire State Military Academy Officer Candidate School (OCS) program in 1992 and assigned as a platoon leader in Company F, 42d Aviation Brigade. In September 1999, he was assigned as the personnel officer for the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion (ASB) in Brooklyn, NY. In July 2000, he was assigned as commander of the Headquarters and Supply Company (HSC) of the 642nd ASB in Brooklyn, NY.
As commander, he deployed to New York City with his company on September 11, 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks. After over four years in command, he was assigned as the support operations officer (SPO) to the 642nd ASB where he mobilized and deployed to Iraq in 2004/2005. After the deployment, Caliendo was assigned as executive officer of the 642nd ASB. In July 2006, he was transferred to the 42d ID Tactical Command Post (TAC) as the logistics operations officer, where he served until his current assignments as the 42nd ID Division Transportation Officer (DTO) and Deputy officer in charge of the 42d ID Domestic All Hazards Response Team (DART) Coordination Cell (DCC).
Caliendo’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Caliendo’s Military and Civilian Education include the Signal Officer Basic Course, the Quartermaster Advance Course, the Army Command and General Staff College (ILE). Caliendo holds a Bachelors degree from New York Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters Degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
In civilian life he is a quality manager at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT. He is a resident of Pelham, New York.
Lt. Col. Robert Mitchell:
Lt. Col Robert Mitchell graduated from SUNY Binghamton in 1995 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Regular Army through the Reserve Officers Training Corps as an Ordnance Officer. After graduating from the Ordnance Officer Basic Course in January 1996, he was assigned to the 63rd Ordnance Company as a platoon leader at Fort Lewis, WA. He was then reassigned to Ft. Lee, VA in June 1998 where he attended the Captain’s Career Course and subsequently graduated in May of 1999. He is currently assigned as deputy director of the New York National Guard’s Joint Operations Directorate, which is responsible for providing military support to state and local governments.
He entered Explosive Ordnance Basic School at Eglin AFB in June of 1999. Graduating in May 2000, he then was assigned to Fort Meade, MD as a Company Commander for the 744th Ordnance Company. There he participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Upon completion of company command he was assigned to Eglin AFB, FL as Director of Training at the Naval Explosive Ordnance School.
In November 2005 Mitchell transferred to the New York Army National Guard to the 501st Ordnance Battalion serving as the executive officer until September 2009.
Mitchell’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. Additionally, Mitchell has been awarded the Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge.
Mitchell’s military and civilian education include the Ordnance Officer Basic Course, the Ordnance Captain’s Career Course, the Combined Arms Services and Staff School, Explosive Ordnance Basic School and the Army Command and General Staff College (ILE). Mitchell holds a Bachelors degree from SUNY Binghamton in Geography.
Mitchell lives with his wife Vickie in Ballston Lake, NY. They have four children, Nick, Robbie, Zak and Jeff.
501st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion:
Based at the Scotia Armed Forces Reserve Center the 501st EOD battalion is a headquarters unit which is able to take control of two to five Explosive Ordnance Disposal companies in a combat zone. The 501st is the higher headquarters for the New York Army National Guard’s 1108th EOD Company, also based at the Scotia Armed Forces Reserve Center, along with EOD companies in Greenville, North Carolina, Camp Edward, Massachusetts, Camp Dawson, West Virginia, and Camp Grayling, Michigan.
The 501st Ordnance Battalion deployed to Iraq in the fall of 2010, serving there for nine months. During the battalion’s deployment in Iraq the unit was responsible for counter-IED operations in nine provinces of southern Iraq, a region of about 81,000-square miles. This includes the main north-south highway known to the Military as MSR (Main Supply Route) Tampa, which is the road that U.S. military supplies and Soldiers entered and left Iraq over.
The 501st traces its roots back to the New York National Guard’s historic 105th Infantry Regiment , known as the "Appleknockers," because historically the Soldiers of the regiment worked in the apple orchards of the Hudson Valley as civilians. The regiment fought in World War I and World War II before converting to an EOD battalion in 2005.
The 501st also serves as the higher headquarters for the New York Army National Guard’s 138th Public Affairs Detachment, 1427th Transportation Company, and 466th Area Medical Company.
The ceremony for the 501st Ordnance Company is one of three major leadership changes for the New York National Guard this weekend. On Saturday Oct. 20th, the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade also welcomes its new commander, Col. Albert Ricci. On Sunday the New York Army National Guard Medical Command (MEDCOM) welcomes its new commander Colonel James Coleman, a flight surgeon with combat experience in Afghanistan.