The Division of Military and Naval Affairs has announced the Army’s multi-year plan that wouldtransform the New York Army National Guard for the 21st Century.
The transformation plan would make the New York Army National Guard more relevant to national defense, protect New York from future force structure cuts, enhance the Guard’s state mission capabilities and bring millions of federal dollars to New York.
"This plan clearly puts us in line with the Department of Defense force requirements will into the future, while giving our troops and our state the kind of investments that our force needs in order to grow and modernize," said Maj. Gen. Jack Fenimore, the Adjutant General. "The essential point is that the Army will continue to change and that means more changes for the Army National Guard across the country. But this time, New York was proactive and came to the negotiation table early. This time we got to tell the leadership what we wanted, instead of just having to settle for lesser choices and worse options down the road," he said.
"This pending reorganization is a great opportunity for us. It increases, not diminishes our value to the United States Army and the State of New York."
Under the plan, the enhanced brigade force structure will be transferred to Wisconsin as part of the Army Division Redesign Study program. New York gets a new combat unit, a light anti-tank battalion and a myriad of combat support and combat service support units as replacements. Before the three-year transformation period is over, New York’s total authorized strength is expected to grow by more than 230 positions. It is anticipated this transformation will insulate New York from future Army National Guard force cuts.
The transformation is expected to channel more than $60 million in federal military construction funds to New York for armory upgrades and modernization. In addition, new units will bring with them millions more in new vehicles and equipment and increased funding for troops to attend conversion training and service schools.
"This is a big step forward for us, not only in terms of our nation’s defense, but also for the citizens of New York State and our troops as well"
New York leaders view the plan as a tremendous opportunity for the State of New York and all members of the New York Army National Guard.
"This transformation is a win, win, win," said Brig. Gen. William C. Martin, Deputy Adjutant General. "It will keep us relevant to the nation's defense goals, bring in new units and equipment to further improve our state emergency response and community support capabilities, and also create new positions with job skills more applicable to civilian careers. This is a big step forward for us, not only in terms of our nation's defense, but also for the citizens of New York State and our troops as well," he said.
“This will put the New York Army National Guard on the cutting edge of Army war fighting plans and positions us for the future," said Maj. Gen. Michael Van Patten, the Commanding General of the New York Army National Guard. “The long term benefits of this change clearly outweigh the short term turbulence, and we will have a home in the Guard for every member of the force," he said.
New Units, New Missions According to a Department of Defense study and the Army’s Total Army Analysis 2003, the United States Army needs another 124,800 positions in the combat support and combat service support arena, in order to meet future requirements. The National Guard Bureau (NGB) has agreed to convert 42,700 Army National Guard combat positions to the much-needed combat support and combat service support specialties.
The leadership of the New York National Guard receognized that change was coming and was determined not to relive the experiences of the early 1990s when thousands of positions were simply cut without replacement form the state's authorizations.
The changes are coming to New York to meet strategic national and state force modernization goals. They result from a partnership that was forged between the Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau, and the New York National Guard to the mutual benefit of all.
"We are entering a new era and we are about to change with it."
The new units to New York will be comprised of transportation, logistics, engineers, communications, military police, maintenance, supply, public affairs and medical services among others. Hundreds of soldiers will have the option to remain in the infantry branch, to serve in light anti-armor units or be transferred into existing mechanized infantry companies of the 42d Infantry Division.
Personnel specialists will visit soldiers beginning in 2002 to begin personal interviews and to initiate the process of realigning individual military occupation skills and school requirements with the new units to be activated throughout the state. The transformation is slated to begin in 2004 and be completed sometime in 2007.
"We are entering a new era and we are about to change with it," said Colonel Robert Schnurr, commander of the 27th Brigade. "We are about to become a larger, more diverse force that can more effectively respond to national and state crisis."
New Missions, New Opportunities for Women Soldiers Another major impact of the New York Army National Guard’s transformation plan is the thousands of new opportunities it opens up for women to serve. The Army presently restricts women from most combat-related military occupational specialties (MOS).
Converting combat units to combat support and combat service support will create 3,029 new positions in the New York Army Guard which are "MOS gender neutral," meaning that women as well as men will be eligible for these jobs. In addition, command opportunities for women will increase significantly. The transformation plan will create one command opportunity for women at the general officer level, one at the brigade level, five at the battalion level and nineteen new company command opportunities for women.
Helping the Nation, Helping the State Aside from the obvious benefits to the state, the transformation plan is also beneficial to the nation’s defense needs as defined by the Department of Defense.
By proactively agreeing to convert the 27th Brigade into a variety of combat, combat support and combat service support units, New York is assisting the Army in meeting future force requirements. New York’s leadership and early cooperation insulates the State from pending force structure reductions. The Department of Defense has called for the Army National Guard to reduce its forces by 42,000.
"By stepping up to the plate early on, we sent the right message to Washington," said Maj. Gen. Van Patten. "As a result, we are not getting smaller. Actually, our authorized strength will grow."
In a message sent to 27th Brigade troops, Col. Schnurrsaid, "This pending reorganization is a great opportunity for us. It increases, not diminishes our value to the United States Army and the State of New York. Embrace this transformation and make the New York National Guard an even better force in the 21st Century."
ALBANY -- Governor George E. Pataki proposed funding in his 2001-2002 Executive Budget for several significant heritage preservation projects including support tocomplete New York State’s World War II Monument and to continue to restore New York State’s historic battle flag collection.
“The creation of the World War II memorial and the restoration of our historic battle flag collection will forever remind us of the courage and patriotism of thousands of New Yorkers who served their State and country”, Governor Pataki said. “While no monument or battle flag can fulfill the tremendous debt we owe our veterans, we can honor their service by preserving these timeless symbols of their courage and dedication in defending the freedoms we now enjoy.”
The Governor will include $1 million in his 2001-2002 Executive Budget for New York State’s World War II Memorial, which will honor New York State’s World War II veterans. The monument is expected to be completed by the summer of 2002. To date, $400,000 has already been provided by the state for design and development work since the Governor signed legislation to create the monument in July 1998. The monument, which is being built at the Empire State Plaza, reflects the Governor’s continuing commitment to the State’s 1.5 million veterans. Previously, the state has erected other monuments in and around the Plaza honoring veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars. A memorial to women veterans was also completed in 1998.
The Governor’s Budget also will include $200,000 to support ongoing efforts by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and the Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) to preserve and archive the State's historic battle flag collection. DMNA has been responsible for the care and interpretation of an important collection of military artifacts since 1863. A significant part of this collection is a group of nearly 1,700 military flags dating from the War of 1812 through the Gulf War of 1991. More than 60 percent of the flags are Civil War flags.
GLENS FALLS -- Members of the NY National Guard are invited to this year’s Militia Association of New York (MANY) annual conference set for 18 through 20 May at the Lake George region’s Queensbury Hotel.
The site was selected for the tremendous number of activities available each spring. The location was a “Home Run” last year for MANY members and guests.
MANY serves the combined military forces of the State of New York and was first organized in 1853, even before New York’s citizen-soldiers answered the call-to-arms for the Civil War. The association is the New York National Guard’s advocate in state and federal government for legislative improvements for members’ pay, benefits, equipment fielding, and training.
Attendance at this year’s annual conference is open to all members of the National Guard. Membership in MANY is open to all officers and warrant officers of the New York National Guard.
The tentative program for this weekend-long event will feature a two-part national security symposium. On Saturday morning the discussion will focus on Korea and the implications for Weapons of Mass Destruction in South East Asia while the afternoon session discusses Bosnia and the Balkans.
Also included in the itinerary is a golf outing for those arriving early Friday. Friday night will be the traditional welcoming cocktail reception. Saturday ends with a casual dinner and tour at Fort William Henry at the edge of Lake George where members can watch a fireworks display and see the end of the annual Lake George Steamship Boat Race. Sunday is an Awards Breakfast and reports day followed by MANY business.
For more information contact the Militia Association, telephone (718) 815-0505, email firstname.lastname@example.org or the MANY web site at www.global2000.net/org/many.
NEWBURGH - The Enlisted Association of the New York National Guard (EANGUS) is hosting its state conference at the Ramada Inn, Route 300, Newburgh, New York on April 21st and 22nd, 2001.
This is the best opportunity to learn more about the association and help develop future legislative initiatives that will help improve the quality of life for enlisted members of the National Guard and advocate for the advancement, welfare and professionalism of our Guard force.
Membership in the association is open to all enlisted members of the New York National Guard.
For further information contact Association President, Staff Sgt. Corine Lombardo at email@example.com or call (518) 370-1538.
27th Brigade Transformation is Grade 'A' Wise was the old sage who observed that change was the only constant in an otherwise turbulent world.
Indeed, change... change for the good... is what this issue of Guard Times is primarily about, beginning with the dramatictransformation of the New York Army National Guard’s historic 27th Brigade.
Today’s proud brigade, the modern day version of World War II’s gallant “Orion” Division - the New York "Apple Knockers" - who fought so valiantly against Imperial Japan at Okinawa and in the Western Pacific, will be transferred to the Wisconsin National Guard under the Army’s Division Redesign Program.
And the Brigade, which has made all of us grateful and proud, will continue in that heroic tradition as it gathers for its demanding annual training this summer at the JRTC, Ft. Polk, La. I know they will do well.
In its place, the New York Army National Guard would bolster unit force structure with a broad and versatile mix of combat, combat support and combat service support units. When the three-year transformation period is over, ending in 2007, it will mean a net gain of 230 drill positions for New York.
"Many new positions with skills readily applicable to civilian careers, will emerge"
Other overall pluses for this change are something to behold:
- In human terms, hundreds of training opportunities will open up for citizen-soldiers in dozens of job specialities, many previously unavailable for our NY National Guard troop fills. Significantly, many MOSs will be available for recruitment and assignment of women soldiers, who are barred by federal law from filling direct combat jobs. - More than $60 million in federal military construction dollars will be harvested to upgrade and modernize armories and training facilities.
- The new units, which range from transportation, logistics, engineer, communications, light anti-tank and maintenance to military police, medical services, supply and public affairs organizations, will come with brand new vehicles and equipment. - Increased funding levels are included so our citizen-soldiers, many of whom have spent much of their military careers in combat MOSs, can participate in the latest conversion training and attend service schools. Importantly, many new positions with skills readily applicable to civilian careers, will emerge.
Governor George Pataki, our state Commander in Chief, wisely points out that the transformation will further improve our National Guard’s ability to respond to state and local emergencies, and enhance community service and support capabilities. The powerful engine of positive change, chronicled in Guard Times, runs through other activities.
-The 42d Infantry "Rainbow" Division’s recent training preparations for its upcoming deployment to Fort Leavenworth, and its unit deployments to Europe to support NATO Peacekeeping Missions, continueto expand the Rainbow’s role as the National Guard’s "Division of Choice."
-U.S. Air Force Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) training, which provides Air Guard units ambitious direct training support opportunities worldwide to support "real" USAF missions during annual training, is already up and flying from our air bases.
-The proposed Black Beret for every Army soldier becomes a visible symbol of change in the 21st Century, starting in June. -The Army’s new marketing slogan, "Army of One," echoes a unifying theme in our force, from the lone soldier right up to our Total Force policy capability within the New York National Guard.
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service President George W. Bush thanked Guardsmen, reservists and their civilian employers here Feb. 14 for their patriotism and service in support of the nation’s security.
The president, accompanied by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, flew on Air Force One to Yeager Air National Guard airfield here. The two reviewed West Virginia Air National Guard and Army Guard and Reserve troops.
Bush later spoke with employers of Guardsmen and reservists, attended a disaster relief operations drill and delivered an address in an airfield hangar to a packed audience.
A former National Guardsman himself-he was a fighter pilot in the Texas Air Guard-Bush lauded reserve component members of all the states, citing their selfless service as citizen soldiers. Bush is the first former National Guardsman elected to the White House since 1948, when President Truman, a World War I Army Guard artillery captain, won a term in his own right.
“The National Guard and reserves are a vital part of America’s national defense,” Bush said in his remarks. "And I want you to know that you not only have a former Guardsman in the White House, you have a friend."
Bush said Guard and Reserve members "display values that are central to our nation: character, courage and sacrifice" and demonstrate "the highest form of citizenship."
"And while you may not be full-time soldiers, you are full-time patriots," he added.
Bush’s Charleston trip followed visits to Fort Stewart, Ga. and Norfolk, Va. On all the week’s visits, he and Rumsfeld promise higher pay and other quality of life improvements, and a review of DoD and national military strategy that Bush has ordered. He lavished praise on all the employers of America’s National Guard and Reserve members. He noted that 2001 is the National Guard’s "Year of the Employer."
"Citizen soldiers have always depended on selfless employers," Bush said. Those employers, he said, "care about their state, and they care about their country.”
Today’s 1.3-million Guard and Reserve members are the descendents of America’s Revolutionary War-era minutemen, Bush said, noting that they have "stepped up" to meet today’s challenges.
"Your uniform shows that you are living your life for others, for your fellow West Virginians in time of suffering and crisis, for your fellow Americans when our safety is threatened, and for the values and ideals our country represents when our allies and friends ask for help," he said.
Dear GUARD TIMES,
We are writing this letter in regards to the "Awards" section of your newspaper. We read this section with increasing concern that the soldiers in this organization, the New York Army National Guard (NYARNG), are getting the wrong idea about what their State Area Command (STARC) actually does for their benefit. Although we are sure that their duties are in some way helping, if not directly influencing all of us, we are not sure it is to the extent that is deserving of such an enormous percentage of the awards and decorations given to them.
According to the NYARNG strength report, dated 16 SEP 00, (the most recent copy that we could obtain) STARC comprises 6.2% of the total strength of this state, yet in the SEP/OCT edition of the GUARD TIMES, they account for 65.6% of the federal awards listed! They received 100% of the Legion of Merits, 44.8% of the Meritorious Service Medals, 100% of the Army Commendation Medals, and 71.4% of the Army Achievement Medals. One has to ask themselves, are these soldiers really deserving of these awards, or are they just in an environment, due to their duty position, that they consistently get recognized for doing nothing more then their jobs?
In this day and age of the ever-plummeting retention rate of the Army National Guard, we must take into consideration the increasing amount of tasks we are demanding of our soldiers in the field, combined with the steadily decreasing resources that we provide them. Is it too much to ask that there be some sort of recognition for the job that they continuously do well, no questions asked? We normally would not point out a problem with out offering some sort of solution, but we seem to be at a loss. The only thing we would suggest at this point is to stop publishing this section of your newspaper until the situation is rectified. It does nothing more then aid in memoralizing what is left of our soldiers down here in the "trenches"! Respectfully,Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Kelly
Editor’s Note: We thought we’d check into our writers’ comments from the field and went to the Military Awards section in the state’s Division of Military and Naval Affairs. During our research and discussions with Chief Warrant Officer Charles Amoroso, we uncovered some federal award statistics that might be of interest to the force.
Last year, a total of 887 federal military awards were presented to soldiers in the New York Army National Guard. With our current force of nearly 12,000 that means one out of every thirteen soldiers in the state received a federal award for either achievements in the field, service accomplishments in their career, or retirement from the military.
The state headquarters does not decide whether a recommended award is presented to soldiers in the field. Units in the state are the approving authority for Army Achievement Medals, Army Commendation Medals and even the Meritorious Service Medal (within the 42d Division). A state military review board considers awards whose approving authority rests above the unit commander, meaning a Meritorious Service Medal for the 27th Brigade or Troop Command or a Legion of Merit from the 42d Division. That review board can downgrade an award recommendation, but does not deny deserving soldiers their federal award.
Seventy-seven percent of all military awards were presented to the three major commands in the state, the 42d Division, the 27th Enhanced Separate Brigade, and the 53rd Troop Command. The State Area Command (STARC), a command and control and mobilization support element, presented the remaining 23 percent of awards.
The Guard Times publishes the list of military awardees every two months, based on unit submissions to the state headquarters. From issue to issue, the types of awards and units represented will vary as dramatically as the number of different missions, annual training schedules, state active duty requirements, or community projects performed by our soldiers "in the trenches."
Of all federal awards granted last year for soldier achievements, 70 percent were awarded to soldiers from Army Readers Voice Concern Over Awards Distribution
the 42d Infantry Division or the 27th Enhanced Separate Infantry Brigade. For service awards, the two combat units awarded 81 percent of all federal awards to soldiers of the Rainbow or Orion.
For retirements, the bias in the State Area Command carries some weight. Traditionally, STARC does see more retirements from its force than the field units. Last year nearly three out of four retirement awards went to soldiers in STARC, a reflection of the many years of individual service in the New York National Guard..
But STARC, comprising only 6 percent of the total strength of this state, also contains24 percent of the total number of officers and warrant officers in the state. That is logical since senior officers and non-commissioned officers are assigned to the highest level headquarters. Additionally, there are a larger number of full-time AGR soldiers assigned to units in STARC.
What is our bottom line for the field? Military awards are a retention and motivational tool to commanders and their numbers will vary in the different commands. Soldiers in the field should expect occassional disparity between companies, battalion, brigades, and major commands. In sum, statistics support that the major commands of the NY National Guard are proportionate in awarding their soldiers for their achievements, their service, and ultimately, their retirement from the military in proportion to the missions and training of the Rainbow, the Orion, the Troop Command and the state headquarters command.
Regulations stress the authority of every soldier in every command to recommend a fellow soldier for a military award. Ultimately, we ask the question to each soldier in the state, “How many of your deserving peers have YOU put in for an award this year?”
We appreciate our readers’ input from the field and will work harder with the headquarters Military Awards Branch to ensure that the listing in the Guard Times of our deserving soldiers accurately reflects those awards presented in every detachment, company and battalion in the state.
Thanks for writing.
National Guard Bureau News Service
The Army announced this winter a compelling new advertising campaign, marking its first major change in advertising direction since 1981. Ads unveiled this January by Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera will open the innovative campaign, which centers on the message "An Army of One." The multimedia campaign, the result of extensive research, will present a powerful, 21st century appeal, highlighting Army values and unity while relating them to the personal aspirations of today’s youth.
"The ‘Army of One’ campaign focuses on the strength and teamwork of the U.S. Army as a united force of many soldiers, while reinforcing the concept that each individual makes a unique contribution to the Army’s success," said Secretary Caldera. "Today’s youth want to feel empowered to make a difference individually and as a group." Mr. Caldera added, "This campaign illustrates the personal transformation that occurs when young men and women become soldiers, and develop into leaders. This transformation is a result of the training, expertise and empowerment only the Army can provide."
"Last year all our components were successful in making their recruiting targets," said Army Chief of Staff Eric K. Shinseki. "Everyone recruited made a personal commitment to serve our Nation."
Members of the Army staff and Linda Wolf, chief executive officer of Leo Burnett USA, joined Caldera for the Pentagon announcement unveiling the ads, a redesigned www.goarmy.com recruiting web site and a bold new logo. A three-agency marketing alliance led by Chicago-based Leo Burnett USA developed the communications campaign with Army officials. Cartel Creativo, a San Antoniobased Hispanic agency, and IMAGES USA, an African- American agency in Atlanta, developed integrated cultural strategies to reach Hispanics and African-Americans. The Army selected all three agencies in June 2000 to carry out a new performance-based advertising agency contract.
"Rather than using actors, we feel that using real soldiers shows the true face of the Army" The exciting television commercials and vivid print advertisements feature real soldiers who personify the essence of "An Army of One." The ads also highlight the vast range of career opportunities - "212 different ways to be a soldier" - available to recruits. "Rather than using actors, we feel that using real soldiers shows the true face of the Army - individuals who have been transformed into strong Army leaders," Wolf said. "We received an overwhelmingly positive response from young adults who previewed the campaign."
The new campaign employs a full range of media from television to radio, to direct mail to the Web site www.goarmy.com and Internet activities to target youth and those who influence them. The campaign initially will consist of three television spots and ten print ads. The first television commercial aired Jan. 11 on NBC during the hit comedy "Friends."
"The world has changed and the Army needs advertising that better relates to today’s young men and women," said Maj. Gen. Dennis D. Cavin, commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. "An Army of One" connects with our prospective soldiers by challenging them to stretch their limits and be part of something bigger than themselves. I am both inspired and confident that this campaign will make a positive, lasting impression on our recruiting program."
by Bob Lonsberry
Special to the Army News Service He made his debut the other night. A lone trooper. Camouflage fatigue pants, olive drab t-shirt, combat boots, gear slung on his back. Eyes glinting and hard, looking resolutely into the distance and the future. Running through a rocky desert. Strong and unstoppable. A kick-ass G.I. Joe. The American fighting man.
An Army of one.
I liked the ad. I loved the ad. It made me proud. It made me want to be that trooper.
And the slogan clicked. It just clicked in my mind, and I understood.
That’s what those P.R. slicks in Chicago were thinking.
I enlisted during a different era. Be all you can be. That was our motto. I’ve still got mugs somewhere that say so. And t-shirts and maybe an old bumper sticker. Army. Be all you can be. I can hear it still being sung in my head. And so I was angry when I heard. It was in the paper. The Army was mothballing it’s old slogan and was going to some glitzy $150 million campaign to pump a new one. An Army of one. It didn’t make any sense to me. It sounded selfish. The Army isn’t about being one, it’s about being one of many. It’s about being part of a team. It’s about making the interests and objectives of your unit more important than yourself. An Army of of one my backside.
Until I saw that trooper. That’s why I joined the Army, that’s why I was proud to be a soldier. That’s why all these years later I’ve got my Honorable Discharge certificate framed and on display. You’re not a soldier once, you’re a soldier always - if you were a good one. And I hope that young men and women will see that trooper and hear that slogan and think of possibilities. Possibilities within themselves. I hope they will consider going into the service of their country. As commissioned officers or enlisted soldiers, it doesn’t matter, the honor is not in the rank, it is in the willingness, and in the "U.S." insignia you wear on your lapel. And someday in the flag they will drape across your casket.
And it’s odd that I feel that way, because the Army isn’t fun. It’s often anything but fun. It is even occasionally miserable. And that’s the peacetime Army. I have no knowledge of war or experience with it. I cannot imagine combat, though I believe there was a time when I was prepared and trained for it.
And I know that my fondness for the Army has grown since I left it. And that when my enlistment was up I didn’t re-enlist, and that I was darned glad to be out.
But it helped me in ways that it took years to understand, and it gave me a sense of oneness with and belonging to the Republic that I treasure more and more as I age.
But I have been an Army of one. And that trooper running powerfully across the desert, I have felt that spirit and that sense of invincibility. I have been him. Not literally, not in battle dress, but in the challenges and exertions of life.
The Army taught me that I had no limits. That physically, emotionally and intellectually I had reserves I had not previously imagined, and that the barriers I had imagined were universally wrong. I would have lived a fine life without the Army, but it would have been a life without vision and excellence. It would have been a life blindly ignorant of my potential. It would have been half a life.
But it is not.
I am an Army of one. And I got to be that way by putting on the uniform of the United States, by standing in the long green line of soldiers that stretches back through Da Nang and Normandy and Gettysburg to Valley Forge. I understand that now, a dozen years out of the Army, in a way I never could have when I walked into the recruiter’s office.
The old slogan will always be part of my memory. But I’m not going to reject the new one. Because I figure in another 20 years there will be some 40-year-old guy sitting there thinking about his days in uniform and it will mean something special to him. And I suspect he will feel the same, and that he will be proud. That he was an Army of one.
(Editor’s note: Lonsberry is a former U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Journalist of the Year. He has been a newsman for more than 15 years, and has won in excess of 80 journalism and broadcasting awards, including top Associated Press commentary awards in newspaper, radio and television. He currently hosts a radio talk show in Rochester.)
By Staff Sgt. Corine L. Lombardo
Guard Times Staff
VALHALLAWhile thousands of New Yorkers looked forward to New Year’s Eve celebrations in spite of what was to be the worst snow storm in years, 178 National Guard members throughout south-eastern New York stood prepared to help wherever necessary.
On December 30, Governor George Pataki activated members of the National Guard, including nearly three dozen all-terrain vehicles and wreckers. Additionally, the Governor ordered full deployment of other state agencies’ snow removal equipment as a severe winter storm moved across the state.
“This response is based on our experience from large scale weather emergencies like the New York City Blizzard of 1996 and the North Country Ice Storm of 1998 that proved how effective a proactive readiness posture can be,” Governor Pataki said. “New Yorkers know they can count on the state to respond quickly in times of need.”
The Governor activated Guard personnel to provide emergency transportation, support and shelter to affected New York motorists, as well as support to civilian emergency and medical personnel.
To handle and coordinate emergency response activities the 53rd Troop Command established a command and control cell in Valhalla. Staff Sgt. Raul Lopez coordinated the call up for the emergency response. "This type of support couldn’t be possible without the highly motivated NCOs and officers we have," he said. "The personal sacrifice of changing holiday plans and leaving their families with limited notice proves the caliber of dedicated soldiers we have."
Guard personnel and humvees were used by Nassau County Police in traffic patrol operations, but as evening set in and weather patterns changed, Guard operations shifted north to support State Police efforts in Dutchess and Orange counties where nearly 30 inches of snow was dumped in the Hudson Valley.
"Any time we get weather like this we request a humvee from the Guard because it can go where a Ford Crown Victoria can’t. That’s why it is so valuable to us," said NY State Police Sergeant Robert Hogan, Troop K, in Poughkeepsie.
Troop K has a long-standing relationship with the Guard. Emergency Supervisor Lt. John J. Gensch, added "the incident command structure with the State Emergency Management Office and the National Guard work out terrific, the versatile equipment the Guard provides in these unusual circumstances is a tremendous asset to us.
Civil management has always been a key part of the Guard. Since quite a few of our officers are in the National Guard, they are familiar with the equipment and facilities the Guard has."
Sergeant Stephen White of Battery A, 1stBattalion, 156th Field Artillery, Kingston has seen his share of state emergency activations. "I am almost always available. I live a few blocks away from the armory, so even in this weather I can make it in." Members of the Kingston unit were on site at the State Police barracks in Poukeepsie with a two-man crew, plenty of water and fuel along with a first aid kit in the humvee available to provide transportation to stranded motorists when necessary.
Throughout the 24-hour emergency period 28 inches of snow fell. Fortunately, the weather in New York cleared in time for New Years Eve merriment.
Story and Photo by Capt. Robert Giordano
HQ, 53rd Troop Command WHITE PLAINS When minutes count, doctors, physician assistants, nurses, and medics are trained and ready to save lives. Time is frequently the enemy in trauma and other severe injury and illness cases. When minutes count, rapid intervention for battlefield injuries is essential to provide the best chance for a soldier’s survival and recovery. That is why New York National Guard medical troops are involved in a first of its kind traumatraining program.
In battle, healthcare professionals refer to the "Golden Hour" between combat injury and treatment at a dedicated aid station. Often, life and death is decided in those critical 60 minutes. To that end, comparisons between military healthcare professionals and emergency room or trauma center professionals uncover some stark similarities.
State Surgeon Col. Walter Rivera and his staff have directed their efforts in an innovative partnership with the Westchester Medical Center to prepare solders to handle emergency care such as blunt force and piercing trauma. Westchester Medical Center is uniquely qualified to help pilot this program because it covers twenty counties, 5000 miles, five states and is the only Level I Trauma Center in NY accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma. Westchester has significant resources and facilities such as two "StatFlight" aero medical helicopters, ground evacuation paramedics, a burn center, transplantation unit and a pediatric trauma unit. In addition the Medical Center staffing and leadership is weighted with military veterans who have the vision and determination to make this innovative program a success.
During peacetime, medical personnel do not get the "real life" trauma experience they would receive whentreating wartime "Golden Hour" injuries. That is why State Surgeon Col. Rivera, Westchester Medical Center Chief Executive Edward Stolzenburg and Doctor Louis DelGuercio, retired Army Colonel and Chairmen of General Surgery and Critical Care at the Medical Center are providing the vision and resources for this much-needed training. The National Guard doctors, nurses, physician assistants and medics from AMEDD are participating in this state-of-the-art trauma enhancement training program for the first time.
The objective for the first phase of the skills enhancement program is to provide medical personnel the opportunity to observe the evaluation, packaging, decision process and protocols during the Golden Hour of trauma injuries.
Last fall, Sergeant’s James Foster and Peter Aponte were observing the evaluation and packaging process on the StatFlight aero medical helicopters, and the ground evacuation vehicles, while Captains Elizabeth Periera and Glenda Shearn were observing doctors and nurses in the Westchester Trauma Center. Anything can happen at a Level I trauma center. In one particular case Periera and Shearn observed the treatment of a 18-month old infant who had fallen down a ravine and had been rushed to the trauma center. Fortunately, the child'sinjuries were not as serious as feared and the captains had the opportunity to see one of the most difficult of cases, a pediatric trauma.
The training of physicians, physician assistants, nurses and medics with Westchester Medical is expected to continue through the year, said Major Floyd Burgher, Deputy State Surgeon. Soldiers will train alongside trauma responders for annual training. "Ultimately, this relationship will better our National Guard support to civilian emergency responders and better our own healthcare providers who treat military personnel during deployments," he said.
"Observation of the treatment and medical protocol, which takes place in a Level I trauma center is a critical first step in training our solders for their state and federal mission" said Col. Rivera. "With this and future training National Guard personnel will be even better qualified to triage, evacuate and treat the sick and wounded soldiers at the forward edge of the battlefield. Once again, the New York National Guard leads the way."
Story and Photos by Staff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta
138th MPAD FORT DIX, NJ Third Brigade, 42d Division command staffs put their Warfighting skills to work in a brigade-level simulation exercise in January, enhancing their readiness for a division-level Warfighter evaluation in 2002, and readying the Rainbow Division headquarters for the Bosnia peacekeeping mission in 2004.
A tactical exercise without troops, Warfighter is a computer, scenario-driven wargame which mirrors units’ wartime tasks. The Third Brigade leaders and staff as well as the staffs of 42d Engineer Brigade, 127th Armor Battalion, 152d Engineer Battalion, 101st Cavalry Battalion, 69th Infantry Battalion and 258th Field Artillery Battalion conducted a 96-hour long offensive and defensive operation.
In one very long weekend training event, the soldiers successfully attacked and defended against the fictional “Northland Army” opposing force.
Third Brigade Commander Col. Arnold Soeder described Warfighter as an opportunity to train staffs and commanders under simulated conditions that approach those of war.
"Warfighter is designed to make units, commanders and their staffs more effective in accomplishing their mission while minimizing friendly casualties," Soeder said. "As we get better, so does the enemy, so does the enemy’s capabilities."
Working in olive drab Tactical Operation Centers (TOC) tents and armored personnel carriers outside the Fort Dix Training and Technology Battle Lab, the unit staff sections broke down a division operations order for Third Brigade inside the lab. Called "white cells," these soldiers maneuvered their units, according to the brigade’s plan, across Warfighter’s battlefield - an interactive computer topographic map, called the Brigade Battle Simulator, or BBS.
“They tell us where to move and when to move," said Capt. Wendy Parsels, white cell team member and commander of C Company, 342nd Forward Support Battalion. "We move, and we might make recommendations as we go, or we might run into something that they don’t expect."
This also means responding to enemy movements on the computer map, which is part of Warfighter’s realism, said Parsels. "It impacts the effectiveness of the operation just as it would in a real-time situation," Parsels said. "If we pick a place to put a listening post and observation post that doesn’t give a good-avenue-of-approach view, and we do the same thing in the real world, the same scenario is going to happen -you are not going to be able to see the enemy approaching."
The BBS recreates battle conditions right down to movement times, routes, weapons and line of sight capabilities, said John Ritter, Fort Dix computer analyst. Throughout the exercise, an opposing force, or OPFOR cell fights independently to achieve its own objectives, providing the additional realism of a true force-on-force exercise.
"If the terrain allows you to be seen by the enemy, and if the enemy has the type of weapon that can reach you, distance-wise, they will fire on you," Ritter said. "And you can return fire, given the same situation. But if you are fighting against a machine gun or a tank with an M16 rifle, you are not going to win."
Not winning and things not going as planned are all part of the plan in Warfighter. "One thing we want to do is place the brigade commander and his staff in a stressful environment," Ritter said. He said Warfighter’s information overload forces a commander to prioritize assets to meet different threats and situations.
"If it is just a business-as-usual type of environment, and [the commander] always wins, we are probably not accomplishing the intent of the stressful environment." Ritter said one of the goals, in addition to evaluating staff readiness, is to decentralize mission execution by teaching commanders to delegate responsibility.
"In this environment, obviously, the boss can try to do it all,” Ritter said. “But In a realworld environment he couldn’t."
Part of that stressful environment is the TOC itself, which, at the peak of Warfighter, is a din of droning generators, urgent voices, ringing field phones, and the static-hash of two-way radio communication - the noise of information exchange, the TOC’s purpose, Soeder said.
"Information is a tool commanders use to command forces in combat," he said. "The exchange of information, focused properly, and distilled per Army doctrine, is a multiplier to accomplish the mission and save lives."
Soeder said the key functions of intelligence and fire support are near each other in the TOC, so they maintain a continuous dialogue of information and planning. "While it appears to be confusing, there is a method to the madness," Soeder said.
First Sgt. John Papajik, 101 Cavalry, emphasized that a smooth information flow, achieved through sound, repetitive training, is the key to victory.
"Intelligence information makes or breaks the battle," he said. "Fog of war is what everyone complains about. The way you overcome the fog of war is by having as good an information flow as possible- getting information from the front-line troops all the way up through the chain of command to the decision makers-the battalioncommanders, the brigade commanders, the division commanders."
A term coined by 19th-century Prussian officer and military theorist Karl von Clausewitz, Soeder paraphrased fog of war as “the inability to know things as they actually are." He added that incomplete and late reports, the hallmarks of poor information exchange, create the fog of war, and that Warfighter helps staffs combat it.
"It helps create an accurate picture of the battlefield so accurate, timely decisions can be made to better accomplish the mission."
This means getting inside the enemy’s decision cycle, which Third Brigade did, inferring the location of the enemy’s counterattack from the pattern of their reconnaissance. Soeder called this "reading" the enemy.
"That gave us a tactical advantage, because we read him before he reads us," Soeder said.
Third Brigade started preparing for Warfighter last June, through a series of training exercises at Fort Leavenworth KS, Fort Dix NJ, and Buffalo NY, the location of Third Brigade headquarters. Soeder said after-action reviews from Warfighter hammered home the necessity of timely and quality reporting, good planning, and detailed rehearsals.
"We reaffirmed lessons learned in years past," he said. "In a Warfighter setting, you are expected to have assimilated those experiences and that knowledge, and apply them." Spc. Fred Trunzo emphasized the importance of reports.
"Those reports dictate basically what strategies the Army is going to use to hopefully engage and beat the enemy." A radio operator for Third Brigade’s S2 section, Trunzo, like most TOC soldi" Spc. Fred Trunzo emphasized the importance of reports.
"Those reports dictate basically what strategies the Army is going to use to hopefully engage and beat the enemy." A radio operator for Third Brigade’s S2 section, Trunzo, like most TOC soldiers, has many jobs, including maintaining section vehicles and generators. Warfighter’s realism was not lost on Trunzo, who equated incoming battledamage assessments to casualties in a real war.
"It made me want to try a little harder to do my job more efficiently," Trunzo said. Lt. Col. David Boudreau, 42d Division senior advisor, said Warfighter takes all necessary skills, procedures and practices and puts them into an exercise in which the unit is stressed as realistically as possible. "There’s no passing or failing this, he said. ""If you come out of here better than when you entered, then you’ve had a measure of success. The key is following up on those things that you learned and making sure that they don’t fall away to the side later."
While a milestone on 42d Division’s division- level Warfighter, Soeder said Third Brigade’s Warfighter exercise is also integral to the brigade’s readiness to support real-world tasks such as the division headquarters trainup for the Bosnia peacekeeping mission in 2004.
"The National Guard is part of the Army," Soeder said. "The Guard can be called on anytime to bolster the nation’s defenses."
By Private First Class Aaron Lefton
HQ, 42d Infantry Division (Mech) KAISERSLAUTERN, GERMANY If you’re heading to MacArthur Airport to visit Alpha Company of the Rainbow Division’s 642d SupportBattalion (Aviation), you better call head. You might arrive and feel a bit lonely, like one of the UH-1 Hueys parked dress right dress on the flight line.
You will still see plenty of aviators and crew members from the 3rd Battalion, 142d Aviation Battalion and other soldiers hustling around, but chances are good that many members of the 642d Support Battalion have deployed overseas.
The 642d Division Aviation Support Battalion (DASB) provides logistical support and assistance to the 42d Infantry Division’s Aviation Brigade. The battalion conducts home-station training in nearly every arena of Army operations to keep aircraft maintained, armed and fueled, vehicles running, and supplies moving. Deploying overseas to support Army units in Germany is one of the battalion’s best opportunities for individual training.
Up to four times per year, soldiers of the 642d mobilize for Overseas Deployment Training (ODT). The first ODT mission this year for the 642d supports the Kaiserslautern Industrial Center (KIC) in Germany. A fifty-member contingent of ground maintenance personnel from the 642d’s Brooklyn, Headquarters and Bravo companies, the Ronkonkama, Long Island, Alpha Company, and their Rochester detachment deployed from February 24th to March 17th. This mission deploys every military career field in the battalion, from 88M truck drivers to 52C air conditioning and heating personnel.
The mission is to "support and backfill" undermanned units and conduct individual training while Active Army personnel already stationed in Kaiserslautern go "down range" to support peacekeeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The 642d has only to send the "bodies" to back fill the support units in Germany. Equipment is already provided by the host unit and once incountry, the excitement begins. The Rainbow "bodies" can expect superb training at levels they’ve been trained for in the past but unable to work at regularly at home.
"It’s the in-depth work that I was trained to do" The last two ODT missions saw Rainbow soldiers deployed to Mannheim, Germany. Two twenty-five man contingents of aviation support specialties deployed. Sgt. First Class Mark Joseph Tyree, readiness NCO in Alpha Company, went along as NCO in charge of the winter deployments. These are valuable missions because his personnel will use "better equipment, elaborate maintenance facilities, and receive valuable training. "These trips are an excellent opportunity because there is a lot of training and maintenance work that can’t done at home station that can be done abroad," said Tyree. "And the uniqueness of an overseas trip breaks the monotony of year round training." Sgt. First Class Tyree says the deployment is a boost to retention because soldiers "get to do the training that they are MOS qualified to do, the things that they often can’t do during training back at home."
February’s mission was the second ODT mission for Spec. Brian Burns, an Air Conditioning and Heating repairman of Alpha Company. "Going overseas is very exciting," he said. "We work during the week and on the weekends we go on tours. Besides being a training opportunity, I get to learn about another culture."
Specialist Pablo Pena of Alpha Company sums up the value of the ODT in the level of detail the maintenance work brings. "I just get to do light maintenance," at home station he said. "In Germany, the maintenance work is more detailed. I get to break down the engine into parts. It’s the in-depth work that I was trained to do. During these deployments, Blackhawk engines get torn apart, practically to the bolts. That’s just what we’re not allowed to do at home! It’s better for me because I get more training on Blackhawks," Pena noted.
The deployment has tremendous value over regular home station drills. It supplements drills with opportunities for hands-on maintenance and provides a unique retention incentive. "It’s been nothing but a learning instrument for our craft and as individuals," said Spec. Burns.
By Staff Sgt. Corine Lombardo
HQ, 42d Infantry Division (Mech)BUFFALO A newly developed soldier training program will al low members of the 42dInfantry Division to un dergo extensive Combat Lifesaver Training while receiving Army Correspondence Course accreditation.
The 40-hour course, taught once a year by certified medical personnel from Charlie Company, 342nd Forward Support Battalion in Buffalo was completed on February 6. This program will enable newly trained soldiers to provide emergency medical treatment in order to sustain the life of fellow unit soldiers until medics arrive on scene.
To meet the traditional soldiers’ schedule, the course is given one weekend a month over a 3-month period and consists of classroom instruction, hands-on practice and exams. The course is followed up each year with an 8-hour re-certification course and exam. Qualified medical personnel doing well enough in this course will continue on to teach additional National Guard members in the future.
Instruction is given in a multitude of areas, from preventing shock and heat/cold weather injuries to immobilizing spinal fractures and initiating intravenous fluids. In addition to basic life saving skills and techniques, the course includes identification and treatment of specific environmental threats such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease which are indigenous to the northeast region and many soldiers may be exposed to while training at Fort Drum.
Company C, 342 FSB supports the 3rd Brigade of the 42nd Infantry Division with doctors, dentists and medics during peacetime training as well as during deployments and has a combined authorized strength of 11 Officers and 67 enlisted members.
According to Capt. Wendy Parsels, 342 FSB Commander, the driving force in planning and coordinating this innovative training for the past two years has been First Sergeant Thomas Ruffo from the unit. "Many areas we cover in this training are Common Task skills. However we take it a little further in an effort to train non-medical personnel with life saving skills so they can take care of their fellow soldiers until medical personnel arrive" said Ruffo, adding "Our goal is to have advanced trained personnel in all our units in the future."
By Gary Sheftick
A test on the Army’s history is a "rite of passage" soldiers will be required to undergo in the future before donning their black berets, said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Jack L. Tilley.
Tilley said the BDU cap will continue to be worn in the field after June, but its name will change to "patrol cap." He said in order to have 1.3 million berets ready by the Army birthday June 14, the military had to contract with several overseas firms - but he emphasized the Army went through the proper channels to obtain approval. And he said units across the Army will soon begin classes on proper wear of the beret.
He explained that the Army leadership is still working to determine exactly what new soldiers will be required to do in order to earn the privilege of being issued a beret. But he said one thing is certain: "We’re going to have a test; an undetermined amount of questions right now, but we’re going to have a test that talks about the history of our Army."
The test might be given when a trainee reports to his or her fist permanent duty station, Tilley said, but added the Army leadership hasn’t decided for sure. Tilley said not only the test, but the beret itself will emphasize the Army’s history.
Tilley said the new beret flash comes from the Revolutionary War. "The blue flash represents the Continental Army and the 13 stars represent the 13 colonies," he added. He said many soldiers don’t know about the Army’s birthday, and that’s going to change.
“We’re going to go back now and start talking about the history of the Army," Tilley said, "importance of the Army, where we came from and what we’re going to do. "When you look at that beret, you’re going to think about transformation," Tilley said as well. "The chief of staff of the Army has a great vision for us," he said.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki announced in October that soldiers will begin wearing the black beret on June 14, the Army’s first birthday of the new millennium. He said the beret will be a symbol of the Army’s transformation to a lighter, more deployable force.
Tilley admitted that at first, some soldiers of the Army’s elite Ranger units were concerned about sharing their traditional black berets with the rest of the Army. "Any time you talk about change, I think some people get very frustrated," Tilley said.
"We’re not taking anything from anybody, we’re just being all that we can be and we’re just moving forward," Tilley said.
Tilley said black was the color selected for the universal beret because it matches all of the Army’s uniforms. He also said that black hides dirt.Soldiers Army-wide will be issued their first beret in April,
Tilley said, in order to give them time to prepare to wear it properly. (A second beret will be issued in October.) "I’ve tried mine on," Tilley said about the beret.
Tilley said berets will be worn with the battle dress uniform in garrison, as well as the Class A and B uniforms. The BDU "patrol cap" will be worn mostly in the field, Tilley said, when the Kevlar helmet is not being used. That’s one reason behind the name change of the BDU cap, he said. Tilley also said soldiers will not blouse their boots when they wear the beret. And he added that women will still be able to wear the Class B skirt with the beret.
TROY The Chief of Staff of the Army this winter recognized the achievements of the New York Army National Guard's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 42nd Infantry Division with a Supply Excellence Award. Lt. Col James Gaudio (in photo at right), the Director for the NY National Guard's Logistics Management presented the award to the Rainbow Headquarters Company in Troy, NY. On behalf of the units' soldiers, company commander Capt. Christopher Ciccone (photo at center) and First Sgt. Anthony Defelice (left) accepted the unit plaque.
"This represents almost an entire year's worth of hard work and preparations," said Capt. Ciccone to his company formation for the award. "Bringing together every shop and every section to achieve this success is a measure of each and every one of our soldier's share in this award," he said. "The ability of the Headquarters Company, 42d Infantry Division (Mech) to complete all missions has been a direct result of capable, competent leadership and the persistence and determination of its soldiers to be the very best," said Major General John H.Fennimore, the NY National Guard's Adjutant General in his recommendation to National Guard Bureau and the Army.
By Lt. Col. Paul Fanning
Guard Times Staff GENESEO A Gulf War combat veteran and dedicated New York Army National Guard soldier of the 27th Brigade died as the result of a car fire over his unit’s drill weekend in early January.
Sergeant Chester L. Horcsog of Company A, 1st Battalion 108th Infantry, and best known to his family and unit as "Beau," was pronounced dead at the scene on January 7, when his 1985 GMC Jimmy was engulfed in the parking lot at the state armory in Geneseo. Investigators ruled the death accidental, and blamed an electrical short in the wiring that led from the engine compartment to the dashboard. Investigators concluded that Horcsog was first overcome by smoke and died from asphyxiation sometime after midnight Sunday morning, before his vehicle burst into flames and the fire was noticed by other members of his unit in the armory. The autopsy report showed that there was no alcohol present.
Husband, Father, Soldier Horcsog, age 31, was the father of two and is survived by his wife Kelly and younger brother Matthew Horcsog, who are also members of the National Guard, another brother Howard Rader and sisters Faith Norton and Tammy Payne, stepson Cody and infant daughter Destiny. His unit held a promotion ceremony for him the previous morning. Horcsog had returned to his unit just over a year ago following a tour as an Army National Guard recruiter. He led the company’s mortar section.
“He was definitely one of the leaders in this company” Horcsog served on active duty from 1987 through the Gulf War and served in combat as a gunner in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Following the end of the war, Horcsog returned to his hometown and joined the Geneseo Guard unit. Horcsog was well liked in his unit and had the reputation as a hard worker and capable leader.
"He was definitely one of the leaders in this company," said Capt. Nick Teta, the commander of Alpha Company. "He was a great soldier, someone we always counted on. He always looked military and got things done," he said. "He was so enthused with the mission, so professional. He was a joy to have around. As a CO, I couldn’t ask for a better soldier," he added.
“He was real good kid,” said First Sergeant Ronny Coy. "He just got promoted that morning, we did it in front of the whole company. He was always on my advance team to Fort Drum and opened the ranges for us. At the funeral, one of the other mortar section guys came up to me and said, ‘we just lost the glue to the mortar section.’ This is a hard blow," said Coy.
"He became my best friend after I transferred here," said Staff Sgt. Clifford Aho, the unit’s full-time Supply Sergeant. "We shared a mobile home for a while, before he and Kelly were married. We hung out together, had barbecues... He got along with everyone. I really miss him," he said.
Teta said that more than 80 percent of the unit participated in the memorial service, where Horcsog received full military honors. According to Teta, the turn out from Company A was a tribute to Horcsog’s popularity. More members would have come if they could have gotten the time from work, he said. The honor guard detail was led by Staff Sergeant Alva Pratt, a member of Company A, and the NCO in charge of the Military Forces Honor Guard serving the region. Horcsog often assisted Pratt at Veterans’ funerals as a member of the Honor Guard.
"There had to be over three hundred people there at the service," said Pratt. We gave him full honors, including a firing party, flag detail and taps played by an Army Reservist from the 98th Division Band," said Pratt. "I never thought we would be rendering honors to one of our friends," he said. "He loved his military life," said Horcsog’s younger sister Faith Norton. "As we were growing up he earned the nickname Beau. He liked it better than Chester or Chet. We started calling him ‘G.I. Beau.’ It fit," she said. Faith said she would remember her brother as a strong and focused person, who knew what he wanted to achieve in life. "“When he became a father, he was ecstatic. He was always full of energy and love," she added.
"Our mother always wanted to see us both in the military," said Matthew Horcsog, who is 16 months younger than brother Beau and also serves in Company A as a communications specialist. "I always wanted to be like him. I am determined to pick up where he left off here in the unit. This is so hard. I was there that night, and there was nothing I could have done," he said. Matthew remembered being awakened at 2:00 a.m. that Sunday morning in the armory by a police officer, who told him that his brother’s car was on fire and they feared he was still inside.
"time I come into the armory I feel his presence," said Matthew, who feels a connection with his brother even now. “We have some Cherokee Indian in our blood,” said Matthew. "And, I have always believed that we sense things others don’t. Beau’s animal sign is the wolf. Mine is the eagle. I remember how we brought out mother’s ashes down to the reservation in the Great Smoky Mountain Range when she died in 1999, because she always wanted her remains to return to her homeland. That is something I will remember when I think of him. It is enough for me to know that now he is running with the wolf pack," he said.
By Staff Sgt Martin Bannan
HQ 109 Airlift Wing McMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA As 109th members at home watched ABC’s PrimeTime recount the story of Dr. Jerri Nielsen’s dramatic rescue from the South Pole, 109th members in Antarctica pitched in again to save a life on the ice. In just 30 hours, teams from five countries, including two 109th air crews and our deployed maintenance team, pulled together to rush an injured man across Antarctica to McMurdo Station and onward, approximately 4655 miles, to a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The victim, a worker assigned to SorRondane, the Norwegian scientific research station there, suffered a severe head injury as a result of a snowmobile accident on Jan 25. Personnel on hand flew the victim roughly 480 miles to the German station Neumayer and then 455 miles to Halley, a British site, before flying him 870 miles to the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station.
There, a waiting 109th C-130 Hercules, piloted by Lt. Col. Karen Love, transported the victim to McMurdo. Civilian medical personnel there stabilized him before placing him on another C-130 bound for Christchurch for the remaining 2850 miles of the journey.
"En route to Christchurch, we were in constant contact with Dr. Betty Carlisle at the McMurdo Medical Clinic. I conveyed information regarding the patient’s condition over high frequency radio and relayed her advice to the onboard flight surgeon and medical technician caring for the patient," explained Wing Commander Col. Max Della Pia, who with Aircraft Commander Maj. Tom Esposito and crew, flew the McMurdo-to-Christchurch leg of the mission. The medical personnel on board kept the victim stable until they landed in Christchurch where an ambulance and a neurosurgeon stood by. "Helping people is one of the most rewarding aspects of our job," Della Pia said. "This was an opportunity for our crewmembers, maintenance folks, and medical personnel to practice their skills and be of service to others. I was impressed with the teamwork and the professionalism of all who participated in the effort."
During the course of this year’s Antarctic flying season, the 109th responded to three other medical emergencies. Two people were evacuated and treated from a high-altitude camp for altitude sickness and another person was flown from a remote camp to Christchurch for a kidney infection.
Altitude sickness, a condition where the body is deprived of oxygen, can occur after one has ascended to a high elevation where the air is thinner, Della Pia explained. While it’s common for anyone to experience mild forms of hypoxia and headaches until they adjust to the higher altitude, those who don’t succumb to this condition. Severe cases can be fatal if untreated. Recovery is quick if the person descends in altitude immediately. Unfortunately, immediate transport is not always available. In fact, he added, an LC-130 is often the only option because many locations are beyond the range or capability of a helicopter or Twin Otter.
"Many Antarctic sites are at high elevations," explained loadmaster Master Sgt. Mike Snyder, who was also a member of the crew. "When you travel from sea level to over 10,000 ft. you must hydrate yourself and take it easy or you’re in for a world of hurt." He adds that when 109th crews fly to high-altitude camps, they bring an inflatable pressure chamber called a "Gamov Baga." The 109th crews are trained to use this device to treat altitude sickness until a victim can be evacuated.
Every little detail must be planned and every contingency thought of for polar operations. The potential for illness and injury during a mission of emergency response on the ice is ever-present and every precaution is important, explained Operations Group Commander Lt. Col. Brian Gomula.
"When we are in the neighborhood, we are ready with crews on hand, around the clock, if we are needed. I take my hat off to our unit members who respond to emergencies on the ice. As always, the 109th displays professional airmanship wherever they fly."
Della Pia agrees. "Antarctica can be an austere, hostile and often unforgiving environment. It is a comfort to all who transit or live on the continent that during the flying season there is a group of highly trained, reliable, professionals who generate, maintain and fly the "Ski Birds." That capability has often proved to be a lifeline for those in need of urgent medical care."
By Bruce Zielsdorf
Army News Service EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ The New York Giants challenged the military to launch a pre-game assault on the playoffs Sunday, Jan. 14 as the National Football League franchise continued its "march to the Superbowl" victory against the Minnesota Vikings in East Rutherford, NJ.
In response, the Defense Department called on the NY Air National Guard's 106th Air Rescue Wing from West Hampton Beach to airlift a joint service parachute team to pregame festivities over the Meadowlands. The four-person team, often referred to as "purple suits" from the US Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB, Florida jumped onto the 50-yard line from a 106th HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter to deliver the game ball in front of 78,000 Giants fans.
The Giants vs. Vikings battle was broadcast to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines overseas and aboard ship by American Forces Network Radio. The Giants soundly defeated the Vikings and went on to a Superbowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens on January 28th.
The New York Giants have a long-standing reputation as an active community partner in the New York metropolitan area. With the team’s emphasis on education, health and youth sports programs, the military’s support to the team’s pre-game hoopla is a natural extension of the Giant’s community outreach efforts.
By Airman First Class Ann-Marie Santa
HQ, 105th Airlift Wing NEWBURGH The 105th Airlift Wing, based here, welcomed the addition of a hefty "newbie"recently. Weighing in at 66,000 pounds, with an 18-and-a-half foot reach, a "60K" loader, called the "Tunner" was dedicated "The Spirit of Stewart"this past November. The 105th’s Aerial Port Squadron is the first in the Air National Guard toacquire this piece of equipment.
The "Tunner"has been used by the active duty Air Force for more than five years, said SMSgt. William Van Houten, 105th APS air terminal services non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC), but never the Guard. According to CMSgt. Peter Johnson, 105th APS superintendent, it became authorized as a result of 105th Motor Vehicle Superintendent SMSgt. James Taney’s constant efforts in justifying the need to the National Guard Bureau (NGB) for first a 40K loader, and then the "Tunner" over a course of several years.
"Being in the right place at the right time afforded me the opportunity to acquire the Tunner. We are a strategic airlift unit, so that had a lot to do with it,” Taney said. Now that the Aerial Port has the loader, training people to operate it has become a top priority, said Van Houten, who recently received his operating certification. “Now that we have the 60K loader, my aim is to get everyone trained and licensed to operate it," said Van Houten, adding that there are four teams totaling about 80 people in his squadron that he’d like to see complete the training. Training 105th members is a high priority, but so is sharing the good luck that has befallen the 105th with other Guard units, said Johnson. "... We have stepped forward and offered two of the five class slots to other Guard units starting in April," Johnson said.
Training is just one of many benefits that Van Houten said he could think of now that the “Tunner” is at Stewart. He said that since the loader is able to carry six 10,000 pound pallets, as opposed to the three pallets a 25K loader can handle, loading time for a C-5 will be cut in half, thus cutting down on the rate of delays caused by loading difficulties. And since the "Tunner" is so highly mechanized, said Van Houten, there is also room for human error when loading because adjustments can be made more easily, further reducing delays.
Another feature that the "Tunner" has that Van Houten saw as something "that comes in handy" is its ability to utilize six different fuels. "If you’re stuck in the desert and all you have is jet fuel, you can configure it to use that. It’s a great thing," he said.
Acquiring the "Tunner" is indeed, a "big deal." Johnson said that he believes that the fact that the 105th APS has been entrusted with a 1.5 million-dollar piece of equipment says a lot about the squadron and those who work in it. Although the Tunner" is an Aerial Port specific piece of equipment, securing its assignment to the 105th was a group effort, said Johnson. "And for that reason, we decided to dedicate the 60K loader as “The Spirit of Stewart." The addition of the 60K "Tunner" to the 105th APS will help the squadron continue it’s tradition of service, said Johnson. "Our motto of ‘Excellence Always’ means just that, and we’ve always delivered," he said.
By Capt. Linda Blaszak
HQ, 107th Aerial Refueling Wing NIAGARA FALLS The 107th has a new command liaison officer, a position previously known as an Air Force advisor. Promoted to lieutenant colonel Feb. 1, Daniel R. Nickerson moved into a new office this January. His responsibilities include helping the wing prepare for it’s inspection in 2002.
"My goal is to ensure an already great unit with a proven track record exceeds the requirements of the new inspection process and shows the evaluation team that the 107th is the best Air Guard unit in the Air Force," he said.
"I’m assigned here to be the liaison between the 107th and the active Air Force and part of my job is to ensure a smooth integration of the two components while deployed and in day-to-day operations," he added. Nickerson began his career in 1984 with navigator training at Mather AFB, Calif. After an assignment as a KC-135 navigator at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, he was selected for pilot training. Nickerson completed pilot training in 1989 and flew KC-135s for 8 years. He then moved on as an instructor pilot with the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training program.
Nearing the end of a three-year tour as a T-1A instructor/evaluator pilot at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, where more than 30 percent of the new Air Force pilots are trained each year, Nickerson began to look for a new assignment. While researching the possibilities he discovered the command liaison officer (CLO) position here had been vacant since Lt. Col. Tim Vaughan left it in 1998.
Being natives of Western New York and Massachusetts, Nickerson and his family were excited at the thought of returning to the area. Joined by his wife, Julie, and their three children, Jennifer, Sarah, and Daniel "DJ" Jr. the family moved to Lewiston in December.
"It’s been a positive experience for the entire family and we absolutely love it. I’m very impressed with the unit and am looking forward to working with everyone throughout the wing" said Nickerson after only two months here. "People are invited to stop by and visit although most likely they’ll be seeing me out in the squadrons. I’m going to be getting involved in wing activities as well as flying as an instructor in the [KC-135] tanker." Wing commander, Col. James Kwiatkowski, is happy to have the CLO position filled once again.
"Lt. Col. Nickerson will be a great asset to the wing. Our focus in the coming months will be our approaching inspection cycle and Dan will be an important part of helping us get prepared," Kwiatkowski said.
By Capt. Donald A. Moore
VALHALLA Thirty-five local volunteers recently completed training courses in Radiological Emergencies and Radiological Monitoring conducted at the Westchester County Fire Training Center in Valhalla. The Courses were sponsored y the Westchester Office of Emergency Management in cooperation with the State Emergency Management Office, the Federal Emergency Management Institute, the NY Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and the NY Guard. These organizations have requirements to provide trained personnel to support local authorities in emergencies. Six members of the South Eastern Group, Civil Air Patrol joined 25 officers from the New York Guard, Civil/Military Affairs Detachment "Bravo" to learn and practice the skill needed to become qualified as Radiological Monitors.
The volunteers completed eight hours of classroom theory and hands-on training with low and high range monitoring survey meters and dosimeters. They completed the 12-hour Federal Emergency Management Institute’s course "Emergency Radiological Management." All were credited with completing the 4-hour Basic Course in Radiological Emergencies. The programs included Videotape presentations, classroom lectures; self study homework assignments and actual experience. All were trained using the equipment to monitor, survey and accurately understand - safe or dangerous level of radiological dose rate and accumulated dose. The assembly, functioning, scales and advantages and limitations of each piece of equipment was covered. The final examination was issued from the FEMA Institute in Maryland. All who successfully completed the examination and practical received a certificate from the Federal Emergency Management Institute and recognition from their organizations.
Guard soldiers who are assigned to a radiological support unit and completed the training, would be eligible for the NY Guard Radiological Qualification Badge. Civil Air Patrol members would have their emergency service qualification card annotated as radiological monitors or aerial radiological monitors, depending upon their skill level. The Westchester County Emergency management Office, with the cooperation of FEMA, SEMO, the NYG and the NY Wing of the CAP sponsored the program. The Instructor for the program was Allan F. Pogorzelski, a former active member of both the New York Guard and the Civil Air Patrol.
The New York Guard Civil/Military Affairs Detachment - B is composed of professionals, lawyers, doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and business executives, who provide services to various state and federal military units as unpaid volunteers. There are three detachments serving under the New York Guard Civil/Military Affairs Units.
Guard Times Staff SYRACUSE An item of significant historical importance recently came home to the US Navy Reserve Center in North Syracuse, New York.
A ladies’ hatpin, and a letter dated December 27, 1912 detailing the significance of the materials which construct it were recently donated to the Naval Reserve Center.
Upon receiving the anonymous donation, Lieutenant Commander Greg Tiemann, the Commanding Officer of the Reserve Center contacted the Curator of the Navy in Washington DC; who was very excited about the significance of the pin. Upon the Curator’s review and documentation of the item, it was returned at the commander’s request to the Reserve Center in Mattydale. It was appropriately prepared and mounted, and will be proudly displayed for all time.
"When I read the hand written letter from 1912 which accompanied the hatpin, I instantly understood the historical significance of the item. Some of the Navy’s greatest and most famous are here; from the USS CONSTITUTION, Admiral Dewey’s flagship OLYMPIA of the "Great White Fleet", to USS MAINE are captured and memorialized here all in one hatpin. This is a very exciting item, and I’m immensely proud to be able to display it at the Naval Reserve Center!" proclaimed Lt. Commander Tiemann. Verbatim of the 1912 letter follows:
December 27, 1912
Enclosed you will find a rather insignificant hatpin, but the material from which I made it has some history attached to it.
The pieces of mahogany (nos. 1 and 5) are parts of the door of the Captain’s cabin of the USS MAINE, that was destroyed in Havana harbor at 9:40 PM on February 15, 1898.
The pieces of live oak (nos. 2 and 4) are pieces of one of the original frames of the old war ship CONSTITUTION, built at Boston in 1797. This old ship made quite a record as a sea fighter. Piece (no 3) is a piece of teak and at one time was part of the chart house of the Spanish cruiser "REINA MERCEDES" that was sunk in the entrance of Santiago harbor July 4th, 1898 and was afterwards raised and repaired and added to the list of the US Navy.
The pieces of brass were parts of the training gear of the forward seven-inch gun of Dewey’s flagship OLYMPIA. This gun fired the first shot May 1st 1898 when Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay.
I am sure these pieces are just as described, for I saved them from larger pieces that were sent to the Navy Yard from the Secretary of the Navy to have some articles made for the curio cabinet in the Navy Department. Wishing you A Merry Christmas (Meaning with love)
By Maj. Richard Goldenberg
HQ, 42d Infantry Division (Mech) TROY Maj. Gen. Michael Van Patten, Commanding General of the New York Army National Guard announced in January the promotion of New York Army National Guard Colonel Joseph J. Taluto to the rank of Brigadier General. Taluto will continue to serve the 42d "Rainbow" Infantry Division as its Deputy Commander for Maneuver.
Taluto, a Schenectady native and current resident of Fort Anne, is a 35-year Army National Guard veteran who has commanded troops during some of this region’s most significant state emergencies. As Chief of Staff for the 42d Infantry Division, Taluto played an instrumental leadership role in the state’s response to both the 1998 North Country Ice Storm and thesame year's tornado that ripped through Mechanicville and Stillwater. Maj. Gen. George T. Garrett, 42d Infantry Division Commander, said "People throughout the North Country and the residents of Mechanicville and Stillwater have directly benefited from the effective leadership that characterizes General Taluto’s career as an Army National Guard officer."
Taluto deployed with the division headquarters in 1998 and 1999 to the Army Battle Command Training Center at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas where he was cited for exceptional leadership in synchronizing the division’s go-to-war skills. The exercises simulate combat operations to challenge leaders and soldiers in crisis management.
Taluto is a 1968 graduate of the Empire State Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School (OCS). His New York National Guard assignments included Deputy Commander, 27th Infantry Brigade, and Chief of Staff for State Area Command, Chief of Staff and operations Officer for 53rd Troop Command, and command and staff positions with the 1st Battalion, 210th Armor.
"Joe Taluto is and will continue to be a great asset to the New York Army National Guard and the people of the State of New York," Brig. Gen. Van Patten said. “His promotion is well deserved.”
Guard Times Staff ALBANY Governor George E. Pataki wrote the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to urge a longdelayed Medal of Honor tribute for World War I hero, Sgt. Henry Johnson. Pataki has led a five-year effort to help obtain the highest military honor for Sgt. Johnson. "Sgt. Henry Johnson is not only a hometown hero for the residents of Albany, but also a national hero," Governor Pataki said. “It has been almost 83 years since Sgt. Henry Johnson single handedly battled an entire German raiding party with a rifle, and then faced his foes in hand-to-hand combat. He received over 20 wounds, yet, through his own determination and heroism, prevailed against the enemy.
"The actions of men like Sgt. Henry Johnson were doubly significant in that they not only helped win great victories for their nation, they also helped to explode the myths that were the underpinnings of racial segregation in America," the Governor said.
In 1996, the Governor directed Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA), to join with the 369th Veterans Association, to research and forward the award submission. Johnson was subsequently nominated posthumously for the Medal of Honor by the New York Naitonal Guard in recognition for combat valor as a member of Company C, 369th US Infantry in France during WWI.
The Department of the Army acknowledged in February that it has approved a Medal of Honor nomination for Johnson. The award packet now goes to the Defense Secretary and ultimately to the President for final review and approval.
Johnson was an Albany, New York native, who enlisted in the New York National Guard’s 15th Infantry from Harlem and was deployed to France in 1917. Renamed the 369th US Infantry Regiment, the all black unit served in the trenches alongside French forces because of the U.S. Army’s segregation policies at the time.
While serving with the 369th, Johnson is credited with repulsing an entire German patrol and carrying a wounded comrade to safety despite suffering 21 wounds himself. The 369th served longer in combat than any other US unit and never retreated or lost ground in battle.
Today, the 369th Transportation Battalion still trains at the Harlem Armory, part of the NY National Guard's 53rd Troop Command.
Johnson was decorated for valor by the French government, and along with companion Needham Roberts, became the first American ever awarded France’s highest military award for heroism, the Croix de Guerre with Gold Palm. Maj. General Jack Fenimore, the Adjutant General, said "The Division of Military and Naval Affairs is very proud to have played a role in helping to ensure that this courageous soldier is duly recognized for his heroism."
"I am committed to seeing to it that this courageous New Yorker receives the nation’s highest military honor," the Governor said. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I urge the Secretary of Defense to move forward to ensure that this great American finally receives the recognition he is due."
Guard Times Staff ALBANY Former Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Clarence Dart visited the NY National Guard headquarters this February to record his experiences as a combat pilot with the 99th Fighter Squadron during the Second World War.
On hand for Lt. Col. Dart's interview was Governor George Pataki, who presented Dart with the New York State Conspicious Service Cross and Service Star for his wartime contributions. "As a Tuskegee Airman, Colonel Dart is not only part of history, he helped change the very course of history," Pataki said.
Lt. Col. Robert Van Hasseln, state director for Military History conducted the interview as part of the Governor's recent Oral History Program. The initiative, under the auspices of DMNA announced on Veteran's Day in 2000, employs digital video technology to record and preserve the first hand accounts and perspectives of New York's veterans. The program has registered more than 400 veterans to participate and has completed more than 50 interviews to date.
"The first hand accounts of veterans like Clarence Dart are an irreplaceable resource which will provide a wealth of knowledge to future generations of New Yorkers," Pataki said. "Recording and effectively preserving these accounts will ensure that the service, sacrifice and accomplishments of New York's WWII veterans are never forgotten."
Dart said he was happy to participate. "I told them the whole story, about how I got in and what I did when I was there. They asked me my views about discrimination in the States and overseas,"he said.
The 99th Fighter Squadron, an all-black unit in the Army Air Corps, escorted US bombers and provided protection from enemy fighters. The unit never lost a bomber to enemy aircraft during their escort missions. Lt. Col. Dart piloted the P-40 Tomahawk and the P- 51 Mustang with the unit from 1943 to 1945. He was forced to crash twice in his career, escaping serious injury in each instance.
Anyone veteran interested in registering for the Oral History Program may do so by calling 1-800-955-2971 or visiting dmna.ny.gov/veteran.
By Lt. Col. Kenneth H. Powers,
Regimental Historian 69th Regiment of New York Special to the Guard Times NEW YORK CITY On the signal of the New York Police Department, the military escort of the largest civilian parade in the world will step up Fifth Avenue in New York City to the tune of “Garry Owen”, the official march of the 69th Regiment of New York. March 17, 2001, will be the 240th consecutive New York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
Before the Parade, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York will celebrate a memorial Mass for the fallen of the 69th ; the Regiment will be in attendance at Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. 2001 is not only the first year of the third millennium, it also marks the sesquecentennial of the 69th Regiment.
Originally the Second Regiment of Irish Volunteers, it was accepted as part of the New York State Militia and designated as the Sixty-Ninth Regiment on October 12, 1851. The dual-dedication of the Parade this year is shared by Labor and by the 69th Regiment; this is particularly appropriate given the fact that most of the citizen-soldiers throughout the history of the 69th are working men.
The 69th Regiment of New York is, at the same time, unique in history, and representative, not only of all of Irish America, but also of "Wild Geese" throughout the world. It was formed by Irish exiles in New York for the express purpose of gaining military training in the service of the United States in order that those skills so acquired might later be utilized in the future liberation of Ireland.
The regiment itself was formed from companies of the old Irish 9th Regiment of New York plus a number of independent companies, which had not previously been part of the New York State Militia (what we would today call the Army National Guard). Late Veteran Corps Commander Barney Kelly’s Company "A" of the 69th traces its lineage back through the Revolutionary War to the force which assaulted Quebec, under General Richard Montgomery on December 31, 1775.
By 1860 the 69th New York had become the premiere Irishregiment in America. In that year its new Colonel, Michael Corcoran, was called upon to parade the regiment in honor of the visiting, so-called "Prince of Wales," son of the English queen who had presided over An Gorta Mor, the great hunger, which had decimated the Irish population at home, and forced over a million to emigrate. The same conspirators who had formed the 69th had also, in 1858, founded the Fenian Brotherhood in America to support the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ireland in the preparation for physical force revolution in Ireland whenever England’s difficulty might become Ireland’s opportunity for Liberty.
Corcoran’s refusal to parade was immensely popular among the Irish, but not among the nativists, who demanded his court martial. It was during this court martial that Fort Sumpter was fired upon; the American Civil War had begun. Would the Irish fight for the United States? That was the question. Michael Corcoran offered to lead the 69th to war, all charges against him were dropped, and the 69th New York State Militia departed for Washington, DC under the Stars and Stripes and under their own green flag with sunburst, presented by the ladies of New York to commemorate Corcoran’s earlier refusal to parade (affectionately known as the "Prince of Wales" color).
The 69th responded to President Lincoln’s personal appeal not to go home at the end of their enlistment in 1861, instead marching to battle at Bull Run, where they were one of the few Union units to be cited for maintaining good order and discipline throughout the day. Corcoran was captured and, refusing parole, remained in prison for a year until exchanged. That green flag, carried so honorably, hangs in the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City today.
An Irish Brigade
When the 69th New York State Militia returned to New York, veterans of the Bull Run campaign sought to form a new 69th New York Infantry Regiment to return to the fighting front. There were so many volunteers that Thomas Francis Meagher decided to form an Irish Brigade (beginning with the 69th, 88rd, and 63th New York Volunteer Infantry regiments, and later adding the 28th Massachusetts and the 116th Pennsylvania). The 69th and the 88th trained at Fort Schuyler, in the Bronx, before going off to war. In recent years County Waterford, whose banner bears the image of Meagher, has been led up Fifth Avenue by an Irish Brigade Honor Guard made up of authentic Civil War re-enactors (many of whom portrayed the 69th Pennsylvania in the movie "Gettysburg").
The 69th New York participated in twenty-three campaigns during the American Civil War, from Bull Run through Appomattox. Its dash and gallantry in the many battles of those campaigns earned for the 69th, and for the Irish Brigade, a military reputation which equaled, or eclipsed, the reputations of previous Irish Brigades.
The rescue of the Irish 9th of Massachusetts at Gaines Mill (June 27, 1862), the assaults on the Bloody Lane at Antietam (September 17, 1862) and on Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg (December 13, 1862), and the fight in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg (July 2, 1863) have assumed legendary stature, right up there beside the assault of the Irish Brigade in the service of France to turn the tide of battle against the English at Fontenoy (May 11, 1745).
After Michael Corcoran’s exchange, he was invited to dine with President Abraham Lincoln in the White House, at which time Lincoln asked Corcoran to recruit what would be, in effect, a second Irish brigade for the Army of the Potomac. Now General Corcoran, with the help of comrades of the 69th New York State Militia, formed yet another 69th New York State Volunteer regiment (nominally Artillery, but serving as infantry), which became the first regiment of Corcoran’s Irish Legion, which served for the remainder of the war, suffering terrible losses at Cold Harbor (June 3, 1864).
In the American Civil War Medals of Honor were awarded to Timothy Donoghue, to Joseph Keefe and to Peter Rafferty. Since the war, the legacy of the three “69th” Regiments has resided in the one, current 69th Regiment of New York.
In our next issue, the "Fighting Sixty-Ninth" carries their battle flags towards Cuba, Mexico and finally on to Europe in and the Pacific in two World Wars.
Guard Times Staff FORT RUCKER, AL The first all Army National Guard War rant Officer Candidate (WOCS) graduating class in history completed training on 2 February 2001, at the Warrant Officer Career Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama.
This unique class, comprised of 48 candidates from 21 states, completed the two phase, four week course in an outstanding manner. The class was the first class in Warrant Officer Career Center history to have 100% of all candidates pass from Phase I to Phase II.
The New York Army National Guard was represented by Warrant Officer William Solmo, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry. Solmo is a full-time Heavy Mobile Equipment Repair Inspector at Combined Support Maintenance Shop Bravo on Staten Island. Solmo is also the son of New York Army National Guard member Col. (ret.) Joseph Solmo, the former Chief of Staff for the 53rd Troop Command.
A reception and awards ceremony was held on the night of 1 February at the Fort Rucker Community Center with graduation at the Fort Rucker Air Museum. The class motto was "Red Rhinos, Guardians of the Future." Warrant Officer Solmo was administered the oath of office by Chief Warrant Officer Charles Amoroso, State Command Chief Warrant Officer. Command Chief Warrant Officers from 19 of the 21 states represented were present for the ceremony. Amoroso noted that the Career Center staff is professional and dedicated, providing instruction in leadership and traditional military subjects in a high stress environment. Honesty, integrity, military bearing, physical fitness, and attention to detail are integral requirements.
The best way for a candidate to begin preparing is to contact recent graduates like Mr. Solmo. They provide invaluable insight for a preparation program. Warrant Officer vacancies exist in almost every career field. For more information on applying for positions please review the Warrant Officer Web Page on the DMNA Web Site or call Chief Warrant Officer Amoroso, Master Sgt. Dave Phillis, or Sgt. Todd Dreaney, at 518-786-4936/4625/4660.
Guard Times Staff CAMP SMITH The state’s finest combat marksman will once again descend upon Camp Smith the end of April for the 22nd Annual Adjutant General’s (TAG) Combat Matches. The matches, open to members of the Army and Air National Guard, Naval Militia, Active Reservists (USNR and USMCR) and New York Guard (pistol only), will involve intense individual and team competition in combat rifle, pistol and light machinegun.
Any unit may enter a team, however, all team members must be from the same battalion or battalion equivalent. All units down to detachment level were mailed a copy of the match program in January, which details the instructions for entering a team as well as a thorough description of the match rules and courses of fire.
The purpose of the competitions is to foster marksmanship training in the state's military forces; to promote unit level marksmanship programs, to provide unit commanders with an additional tool to assess small arms proficiency and identify shooters who can contribute to state-level teams.
The New York State combat matches are now the largest state-level matches in the country, drawing over 400 competitors each year. "The matches are more than a competition, they are a significant training event, bringing together all the various components and branches of service that make up the military forces of New York State", says Major Bruce Olsen, the State Marksmanship Coordinator. "The matches emphasize both precision and combat marksmanship, which is so critical a skill on the battlefield," Olsen said. "After the last round is fired, the competitors are not only better marksmen, but also have more confidence in their individual weapon. We also see the matches as a morale builder, which is good for retention. Each year the recruiting and retention command is present to lend a hand and provide refreshments for the troops."
If anyone requires additional information concerning the matches, contact Sgt. First Class JackPrue at MNAR-TR, Latham, phone: (518) 786-4650.
Guard Times Staff VALHALLA Troop Command Headquarters this winter announced the Quarterly FTS Achieve ment Award winner for October-December 2000. Staff Sgt. Evelyn Caraballo, Legal NCO from Headquarters 107th Support Group in New York City was recognized for her outstanding management of Administrative Board processing procedures and requirements.
To accomplish this added full-time responsibility, Staff Sgt. Caraballo spent many after duty hours working to complete her missions. "Staff Sgt. Caraballo is a tireless soldier who takes great pride in her work and is highly deserving of this recognition," said Lt. Col. Robert Edelmen, deputy commander for Troop Command in presenting the award.
Staff Sgt. Caraballo received a personalized 53d Troop Command Coin Desk Holder, a gift certificate to Blockbuster Video and a congratulatory letter from the Commanding General, 53d Troop Command. Additionally, Staff Sgt. Caraballo’s name will be permanently inscribed on the Troop Command Awards Plaque located at the Valhalla Armory.
By Major Richard Goldenberg
Guard Times Staff LATHAM As the state reaches the end of the current fiscal year on March 31st, the window for utilizing the New York National Guard's tuition program for the current semester is closed. As the NY National Guard's Tuition Incentive Program nears six thousand student-soldiers in four years, funding for recruits' free tuition is already focusing on summer and fall semesters.
The Tuition Incentive Program offers up to $3,400 a year in college tuition, the equivalent tuition fee at a State University of New York campus. New recruits may use their tuition benefits at any private or public colleges in NY State. National Guard recruits must meet application deadlines each semester much like financial aid applications to receive benefits. With almost two thousand students receiving the tuition benefit this year, the program budget of $3 million is approaching its limit for this fiscal year.
"In order not to exceed our alloted funding, we have enforced or existing cutoff date," said Scott Sandman, spokesman for the Division of Military and Naval Affairs headquarters in Latham. The Tuition Program is the foundation for New York's resurgence in the mid-1990s for state militaries. The National Guard Bureau recently commended New York for achieving recruiting goals for each of the last five years, the only state in the nation to do so.
The incentive program is especially popular among recruits in New York because they can receive college monies immediately and begin classes. Under the Governor's 1999 expansion of the Tuition Program, students may now receive aid even before competing their basic or advanced individual training. Both Army and Air National Guard recruits, as well as the Naval Militia are eligible for the program.
Next school semester will most likely be the biggest interest to new members in their talks with recruiters. "We look forward to signing up new recruits for next semester," Sandman said.
By Staff Sgt. Corine Lombardo
Guard Times Staff ALBANY From a peacetime perspective - this is probably one of the most stressful situations a young soldier or Non Commissioned Officer will experience. It’s the annual Non-Commissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Board.
On the weekend of January 6-7, eight members of the New York Army National Guard arrived to compete in the annual NCO and Soldier of the Year Board. These individuals were nominated from within their units and competed at the Major Command level, where a board selected the best-qualified soldier to represent them at the State.
Competition takes place in four categories. The Soldier of the Year is comprised of junior enlisted members from the rank of E-1 to E-4, with the NCO of the Year comprising soldiers in the ranks of E-5 to E-7, in both the traditional Guard member and Active Guard and Reserve categories.
These individuals were judged on their leadership skills and abilities, military bearing, knowledge of Army Programs, current events, National Guard history, team and individual soldier responsibilities, with additional points added for physical fitness and weapons qualification scores and individual awards and commendations.
"We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of these soldiers and NCOs." said Command Sgt. Major Don Brawley, adding "they have dedicated many hours of the personal time preparing for this event. This event culminates in the spring at the First Army Board. After it’s all over, we have a smarter soldier who is better able to serve his unit and the New York Army National Guard."
Selected as the Active Guard & Reserve (AGR) Non Commissioned Officer of the Year is Sgt. First Class Douglas Marcantonio, a supply supervisor from Newburgh. He is assigned to the 53rd Troop Command. AGR Soldier of the Year is Spec. Phillip Guarno, an administrative specialist assigned to the 27th Brigade, and lives in Utica. Also from the 27th Brigade is Sgt. Steven Scott from Brasher Falls, an infantry soldier selected as the traditional NCO of the Year. Spec. Thomas Scott, a 53rd Troop Command heavy construction equipment operator from Endwell was selected as the Traditional Soldier of the Year.
"This is the first time I have competed in a board at this level and I am very impressed by the professionalism of the board," said Sgt. Steven Scott. "Stress was prevalent throughout the whole process, but the Sergeants Major tried to relax you while still evaluating you as a soldier and individual. I appreciate all they did, I think I did well but will have to wait and see. I have always suggested to my soldiers that they participate in the platoon level competition in our company, but after this experience, I will be able to educate and further encourage my soldiers to compete for the state level."
These soldiers go on to represent the New York National Guard in the First US Army Non-Commissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Competition in later this spring.