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Download full resolution image Recruits  Zander Griffin (left) and Andrew Valenza (right) join retired New York Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Brian Smith (center) to cut the National Guard Birthday cake

Troops young and old mark National Guard Birthday

LATHAM, N.Y. -- New York National Guard recruits Zander Griffin (left) and Andrew Valenza (right) join retired New York Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Five Brian Smith to cut a cake during ceremonies celebrating the National Guard's 379th birthday at the New York State Division of Military Affairs here on Dec. 11, 2015. Griffin and Valenza, both 17, are some the of youngest New York National members while Smith served for 39 years as helicopter pilot. Smith performed tours of duty in Iraq and Bosnia, took part in humanitarian missions in Central America, and responded to domestic emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. To recognize his many years of service, Smith was awarded the Legion of Merit at the cake-cutting ceremony. Griffin is part of the 109 Airlift Wing and Valenza is part of Joint Force Headquarters. The National Guard traces its birth to December 13, 1636 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Raymond Drumsta, 42nd Infantry Division/released)

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Dated: Fri, Dec 11, 2015 @ 18:03