February 6, 2014
CONNECTICUT NATIONAL GUARD ENGINEER UNIT FIRST TO DEPLOY IN 2014
HARTFORD, Conn. - Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, the Adjutant General and commanding officer of the Connecticut National Guard, today announced that the 242nd Engineer Detachment (Construction Management Team) has been mobilized for deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The nine-member unit departed Bradley International Airport this afternoon en route to its mobilization station at Fort Bliss, Texas for further training and validation.
The 242nd Engineer Detachment is the first Connecticut Army National Guard to deploy in 2014. The Niantic-based unit is commanded by Col. John R. Whitford of Norwich.
The 242nd Detachment specializes in planning, managing and assessing engineer projects. The unit will serve as part of an engineer task force assigned to deconstruct and consolidate coalition operating bases to coincide with the drawdown of combat forces scheduled for the end of this year. The unit is also expected to work with and train Afghan National Army (ANA) engineers to assume the responsibilities of managing base support requirements and completing infrastructure improvement projects already underway.
"This is an important mission that will facilitate Allied plans to turn over significant base operations responsibilities to the ANA this year," said Maj. Gen. Martin. "This deployment once again demonstrates the depth and knowledge of our Guard members and how they are essential partners with our active duty counterparts."
This is the first deployment for the 242nd Detachment which received its federal recognition as a unit in September 2011. Unit members are qualified in a variety of specialized positions including
technical engineer specialist, horizontal construction sergeant, construction operations sergeant and public works construction management officer.
The 242nd Engineer Detachment carries the military lineage and honors of the Connecticut Army National Guard’s former 242nd Engineer Battalion which was originally constituted as a coastal artillery corps unit in Bridgeport in 1922.
The Detachment's deployment breaks the Connecticut Army National Guard's brief respite from continuous deployments since March 2003 which concluded when the Waterbury-based 143d Combat Sustainment Support Battalion returned on Dec. 21 after a nine-month deployment to Kuwait. The Connecticut Air National Guard currently has 12 individual Airmen from the 103d Airlift Wing of East Granby and the 103d Air Control Squadron of Orange forward deployed supporting other units' missions in Southwest Asia.
Once validated at Fort Bliss the 242nd Engineer Detachment will deploy to Southwest Asia for a tour of duty expected to last between nine to twelve months.