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NY Guard sending 1,700-soldier force to Afghanistan in '08

ALBANY, N.Y. - More than 1,700 members of the New York Army National Guard will be sent to Afghanistan by next year to help train the Afghan army and police, guard officials said Tuesday.

The New York Guard members will take over Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII in May from the South Carolina National Guard's 218th Brigade, which has 1,800 soldiers in Afghanistan.

The initial New York security units have already been mobilized by the Department of Defense to begin moving in September, with the bulk of the force planning for deployment over the next six months.

Syracuse-based headquarters elements of the 27th Brigade Combat Team will lead the units taking over Task Force Phoenix.

The force will include a "training assistance group" drawn from the Guard's 106th Regional Training Institute at Camp Smith in Westchester County, "mentoring teams" from combat and combat support units, and logistic and support personnel from the 427th Forward Support Battalion at various armories around the state. The security force will include soldiers from the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry in Western New York and the Plattsburgh-based Company B, 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry.

The New York Army Guard currently has about 500 soldiers in Afghanistan: a military police company, medical company, a personnel service detachment and 16 members of an "embedded training team."

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