New commander appointed for NY Army National Guard

New commander appointed for NY Army National Guard

25-Apr-2014 Source: US Army

New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. Jack James, currently the commander of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion, has been picked to command the Latham-based 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

The brigade headquarters, along with the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion, and Company A of the 3rd Battalion 142nd Aviation, also from Latham, deployed to Kuwait in December 2013. The unit is expected to return home in late summer.

The brigade currently also commands the 3rd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation Battalion, from the Michigan Army National Guard which flies UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, and the Active Army’s 3rd Battalion, 159th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion which flies the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter.

James will replace Col. Albert Ricci, who has led the brigade since 2012. Ricci will retire after a 30-year Army career. James will be promoted to colonel when he assumes his new role.

James, a corporate vice president of New York Life in civilian life, has commanded the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion since Nov. 2011. The 642nd provides aviation maintenance and logistical support to helicopter units of the brigade. The unit has elements located in Rochester, Dunkirk, Olean, Ronkonkoma and Fort Hamilton.

The battalion also provides command and control for an air ambulance helicopter company and CH-47 Chinook company when at home station.

“Lt. Col. Jack James is an outstanding commander who has led the men and women of the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion in accomplishing great things during their deployment in Kuwait,” said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York. “He is one of the best Guard leaders I have ever seen and he will do a great job as commander of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade.”

James is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who began his military career in 1992.

He attended the Aviation Officer Basic Course and flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala. where he qualified in the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter.

Following an assignment with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea, he was assigned to 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, where he served as an Attack Helicopter Platoon Leader, assistant operations officer, and battalion logistics officer. During this tour he deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in 1995.

After attending the AH-64 Apache qualification course, James was assigned to 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo. He served as Assistant operations officer before commanding R Troop “Renegades,” an AH-64 equipped attack helicopter troop. During this tour, he deployed with R Troop to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Forge/SFOR-7 in 2000.

In 2002, James joined the New York Army National Guard, serving as intelligence and operations officer for the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion. He was then assigned as Executive Officer of the 3rd Battalion (Assault), 142nd Aviation Regiment in Latham

In 2006, James was selected as the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade operations officer where he served until assuming battalion command in November 2011.

James played a key role in the planning and execution of numerous operations and training events including state active duty mobilization in support of JTF Empire Shield, New Horizons-Honduras, Operation Vigilant Guard, the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, Army National Guard aviation transformation, and several pre-mobilization training events.

James also served as the operations officer for New York’s aviation response to Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, coordinating an aviation task force that grew to 28 aircraft and 500 Soldiers from four states, providing relief to citizens of the Gulf Coast region.

James also holds a Masters of Business Administration from New York University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College, the Army Command & General Staff College, the Army Combined Arms & Services Staff School and the Electronic Warfare/ Aircraft Survivability Course.

He is a Pilot-in-Command in the UH-60 Blackhawk and is rated in the AH-64, AH-1 and UH-1 helicopters, as well as fixed wing aircraft. He currently is enrolled in the US Army War College distance learning program.

James’ awards include the Meritorious Service, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the NATO Medal. He also holds the Senior Army Aviator Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.

James is married to the former Lesia Koropey and has three children: Katherine, Juliana, and Nicholas. He is currently residing in Florida but is originally from New York City.

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