DVIDS – News – New York National Guard 42nd Combat Aviation has a new commander


LATHAM, NY- New York Army National Guard Col. Jason Lefton, an Iraq War veteran and resident of Niskayuna, assumed command of the 42nd Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade during a change of command ceremony held on November 6, 2021 at the New York National Guard Headquarters in Latham, NY

Lefton, a resident of Niskayuna, has been a State Army Aviation Officer since 2020 and will continue to hold this position while also commanding the Aviation Brigade.

It has been deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kuwait and Iraq.
Lefton replaces Army National Guard Col. Michael Charnley, who is retiring after 30 years of service in the military. Charnley took command of the brigade in July 2019.

“I am honored, grateful, humbled and delighted to command the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade. Thank you for your trust, “said Lefton,” I understand the seriousness of this great honor and will do my best. “

“We have to lead and take care of each other. We must remain courageous in the face of inherent danger and train for the missions we know are coming, ”said Lefton.
Lefton is not new to the brigade, as he was the brigade’s executive officer and was the commander of the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Assault Helicopter Regiment from September 2017 to October 2020.

“Jason Lefton is well qualified to lead our brigade after serving the aviation company here in New York for twenty years,” said Charnley, “your attributes and experience will serve our training well during your time in command.”

“I wish you well as you take command of our great organization and lead it into the future,” said Charnley.

During the ceremony, the flag, or colors, of the 42nd Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade was transferred from Charnley to Lefton by Major General Thomas Spencer. The transfer of colors symbolizes the transfer of authority for the brigade soldier.

Major General Spencer congratulated Lefton and Charnley on their fantastic careers in the military, especially in the world of aviation. He congratulated Charnley on his 30 years of service and thanked his family for their dedication to the military.

Brigade Command Sergeant Major Arnold Reyes, who was also present and part of the ceremony, said: “Colonel Charnley will surely be missed. He was truly a leader who focused on the mission and cared for the well-being of his soldiers, which made my role easier.
Reyes congratulated Charnley on his service and wished him a happy retirement.

Reyes said he looks forward to working with Col. Lefton as the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes the new commander.

“We share the same vision and look forward to building on the momentum to make it the best aviation unit,” said Reyes.

Lefton has held a number of leadership and staff positions during his 25-year career as an Army National Guard officer since receiving his commission from the Marion Military Institute in 1996.
He joined the Air Force in November 2000 and became a UH-60 pilot in the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Assault Helicopter Regiment in January 2001.

During his career, Lefton was deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina in support of Stabilization Force 12 as the liaison officer for the Multinational Division South East and the Battle Captain of Task Force and deployed to as a staff officer in Iraq.

Lefton was a company commander, battalion executive officer, brigade executive officer and battalion commander. While battalion commander for the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Assault Helicopter Regiment, Lefton led the battalion in Puerto Rico in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

He holds a master’s degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. He received his BA in Rhetoric and Communication from the State University of New York.

He has civilian work experience as a fully registered representative in the financial services industry. He holds a commercial helicopter pilot’s license and a single-engine aircraft license.

Colonel Lefton’s awards include the two Bronze Star Medals, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global Counter Terrorism Warning Service Medal, Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Service Ribbon foreign and NATO medal for service in the former Yugoslavia, combat action badge, main army aviator badge and air assault wings,

Date taken: 07/11/2021
Date posted: 11.08.2021 10:00
Story ID: 408868
Site: LATHA, NY, United States
Hometown: NISKAYUNA, NY, United States

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