Albany Times Union
Niskayuna man promoted to Guard colonel
Jason Lefton, a veteran of the Iraq War, was promoted to colonel in the New York Army National Guard during a ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Latham.
Lefton of Niskayuna is the New York Army National Guard’s state aviation officer; he oversees the operations of the 30 helicopters flown by the Guard. He is slated to assume command of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade in November.
There are only 29 colonels in the New York Army National Guard, and reaching that rank is significant for any officer, noted Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, state adjutant general, after he promoted Lefton.
Lefton, who earned his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Program at Marion Military Institute, began his career as an officer in the 1st Battalion, 156th Field Artillery. He became an Army aviator in 2000.
He has held a variety of positions, including operations officer of the 1st Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment; detachment commander of the 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment; executive officer and commander of the 3rd
Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment; commander of B Company, 642nd Aviation Battalion; commander of Army Aviation Support Facility Number 1; and executive officer and operations officer of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
Lefton deployed to Iraq in 2008 as the executive
officer of the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment. He served as a battle captain for Multi-national Division Southeast in Bosnia in 2002. He deployed to Kuwait in 2013 with the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade and served as both the operations and executive officer.
In 2017, while serving as commander of the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation, he led a support mission to Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Lefton is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. He earned a
bachelor’s degree in communications from the University at Albany and a master’s of business administration from the University of Phoenix. The colonel has earned two Bronze Star Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, an Army Commendation Medal, three Army
Achievement Medals, a Combat Action Badge, a Master Army Aviator Badge and the Air Assault Badge.
He and his wife, Heather, have two sons, Mack and Seth.
Crews of the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing out of Scotia have completed their annual support of a National Science Foundation mission in Greenland. The crews, who flew a total of 678 hours, supplied 1.3 million pounds of essential cargo and 32,000 gallons of fuel and delivered 910 passengers. Their mission began in March and ran through September. The crews flew sorties to numerous sites on the Greenland ice cap.
The 109th also added training to their primary mission. They conducted ice snow landings and takeoffs training at Raven Camp. The summer missions in Greenland are critical for providing air crews with experience in operating in the Polar Region, according to Jaclyn Lyons, 109th spokeswoman. The units’ C-130 troop-cargo aircraft are the only ones ski-equipped and able to land on snow and ice.