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CONNECTICUT ARMY NATIONAL GUARD AVIATION DETACHMENT DEPLOYS TO AFGHANISTAN

Nine Soldiers Depart for Aerial Surveillance Mission

June 6, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. - Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, the Adjutant General and commanding officer of the Connecticut National Guard, today announced that the Connecticut Army National Guard’s Detachment 6, Operational Support Airlift Command, has been mobilized for deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  The nine-member unit departed Bradley International Airport this morning en route to its mobilization station at Fort Bliss, Texas for further training and validation.

 Detachment 6, a fixed wing airlift unit based at the Windsor Locks Readiness Center, is commanded by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Cooper Hastings of Vernon.

 The unit’s mission will be to provide aerial surveillance and intelligence support to U.S. commanders throughout Afghanistan to assist in ground mission planning.  The five assigned pilots and four aerial surveillance equipment operators will fly a Beechcraft King Air 300 aircraft, a modified version of the C-12 passenger transport aircraft the unit flies in the United States configured with more horsepower and aerial surveillance equipment. 
 
 Detachment 6 will be assigned overseas to Army aviation Task Force “ODIN” standing for Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize.  The mission of Task Force ODIN is to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition operations to assist ground commanders in combating insurgent attacks and protecting U.S. forces. 

 “This specialized unit is another example of the depth of experience and talent in our Guard today,” said Maj. Gen. Martin.   “Together these nine Army aviators have already served more than 5,000 days deployed overseas.   Their commitment to their profession is unequaled.”

 Eight of the Detachment’s nine assigned soldiers have previously deployment at least once.   Four unit members have completed two or more previous deployments. 

 Detachment 6 is the second Connecticut Army National Guard unit to deploy in 2014 bringing the total number of Army National Guard deployed soldiers from the state to 23.  The Connecticut Air National Guard has an additional 13 airmen currently deployed

 Once validated at Fort Bliss Detachment 6 will deploy to Southwest Asia for a tour of duty expected to last between nine to twelve months.