Binghamton's 204th Engineer Battalion Gets New Commander

By Darren Dodge

Binghamton's 204th Engineer Battalion Gets New Commander

February 18, 2011 Updated Oct 25, 2013 at 3:24 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton's 204th Engineering Battalion is getting a new commander.

Lt. Col. James Freehart will lead the New York Army National Guard's only engineering battalion.

The 204th Engineer Battalion is headquartered at the New York State Armory on West End Avenue in Binghamton.

Lt. Col. Freehart will take over command of the battalion on March 6.

Freehart is a veteran of Afghanistan and the battalion's response to the 2006 floods here in the Southern Tier.

He replaces Major Andrew Hutz who has been serving as commander.

Freehart lives in Troy and works as an environmental technician at the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs in Latham .

The battalion headquarters company and forward support companies are based at the Binghamton Armory, but has subordinate companies in Kingston in the Hudson Valley, Walton, Horseheads and Buffalo.

The 827th Engineer Company based in Horseheads and Walton just returned from a year long mobilization and deployment to Afghanistan.

That company specializes in repairing roads.

Freehart, who has served in the Active Army and Army National Guard served in Afghanistan as a member of the Training Advisory Group, training the Afghan National Army in 2008.

In 1983 he was part of Operation Urgent Fury, the United States invasion of the Caribbean Island of Granada.

Freehart enlisted in the United States Army in 1981 as a helicopter repair technician and left active duty in 1987.

He has served He enlisted in the New York Army National Guard after leaving active duty and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Infantry in 1989 after completing the Officer Candidate School of the Empire State Military Academy.

He has served as a rifle platoon leader, anti-armor platoon leader, infantry company executive officer, support platoon leader and headquarters company commander.

He has served as a staff officer at the State Area Command and Joint Forces Headquarters for New York during his career as well.

As operations officer for the 204th Engineers, Freehart deployed to Germany for training exercises and responded to flooding in the Southern Tier in 2006.