CONTACT: Col. Richard Goldenberg, 518-786-4581
FOR RELEASE: Saturday, Oct 20, 2012
42nd Combat Aviation Brigade Conducts Change of Command Saturday
Col Albert Ricci, a Ballston Lake Resident, Takes Command of 42nd Infantry Division’s Aviation Component
LATHAM, NY (10/19/2012)(readMedia)-- Colonel Albert Ricci, a twice-deployed Iraq War veteran, will take command of the New York Army National Guard’s 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade during a ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility here on Saturday, Oct. 20.
WHO: Col. Albert Ricci ( the incoming commander) Col. Mark Stryker ( the outgoing commander) Major General Steven Wickstrom, the commander of the 42nd Infantry Division, and the men and women of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
WHAT: A traditional military change-of-command ceremony in which the colors, or flag, of the brigade is transferred from Stryker to Ricci by the division command, signifying the change of responsibility and authority for the brigade from one commander to another. Traditionally the unit’s color’s marked the location of the commander on the battlefield and the ceremony allowed the Soldiers to know who their commander was.
WHEN: 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012.
WHERE: Army Aviation Support Facility # 3, 330 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham NY.
Members of the media seeking access to this secure military facility must contact Capt. Michael Squires at (518) 786-4886.
Reporters will have the opportunity to interview both the incoming and outgoing commanders as well as Major General Steven Wickstrom, the commander of the Troy-based 42nd Infantry Division. Video and photographic opportunities include Soldiers in formation in the aircraft hanger as well as the ceremony in which the unit colors are transferred.
The ceremony for the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade is one of three major leadership changes for the New York National Guard this weekend. On Saturday Oct. 20th, the 501st Ordnance Battalion (EOD) in Scotia welcomes its new commander, Lt. Col. Andrew Caliendo. 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.
Colonel Albert J. Ricci Sr.
Col. Albert Ricci Sr., a full-time member of the New York Army National Guard is a veteran of two Iraq War deployments as well as deployments to Honduras and responses to New York State emergencies.
Ricci began his Army career in 1985 when he attended Aviation Officer Basic Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama after earning his commission through ROTC. He graduated flight school and proceeded to obtain an UH-60 Blackhawk qualification.
His first assignment was platoon leader H Company 227th Aviation Regiment, 3rd Armor Division in Hanau, West Germany. Other positions held while stationed at Hanau were; Battalion Assistant S3, and Battalion Flight Operations Officer, 227th Aviation Regt. After attending the Aviation Advance Course at Fort Rucker his next assignment was Battalion S1 for 123rd Aviation Regt, 7th Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Ord, California. In 1991 he was selected as Commander of A Company 123rd Aviation Regt, 7th ID (Light) where he led operations during the Los Angeles Riots, JRTC Rotation and a Presidential Flight Operation to South America.
He left the Active Army in 1992 and in 1996, Ricci joined the New York Army National Guard. He has held the full-time positions of: Aviation Brigade Executive Officer; Brigade operations and personnel officer, and Commander of Army Aviation Flight Facility#1.
He deployed to Iraq in 2004/05 as the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade operations officer. In 2008/09 he deployed to Iraq once again as commander of the 3rd 142 Assault Helicopter Battalion. He was one of the thousands of New York National Guard members who were ordered to duty to assist in the New York state response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
Ricci earned Baccalaureate Degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida in Aeronautical Studies. In 2012 he received a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in Carlisle, P.A.
Ricci holds Federal Aviation Administration licenses of Commercial Pilot: Airplane Single-Multi Engine Land, Instrument License and Commercial Helicopter Instrument License.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medals, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, the New York State Defense of Liberty with WTC device and 4 Aid to Civil Authority Medals. Ricci has also earned the Master Army Aviator Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Air Assault Badge.
He and his wife Diane have two daughters -- Kaelin and Briley-- and a son, AJ and live in Ballston Lake.
Colonel Mark A. Stryker:
Col. Mark A Stryker, a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the War in Iraq, will be retiring after 31 years of military service as he leaves command of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade. Stryker was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps through the ROTC Program at SUNY Oswego in 1983. He completed Army flight school in 1984 and became a helicopter pilot.
Stryker initially served in the United States Army Reserve assigned to the 1209th United States Army Garrison in Mattydale, New York where he served as an aviation platoon leader. He deployed with the 423rd Air Ambulance Company in support of Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield in 1990 and 1991 and served as platoon leader, operations officer and company commander.
Stryker transferred to the New York Army National Guard in 1995 and served in the 1st Battalion 142nd Attack Helicopter Battalion in Rochester as personnel officer. In 2004 he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 1-142nd Corps Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Battalion and in 2005 he took command of the 1-142nd. In 2006 he assumed command of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion.
Stryker served as deputy commander of the 53rd Troop Command before taking over as commander of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade in 2009.
His awards include The Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Iraq Campaign Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, and the Senior Army Aviator Badge.
He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College, Joint Task Force Commander Training Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, AeroMedical Evacuation Officers Course, the Aero Medical Evacuation Officers Basic and Advanced Courses and the Aviation Maintenance Managers Course .
Stryker is a lifelong resident of New York State and has been employed since 1986 as a pilot with the New York State Police. He currently resides in Alexander, NY with his wife Mary and their three children.
42nd Combat Aviation Brigade:
The 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, the aviation element of the 42nd Infantry Division, has units in eleven states. In New York the brigade is responsible for aviation elements in Dunkirk, Jamestown, Olean, and Rochester; Latham; Brooklyn, Patchogue and Ronkonkoma. The major units of the brigade in New York include the 3rd Battalion 142nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, and the 624nd Aviation Support Battalion.
The brigade exercises administrative control over B Co. of the 2-126th Aviation Battalion and F Company of the 169th General Support Aviation Brigade. Both of those elements are currently on federal active duty status in support of combat operations in Afghanistan.
The 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade traces its heritage back to 1947 with the formation of a fixed wing aviation detachment of L-19 "Bird Dogs" assigned to Miller Field at Staten Island, New York. Ultimately this section of aircraft along with other aircraft from II Corps and the 101st Armored Cavalry Regiment formed the 42nd Aviation Company at Huntington Station, Long Island in 1959.
Four years later, in 1963, the units were again reorganized as the 42nd Aviation Battalion at Freeport, Long Island. By this time, the unit was equipped with O-1A Bird Dog and U-6 Beaver fixed wing aircraft. Over the next decade, the 42nd Aviation Battalion would grow, having ’letter" companies assigned across the State and in Massachusetts. By now, the Army aviation division level units were transforming to rotary wing organizations. First, in 1968, the battalion received OH-13’s and OH-23’s.
Then in 1971, Alpha Company, located in Niagara Falls, New York, picked up the first UH-1’s in New York, while Bravo Company, located in Massachusetts, also received UH-1 helicopters. These companies were mostly ’Lift’, with ’Delta’ and ’Hotel’ model Huey’s. However, Alpha and Bravo Companies also had ’Attack’ Platoons, comprised of ’Charlie’ and ’Mike’ model gunships.
Over the next several years and through several additional reorganizations, the 42nd Aviation Battalion, in 1985, had 1046 personnel and 125 aircraft that included AH-1 Cobra’s, and OH-6 Cayuse and UH-1 Iroquois. All division aviation assets were now under the control of the aviation battalion commander.
In October, 1986, with the advent of the "Army of Excellence," the 42nd Aviation Battalion (Combat) was re-designated as the Aviation Brigade, 42nd Infantry Division with assets throughout New York State. Simultaneously, the 101st Cavalry Squadron was reorganized, receiving ’Air Cavalry’ assets. ’Charlie" and ’Delta’ Troops came online with Attack and Reconnaissance aircraft. In later years, circa 1993, the ’Air Cavalry’ elements went away. They had been replaced by new Army force structure, the 1st Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment (Attack) headquartered in Latham, New York (1989). Further aviation growth (1991) saw the Niagara Falls UH-1 unit transform into the 2nd Battalion 142nd Aviation Regiment (Assault).
In 1995, however, the Army’s "Aviation Restructuring Initiative" (ARI), once again reorganized the Army aviation community. During this reorganization, the 2/142nd was deactivated. The 1/142nd was moved to Rochester, New York and the personnel from 2/142nd fell-in on this Battalion’s Colors.
The unit received AH-1 ’F’ model aircraft and began their transition to ’Attack’ mission. Subsequently, the Latham organization, was re-flagged as the 3rd Battalion 142nd Aviation Regiment (Assault), and received the first UH-60 ’Blackhawk’ helicopters in New York. The 42nd Aviation Brigade (CAB) headquarters deployed to Iraq in May of 2004 and returned November 2005.