Guard Times Staff, LATHAM - The New Year continues to bring more challenges to the men and women of New York State's military forces as fresh missions are added to the list of ongoing security operations across the state.
Even though the requirements for the number of forces on State Active Duty in New York City have diminished, hundreds of other troops continue to serve elsewhere on either state or federal active duty status. In addition, all new federal missions are surfacing and are expected to bring more New York troops onto active duty in the weeks ahead.
Focus on Homeland Security
Even though there has been progress in the war in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush, the nation'sCommander-in-Chief stressed during his State of the Union address, that the War on Terrorism is far from over and Homeland Security remains priority number one. New York's Commander-in-Chief, Governor George E. Pataki delivered a similar message during the State of the State address, during which he stated that the safety and security of our citizens at home must come first.
Across the nation, National Guard men and women havebeen thrust to the forefront of the new reality impacting athome, and no where has that been more obvious than in New York. Thousands of New York Army and Air NationalGuard men and women have and continue to serve on eitherstate or federal active duty. As reported previously, hundreds of New York Naval Militia and New York Guard personnel also served on State Active Duty during the height of the crisis. But members of the National Guard, with their unique federal and state mission focus will clearly be called upon to handle the long haul.
Troops on Duty
In January, the 101st Cavalry stood down from its task force command role for the support mission to the New York City Police Department and the 69th Infantry took over the lead. A reduced task force comprised of 69th and other troops assigned to units of the 53rd Troop Command continue to provide security support atvarious bridges, tunnels and the train stations in New York City. These troops are among the many that originally deployed to the city on 9-11, and have since performed considerable state active duty during the crisis response and sustained operations periods.
More than 200 troops of the 69th's Companies A and B continue to serve on federal duty at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and a platoon from Company C has now been federalized for security duty at a military installation in Pennsylvania. The West Point mission is expected to last beyond the initial six months originally stipulated last Fall and more troops are expected to come on duty in the March-April time frame to replace those presently serving.
Hundreds of troops of the 27th Separate Infantry Brigade (Enhanced) continue to protect New York's twenty airports and four nuclear sites. The federal government envisioned the airport security mission to last up to six months. But as the deadline for that period closes it is clear that neither the U.S. Department of Transportation or Federal Aviation Administration will have the necessary civilian security personnel in place and in time, in accordance with Congressional mandate. The Guard mission therefore is expected to last with no clear indication of the end date.
The Army activated the 18-member 10th Mountain Division Detachment from Rochester and the 110-member 107th Military Police Company from Utica and Brooklyn in January for federal duty at Fort Drum. The missions of these units could last up to a year.
Northern Border Mission
Last Fall, federal authorities determined that security and screening procedures at international border crossing sites with Canada across the country needed to be improved. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft called for the use of National Guard troops to bolster federal Customs, Immigrationand Naturalization Service and Border Patrol personnel in order to improve security at the crossing sites and help patrol the porous northern border with Canada.
Following weeks of analysis and coordination betweenthe Department of Defense and the Justice Department, amission for the National Guard appears imminent. Theissue is complicated because a Constitutional Amendmentdating back to the Reconstruction Era after the Civil Warprohibits the use of federal military forces in law enforcementroles. Posse Comitatus, a Latin term meaning literally"the power of the county," limits federal involvement at thelocal level. While the National Guard, thanks to its dualstate and federal status as set forth in the Constitution, haslong supported civil authorities while under state control,federalized Guard troops would now fall into the sameprohibited category.
Still, international border security is a federal role and nota responsibility of state government. The Department ofDefense envisions activated Guard troops will be detaileddirectly to INS and the Border Patrol for command andcontrol, and this alignment will satisfy Constitutional restrictionswhile enabling the mission to proceed.
Back to Normal?
Even as these and other missions continue to develop,the rest of the New York Army National Guard is trying toget back to a "normal" training regimen. Units, whoseoriginal yearly training program had been organized andapproved months before 9-11 are now trying to salvagetraining plans formulated to meet federal military requirements.Despite long periods of State Active Duty at groundzero and other sites, units are packing up and deploying toGermany and other European destinations for AnnualTraining. Leaders at all levels continue to express concernfor the cumulative impact of extended periods of duty onsoldiers, their families and their civilian jobs. And yet, theGuard continues to receive considerable support fromfamilies and the community at large. Time will tell how theGuard and its members will adjust to the "new normal"impacting the force.
WASHINGTON, DC (American Forces Press Service) - "Smart weapons are worthlessunless they're in the hands of smart, well-trained, highly motivated soldiers,sailors, airmen and Marines," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told membersof the House Armed Services Committee this February.
"If we're to win the war on terror and prepare for tomorrow, we have to take care ofour greatest assets, the people in the (defense) department," he said.
Rumsfeld said the proposed fiscal 2003 defense budget request of $379 billionincludes $94 billion for military pay and allowances. This would give service membersa 4.1 percent across-the-board pay raise, and mid-grade service members would getanother 300 million in targeted pay increases.
"We're competing with the private sector for the best young people in our country,"Rumsfeld said. "We can't simply count on their patriotism and their willingness tosacrifice alone."
Anyone who visits America's troops "can't help but come away with just enormousconfidence in their dedication, their patriotism, their confidence, the training they'vehad and the very high state of morale that they bring to the important work that they'redoing," Rumsfeld told committee members.
"They put their lives at risk for our country, and we all are deeply appreciative andgrateful to them," he said.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Small businesses that employ military reservists who werecalled to federal active duty in response to the recent terrorist attacks may qualify forMilitary Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loans (MREIDL) from the Small BusinessAdministration (SBA) during a period of military conflict.
According to the SBA, the MREIDL program will provide loans of up to $l.5 millionto eligible small businesses to cover ordinary and operating expenses that would havebeen met but cannot because an essential employee was called to active duty in hisor her role as a military reservist.
Federal law requires SBA to determine whether credit in an amount needed toaccomplish full recovery is available from non-government sources without creatingan undue financial hardship to the applicant. The law calls this credit availableelsewhere. Generally, SBA determines that over 90% of disaster loan applicants donot have sufficient financial resources to recover without the assistance of theFederal government. Because the Military Reservist economic injury loans aretaxpayer subsidized, Congress intended that applicants with the financial capacityto fund their own recovery should do so and therefore are not be eligible for MREIDLassistance.
The working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable,and other bills that cannot be paid. The purpose of these loans is not to cover lostincome or lost profits. MREIDL funds cannot be used to take the place of regularcommercial debt, to refinance long-term debt or to expand the business. These loansare intended only to provide the amount of working capital needed by a small businessto pay its necessary obligations as they mature until operations return to normal afterthe essential employee is released from active military duty.
The interest rate on these loans is 4 percent, with a maximum term of 30 years. TheSBA determines the amount of economic injury, the term of each loan and the paymentamount, based on each borrower's financial circumstances.
To obtain a Military Reservist Economic Injury Loan Application please contact theDisaster Area Office that serves the Northeastern United States at: Small BusinessAdministration 360 Rainbow Blvd. S., 3rd Fl., Niagara Falls, NY 14303, telephone 1-800-659-2955 or (716) 282-4612.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - National Guard Bureau totals for soldiers and airmenmobilized for the nation's war on terrorism exceed 50,000 Army and Air National Guardservice members, according to a summary from the NGB Public Affairs Office.
The contributions to support Operations Enduring Freedom overseas, Noble Eaglein the U.S. and the support to airport security or state active duty for the World TradeCenter or Pentagon attack sites reached 53,411men and women by late February.
For a historical perspective, the total National Guard members mobilized for the GulfWar a decade ago was 75, 478.
In addition, nearly 3,600 troops were called to either state or federal duty to supportsecurity mission requirements of the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
ProfessionalAssociations WorthYour Time, AttentionTwo vital military professional societyevents are on the calendar in the comingmonths - I'll be at both of them - andsoldiers, airmen and women, sailors andMarines, as appropriate and applicable,might consider attending. They are:
-June 7-9, 2002 in and around the historic7th Regiment Armory, 643 Park Ave., inManhattan, a revitalized Militia Associationof New York (MANY) and our NationalGuard headquarters will be hosting a professionaldevelopment weekend, highlightedby MANY's annual state convention.MANY, the National Guard's commissionedofficer professional association, hasmoved the annual conference to New YorkCity from Glens Falls and is working aggressivelyto put together a meaningful programfor all, including the always stimulatingmilitary security symposium and seminar.
-August 18-22, 2002, New York Statehosts the Enlisted Association of the NationalGuard of the United States (EANGUS)national convention at the Niagara FallsConvention Center. Enlisted Associationdelegates from 50 states and four territorieswill stream to the Niagara Frontier to hammerout legislative resolutions and initiativesfor the coming year, elect new nationalofficers and set significant policy for thecoming year. Important stuff.
"In an era of shrinking militaryresources, even in the wake ofthe Sept. 11, 2001, theseprofessional groups are in theforefront of fighting for therights, needs and entitlements ofmilitary personnel, whether onactive duty, in the reservecomponents or retired"
The fact that the EANGUS national conventionis hosted by New York is an importantachievement and says much about theenergetic and committed leadership of theNew York chapter and its hard-driving executivecommittee. Nearly one-thousandenlisted personnel and NCOs make up themembership of EANYNG and at the risk ofbandying about a time-worn cliche: they'resimply worth their weight in gold.
Time and again the leadership of the stateDivision of Military and Naval Affairs, theNational Guard and our two other militarycomponents - the Naval Militia and theall-volunteer New York Guard - have turnedto the EANYNG chapter and they've providedunflinching traction and support.
And all this is in a contemporary era whenthe old membership dues check off systemhas gone out the door. No longer cancommanders, first sergeants or supervisorsstrong arm or pressure subordinatesinto joining professional associations, attendso-called "mandatory" social functionsand the like.
It wasn't all that long ago, for instance,when the "Old Man" or "Top" sat down totackle a stack of performance reviews andmade qualitative ratings, at least in part,based on whether the rated soldier's namehad hit the dues membership roster. Suchpractices, thankfully, have been retired.
Nevertheless a strong need remains forprofessional associations like MANY,EANYNG, the Association of the UnitedStates Army, the Air Force Association,the Marine Corps League, the New YorkAssociation of Warrant Officers, etc.
Why? Because in an era of shrinkingmilitary resources, even in the wake of Sept.11, 2001, these professional groups are inthe forefront of fighting for the rights,needs and entitlements of military personnel,whether on active duty, in the reservecomponents or retired.
Take EANYNG for instance. In the pastdecade they went to the line for and helpedachieve the historic NYNG Tuition AssistanceBill signed into law July 31, 1996 byGovernor George Pataki; low cost NewYork State auto license plates for statemilitia component members, and an extensionof U.S. Department of Veterans Affairshome loan benefits for Guard and Reservemembers through the year 2007.
There are other reasons to join groups likeEANYNG. Through membership dues ofonly $17 per year ($8 for the state chapterand $9 national dues) the organization provideseducation scholarships to needy sonsand daughters of enlisted personnel andprovides efficiency and proficiency awardsto deserving active Guard members. Thenthere are the social benefits; a chance tomingle with your colleagues and cohorts ina world where social amenities and civilityseems, sadly, on the wane.
For more information, don't hesitate tovisit the Enlisted Association website at:www.eangus.org and download away.
Dear Guard Times,
I am sending you this letter regarding the meritoriousand gallant actions of one of your soldiers, Spec. BryanStern. Stern is from the 227th Military IntelligenceCompany, 27th Separate Infantry Brigade.
Spec. Stern was one of the original New York NationalGuard soldiers to arrive on the scene on September11th and helped a number of civilians in the area at theWorld Trade Center. Spec. Stern, along with First Sgt.Santos Diaz of the 145th Maintenance Company performedsearch and rescue duties at ground zero in theearly hours after the attack and assisted in the treatmentof the wounded. During this time Stern put hisextensive medical expertise to good use by performingCPR on nine victims. His search and rescue missionswere performed at ground zero in an extremely dangerousenvironment. Even after the Twin Towers camedown there remained a constant danger from otherdamaged buildings collapsing, falling debris, and explosionsfrom broken gas lines. It should be noted thatSpec. Stern completely ignored his own personal safetyby providing this assistance.
Military training is something common to all soldiers.Being able to call upon that training and apply it in acrisis situation is something different, something not allsoldiers get to do. Spec. Stern has proven his technicalcompetence and natural leadership abilities under oneof the most adverse situations in the history of ournation. We were fortunate to have to have him there.
He has clearly demonstrated his ability to perform theduties of a Non-Commissioned Officer.
Stern's actions reflect great credit upon himself, the227th Military Intelligence Company, and the New YorkArmy National Guard. Sincerely, Bryan W. Pelton WTC Rescue Volunteer
Dear Guard Times:
Let me quickly state that I got to the site of the WorldTrade Center within about 24 hours of arriving for dutywith the National Guard's Joint Task Force 42, and I wasmoved to tears. It took me that first day to get my courageup. It felt somehow that it would be voyeuristic, and thatI would just be gaping at the destruction and horrorin a more or less morbid fascination sort of way.
When I got to the Red Zone I was very tentative abouttaking that first look. Stopping, and really looking.When I did I was immediately aware of my anger andmy deep sorrow - after all, thousands of American'swere slaughtered here. And countless family andfriends were and still are affected. The debris field isshrinking as construction equipment (huge cranes,excavators, trucks to haul out material) does this terriblework, fewer volunteers than in the early weeksbecause the site is now in "normal" recovery mode. Iwould go a few steps, then stop and turn first in onedirection and then another. It is vast. The eye cannotsee it all at one glance; the brain cannot comprehendit all at once. You walk a bit, look a bit tentatively, thenyou focus your energy and really look, and you beginto "see" what happened. From every angle, from everyplace you stop you see more - and with more clarity.Slowly I made my way through the area known asground zero. Some workers, drawn and tired, resting bya Red Cross tent.
There is a landfill site somewhere not too far away wherethe debris is taken, and then given the closest examinationby forensic specialists who are looking for anything to helpidentify the dead. There isn't much of the dead that hasbeen found. Early on there were identifiable parts found. Nolonger. As the crews go deeper they must surely find more.One of my teams works in a warehouse that is at (the) Pier.Donated goods are stored for use by those involved in therecover effort. The thousands of body bags are still on theshelf - barely touched.
I walked up onto a wooden platform built for visitors toget a "better" look. There were people on the platform, andI sort of walked around before climbing the steps - I felt likean intruder. On them, and on the site. This is a "hallowed"ground now. I walked along the viewing stand railing,towards the point closest to ground zero. The railing hadhand written messages, like many places around the areathere were messages to the lost. One in particular... in blackmagic marker - "Daddy", with an arrow pointed towardswhere a building had been (maybe the Marriott Hotel, orone of the Towers), and "I love you" underneath the arrow.Along a wall leading away from the stand were letters withphotographs... one from a mother-in-law to herdaughter's husband who had perished telling him,"... what a great son-in-law you are", and thanking himfor the three beautiful granddaughters who are thelight of her life. The picture was of her daughter andthree granddaughters. I couldn't read any more of thatletter. Other letters, flowers, too much to soak in.Across the street from there was a granite memorial topolice who over the years had died in the line of duty.Facing the wall was a makeshift memorial to firefighters,their pictures in alphabetical order, and more letters. Ilooked for the names of three FDNY members that Iknow. When I couldn't find them I was relieved, andthen guilty for being glad that they were alive when somany of them were not. More tears.
Terrible sadness, and then a very real swelling ofpride - pride in being an American. Pride in being in thecompany of these heroic men.
The big debris piles at ground zero are pretty muchout, but there is unimaginable damage to buildings stillstanding. One in particular has a steel girder stickingout of one floor near the corner of the building about twentystories up. Like a spear. Another building is missing themiddle one of five vertical columns. Like the FederalBuilding in Oklahoma, one building had the facade stripped off. Office furniture, computers sitting on top of desks,chairs, all visible from the street.
As I visit with members of my task group I am overwhelmedwith their humility. We stand a variety of postswith State Troopers from numerous states, NYC Police andMTA Officers. We have both men and women, and withoutexception they are the finest, most noble people that I haveever served with. We are all of us changed, sometimes inunexpected ways. Over my years of military service I havealways been proud to be associated with such dedicatedand honor driven service members.
As I advanced in the military I found that visiting with "themen and women of my command" was important to do. Thisduty has brought me closer to them than I would haveimagined possible. We connect on a level of commonunderstanding. We see our own commitment in their eyes.It is different here. I linger with them as we listen for a signalthat it is okay to feel the way we do. And that it is okay tolaugh. And we laugh together, and I am grateful for thelaughter. Grateful and proud of them. Grateful that we havebeen so honored as to be here.
I am so proud to be an American.
Bruce H. Speller Captain, U.S. Naval Reserve (ret) Commander, Region III , New York Naval Militia JTF-42, Operation Rainbow Hope
By Spec. Kathleen A. Edgcomb 138th MPADBUFFALOWith Buffalo buried deep in snow, the New York Army National Guard's152nd Engineers of Buffalo were activated by Governor GeorgePataki December 27th to aid the city with its snow removal efforts.Buffalo's biggest winter storm hit over a five-day stretch of time and broke allrecords, said Mike Latella, meteorologist for Buffalo's WGRZ TV Channel 2 News.
"This was the first November on record without snow and this was our snowiestDecember on record...actually it was our snowiest month on record," said Latella.
The operation, called 'Western Flurry' by the 152nd Engineers, was not the firstof its kind for the unit. In the last 10 years, the Rainbow Division engineers wereactivated almost every year to help Buffalo dig out from winter storms, said MasterSgt. Peter M. Pilc, a combat engineer and battalion operations sergeant for the152nd Engineers, Connecticut Street Armory, Buffalo.
"We've been activated so many times it's old hat. We were activated [November2000] for that snow storm," said Pilc. "Two years ago we were activated five timesin one year."
"When these emergencies come up many soldiers call here before we get to callthem," said Pilc. "They know it's part of what to expect when they join the guard,and they want to help out."
For the recent record snowfall, heavy equipment and five-ton dump truckoperators were activated first to start clearing streets, said Pilc. As the stormworsened more soldiers were activated. More people such as cooks, medics andmore engineers were needed to support the 24-hour operation.
Snow removal sites were designated throughout the city and suburbs, said StaffSgt. Charles L. Perry, construction foreman, 152nd Engineers. National Guardsoldiers and city workers each had their own sectors for snow removal. Eachsector had one to two loaders and three to four dump trucks; this helped keep thesnow removal continuous, Perry added.
Perry, who supervised a snow removal site, felt there were more details this yearthan previous years. Normally the unit helps remove snow in one area, this yearwe removed snow all over the city and into Lackawanna and Blasdell, he said.
"Our job was to clear streets first then remove piles close to side walks so roadscould be widened," said Perry. "Our biggest challenge was trying to negotiate thestreets-many were choked with cars. We dug around them at first, though onsome streets we knocked on doors and asked people to move their cars. They cameout and moved their cars and after we removed the snow, they moved them back."
A National Guard liaison attached to the Erie County Emergency OperationsCenter relayed the needs of the city to the guard, said Pilc.
"The unit did an outstanding job," said Perry. "We maintained snow removal[operations] for about 11 days, 24 hours a day."
"Three days after we were activated [the E.O.C.] identified a need for four-wheeldrive vehicles," said Pilc. HMMWVs were used to transport people to hospitalsand other necessary destinations when they couldn't get there on their ownbecause of the snow.
When the storm started it was a matter of hours before the snow was up to ourwaists, said Perry. "There were times when you couldn't see," said Perry. "Itwasn't blizzard like conditions...just steady hard snow. In the end the airportregistered about 7 feet."
"This was your typical lake-effect snow storm," said Latella. "Some places therewas sunshine while others got buried with inches upon inches of snow."
The storm hit Buffalo hard because the lake was not frozen, said Latella. Thewarmer the lake the more lake-effect snow you will get. The bigger the differencein lake and air temperatures determines the effect of lake-effect snow, said Latella.Lake Erie was about 45 degrees and the air over the lake was 25 degrees, so Buffalo got slammed.
Considering the amount of snow Buffalo received, everyone did a great job atremoving it, said Latella. "A-plus for their efforts," said Latella.
About his recent activation, Perry said, "I enjoyed it. The activation gave us achance to do our job, and to give back to the city." If there was another stormPerry said he would gladly be there to help out.
Story by Staff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta 138th MPADBUFFALOWith praise for its leaders and soldiers, command of the 42dDivision's Third Brigade hasbeen passed from Col. Arnold H. Soeder toCol. Paul C. Genereux, Jr.
The change of command ceremony tookplace February 9, at Buffalo's Masten Armory,before assembled guests, select soldiersfrom brigade units, and speeches bySoeder, Genereux, and 42d Division DeputyCommander for ManeuverBrigadier GeneralJoseph Taluto.
Soeder described histhree-year commandof Third Brigade as aperiod of change forthe unit, even thoughwhen he took command,the brigade, thedivision, and most ofthe Army NationalGuard were strugglingto find their properplace in the nation'sdefense structure.
"The events of September11th changedall that," Soeder said,"but even before that,the brigade was movingin a new direction."
Soeder listed a series of successful missionsin this new direction, includingwarfighter exercises from Fort Leavenworthto Germany, opposing force missions atFort Irwin's National Training Center, and,most recently, ground zero-America's firstfrontline in its battle against terrorism.
"Through it all, what has impressed methe most is the professionalism and dedicationof our leadership , and the skill andcommitment of our solders," Soeder said.
Composed of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry,1st Battalion, 101st Cavalry, 1stBattalion, 127th Armor, 1st Battalion, 258thField Artillery, the 342d Forward SupportBattalion and the Brigade HeadquartersCompany, soldiers performed various missionsat ground zero-validating rescuers,keeping back crowds of onlookers, escortingdisplaced residents to their homes, anddetaining persons attempting to enter thesite. Early in the crisis, some brigade soldiersperformed the grisly task of removingrubble and bodies.
Third Brigade also commanded Task ForceSteel, the element teamed with NYPD tosecure city tunnels and bridges followingthe military actions in Afghanistan.
"Since September 11th, we have had some400 people or more on active duty everyday, protecting a variety of installationsand sites across the state," Soeder said."Relevance indeed has found the ArmyNational Guard."
A West Point graduate and bronze starwinner with 20 years of service, Soeder hasheld various command and staff positionsin addition to command of Third Brigade.Taluto gave Soeder high marks for training, strength maintenance, and command ofTask Force Steel.
"Arnie, I have been witnessto your great leadership abilityon many occasion,"Taluto said. "The effort youput into Task Force Steel wassimply outstanding. As commanderof Joint task Force 42during that period I was adirect recipient of your completecompetence as a fieldleader."
Taluto also expressed confidencein Genereux, tellingsoldiers that Genereux is "thebest commander the NewYork Army National Guardhas to offer."
"I have closely observedColonel Genereux over theyears," said Taluto, "and forthose of you that may not know his commandstyle, in a word, it is tenacious. He isa driven leader that gives one hundredpercent and accepts nothing less from thosehe has charge of."
With about 30 years of service, includingtime in the Army reserve, New York NationalGuard and Pennsylvania NationalGuard, Genereux's experience spans enlisted,command and staff positions in militaryskill fields from civil affairs to armor.
"Like Col. Soeder, Col. Genereux is a premiertrainer and outstanding strength manager,"Taluto said. "He was a dynamicbattalion commander with a demonstratedtactical and technical proficiency equaledby very few."
Genereux credited his riseto the commandof Third Brigade to the "guidance and supportof a host of people...mentors, subordinates,and family."
"I have been fortunate to work with forsome great commanders throughout mycareer," Genereux said. "The commandershave one thing in common-the ability toset high, realistic goals, and the confidenceto allow soldiers to use their initiative andresourcefulness to succeed. They will alwayssurprise you."
Story and photos by Maj. Richard Goldenberg HQ, 42nd ID (M)FORT DIX, NJFighting the nation's war on terrorism on two fronts,soldiers of the Rainbow Division's 1st Battalion, 69thInfantry Regiment recently deployed another detachmentfor federal service for Operation Noble Eagle.More than a dozen soldiers reported to their mobilizationsite at Fort Dix, N.J. on Valentine's Day, February 14th, toprepare for duties as security troops.
The deployment follows the mobilization of two companiesfrom the battalion last fall for augmentation to the U.S.Military Academy security mission at West Point while theremainder of the battalion returned to state active dutysupport for the World Trade Center recovery and securityoperations in Manhattan.
The mobilization of Detachment One from C Company willprovide additional soldiers for security at the Army'sLetterkenny Army Depot in Central Pennsylvania. Thesoldiers will augment members of the 1st Battalion, 115thInfantry Regiment, Maryland Army National Guard, alreadyon federal duty.
With hundreds of soldiers operating in either a state orfederal status, the "Fighting 69th" is fighting the nation'swar on terrorism on two fronts, as state or federal soldiers,but every member of the battalion recognizes the importanceof their role.
"After everything our guys have seen and done atground zero, we all understand the importance of missionslike this," said First Lt. Rafael Santiago, from the battalion'ssupply section, on hand at Fort Dix for premobilizationpreparations. "I'm intensely proud of what we've done,and even though it's not something we talk about, thoseexperiences are shared among everyone in the unit," hesaid.
The activity at Fort Dix for the mobilizing Army Guardsmenseems small in comparison to the battalion's mobilizationof more than two hundred troops last fall or thethousands of Guard and Reserve members to processthrough the mobilization stations on post.
"The big focus here is on personnel, logistics,and training" said Master Sgt. RichardBurnette, the mobilization unit assistantfrom the 2nd Battalion, 78th Training SupportBrigade (TSB). The TSB may be morefamiliar to the Fighting 69th for their trainingassistance at Fort Drum's maneuver areas,but now provides assistance teams to unitsprocessing through Fort Dix. Historically,the Army gave much less focus to mobilizationthan training. "September 11th changedall of that," said Burnette, referring to the 26different reserve units called to active duty.The C Company Detachment will be thethird such unit for Burnette to assist throughmobilization.
The TSB provides the full-time staffing forMobilization Assistance and provides unitliaisons for training and coordination duringthe entire mobilization process. Soldierswill process through administrativereviews of finances, records, medical screening,dental screening, equipment issues,and individual and collective training.
"Fort Dix has seen more than 2,600 troopsprocess through here for mobilization, includingthe Guard and Army Reserve" saidCarolee Nisbett, post public affairs officer.The soldiers and their units have gone onto deploy overseas to Afghanistan, toGuantanomo Bay, and to sites throughoutthe United States for Homeland Defense.
"After our experiences with the first groupof soldiers from the 69th Infantry, we havehigh expectations for this detachmentalready," said Capt.James Simpson, OperationsChief for the TSB.
What makes this mobilizationunique for the soldiers istheir diversity in skills. Whilethe call-up of both A and BCompanies last Novemberimpacted infantry soldiers,the detachment from C Companyincludes a multitude ofsoldiers who volunteeredfrom throughout the battalion."I have got riflemen, mortarmen, medics,a cook, and two mechanics here for themission," said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Metz, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the group."We've been together for a few weeks now,preparing for this deployment, so the guyshave had time to get to know each other."
Spec. Emilio Montalvo, a United ParcelService employee in New York City, sees themission as a natural extension of the group'sservice at ground zero. After helping withthe rescue efforts at the World Trade Center and securingthe city's bridges and tunnels, this is just the next logicalstep, he explained.
The Homeland Security mission has been unlike previousmobilizations for operations in the Balkans or even DesertShield/Desert Storm ten years ago, where combat supportand service support units were called up in their entirety."As long as they can pull security, one of their basic soldierskills, the Army will be happy," said Burnette.
The upcoming training for the Rainbow soldiers includesweapons qualification and an assortment of mobilizationtraining such as rules of engagement and all common tasksoldier skills.
"Once certified for deployment, these soldiers can expectto move out within three days to their security site," saidMr. Michael Premo, Chief of Operations and Plans for theFort Dix Mobilizing Unit Inprocessing Center (MUIC)."We make sure that every unit passing through Fort Dix isequipped and ready to accomplish the mission."
The detachment is expected to arrive at the LetterkennyDepot sometime in March.
Story and photos by Maj. Richard Goldenberg Guard Times StaffFORT DRUMAmidst the frenzy of security missions and mobilization of National Guard soldiers in NewYork, nearly 20 soldiers of the National Guard's 10thMountain Division Detachment quietly mobilized and deployedfor duty with the Army's famous light infantrydivision here at Fort Drum.
The journey to active duty for the detachment, based inRochester, was a rough one at best. "I called in to thedivision on September 12th, but it took nearly three monthsto identify the need for our mobilization to work all the wayup through channels," said Maj. Carl Deorner, executiveofficer for the detachment.
"The New York National Guard thought we were automaticallygoing with 10th Mountain and the 10th MountainDivision thought we were going to remain part of theNational Guard,"said Staff Sgt. Lorne Watson. "We justwanted to do something to participate after 9/11."More than a third of the detachment's soldiers servedwith Task Force Orion South, the 27th Brigade securitymission at the state's commercial airports in New York. "Iturned around in a few days after leaving LaGuardia Airportand repacked my bags for Fort Drum," said Sgt. SarahNather, an Intelligence Analyst now supporting thedivision's intelligence section.
Another third of the detachment were volunteers for thedetachment and the year-long mobilization. "I just cameback from a military school and figured this might be oneof the best ways to get overseas," said Spec. Peter Tubiolo,an infantry soldier adjusting to a support role in theoperations (G3) staff section. "I figure if there's any ticketthere it would be with the 10th Mountain Division," he said.
Alerted in December, mobilized in January and validatedfor federal service some two weeks later, the soldiers fromthe detachment focused less on overseas requirements."Most of the mobilization training revolves around theentire division in the field," said Lt. Col. Greg Gallop, thedetachment commander. "Well, we're not really doing that,we're backfilling positions at the headquarters. You haveto look at the mission. So we went ahead and focused onthose soldiers' skills any 10th Mountain Division soldierwould need: Individual weapons qualification, commontask training,and that's pretty much it," he said.
The soldiers reported to the division's acting Chief ofStaff and Operations Officer in mid-February. "What tookyou guys so long?" was all we heard when we got here, saidWatson. The detachment members were all incorporatedinto the 10th Mountain Division's staff, including positionsin the G3 Training, Plans and Operations cells, the intelligencesection and the Division Chemical section.
"Normally, we all work together as a section," commentedGallop. The unit is designed to support the division as aRear Operations Cell, or ROC. In previous exercises, thedetachment would provide battle staff support to thedivision rear command post. Comprised of a large numberof senior officers and non-commissioned officers, thegroup forms a battle-staff to assist running operations inthe division's rear area.
With the two infantry brigades from 10th Mountain deployed,one to Kosovo and the other to the Afghan theaterof war, the division's rear area battle is essentially still atFort Drum. "We've been filling in for primary staff vacanciesright here at the division headquarters," noted Gallop.
"With the upcoming missions the 10th Mountain is planningfor, the summer support to West Point, a Joint ReadinessTraining Center (JRTC) rotation, the redeploymentfrom Kosovo, and a trainup for a Warfighter Exercise, it stilllooks like business as usual for the 10th Mountain Division"said Gallop.
The mobilization was a challenge for the soldiers of thedetachment. "We have never done this before in garrison,"noted Doerner, a member of the unit since its first formationin the mid-1990s. "Our training with the 10th MountainDivision has always been in the field. We're all learning aswe go," he said.
"Since we've gotten here, we have really meshed in withthe division soldiers. Ultimately, you have to make the bestof it, no matter what," said Watson, a civic engineer in hisfull-time career. "I mean, who would believe that a traditionalNational Guard guy like myself would be working asan Operations Team Chief to help coordinate all NationalGuard training with the division? If you ask me, this isgreat," he commented.
"The only real tough part of any mobilization is theseparation from family and home," said Sgt. Paul Iverson,a middle school teacher.
"But you end up doing what you gotta do," addedWatson. "Deployments could be a lot worse than this."
Story and photos by Spec. Jacob Kinne 138th MPADGRAFENWOHR, GERMANYThe bravery and heroism displayedby soldiers like Sgt. Henry Johnsonduring WWI left the 369th TransportationBattalion a proud legacy to follow."He set standards not only for soldiers, butfor an entire race," explained Master Sgt.Antonio Sirvent, a member of the 369thsupporting the Warfighter exercise here inGrafenwohr, Germany in late January.
Sgt. Johnson courageously fought off anentire German Regiment while rescuing afellow soldier. In the process he received21 wounds, and would later be awarded thePurple Heart (see related story on page 22).
The unit itself was actually one of the firstblack regiments composed by the UnitedStates Army to be sent to France duringWWI. Even though they were not allowedto fight alongside fellow Americans, theFrench gladly accepted them. Because oftheir relentless and unyielding effortthroughout the course of the war, the 369thbecame known by the enemy as the "HarlemHellfighters," and paved the way for blacksand other minorities in the Armed Forces.
The history of the 369th is so significantthat the unit has established its own policy,mandating all new soldiers to research,study and show knowledge of the unit'sheritage before being allowed to wear itsinsignia. To help the newer soldiers succeedin the "right of passage," historylessons on the unit will be given by thebranch offices under the supervision of thebattalion commander.
"We will have to do someresearch about the unit andpresent it to the troops in anopen forum", said Maj. NormanEasy. The research and lessonswill be on certain keyindividuals and events, whichhave played an enormous rolein the history of the unit. "Nolonger will the faces on thewall be simply faces, we will gointo depth about the peopleand events they look at", heremitted about the exhibits andpictures that hang from thearmory walls in Harlem.
"It's a two way street", saidSgt. Bernard Kelly, the CommunicationsNCO for the 369th,"it provides a goal for newsoldiers to strive towards, butthen again it could make themfeel alienated for not achievingit", he continued.
Although some of the soldiersmay feel alienated for notbeing able to accomplish thetask, they are in good hands.The Hellfighters convey anoverwhelming sense of pridetowards their heritage, theguard, but more so to eachother. Their admiration for one anotheralso greatly evokes an attitude of success,similar to that of Sgt. Johnson in the FirstWorld War. "We cut no corners to get thejob done, and that ranges anywhere fromour uniform to our military courtesy," statedSpec. Richard Figueroa.
In the Warfighter exercise the Hellfightersare a subordinate combat service supportunit who are responsible for transportingand supplying the forward combat unitswith water, petroleum, oil, and lubricants(POL). The 369th came to Germany determinedas always to succeed with the missionat hand.
By 2d Lt. Matthew L. Wright 138th MPADGRAFENWOHR, GERMANYA recent adaptation of some military software iscurrently fielded for use in Homeland Defense. TheADOCS, or Automatic Deep Operations CoordinationSystem is a group of interconnected programs origniallydesigned for strategic target aquisition in the Pacific Theatre.As the system was continually developed, the potentialfor other applications was noticed.
The software application was utlilized by soldiers fromthe 53rd Troop Command during their Overseas DeploymentTraining (ODT) to Grafenwohr this past January.Gary O'Neilin, an application specialist with General Dynamics,discussed the ADOCS system and its adaptationfor Homeland Defense in a recent interview.
The ADOCS system was orginially developed for "strategictarget aquisition" shortly after the Gulf War. StrategicTarget Aquisition allows for potential air and groundtargets to be identified and acted upon rapidly using radar,satellite, and computer technology. ADOCS creator, Dr.Steven Levin, worked with the military to design a system thatwould allow commanders to see targets in the air and on theground in "real time" and then make adjustments to battlefieldsituations as they develop.
The system was initially fielded in Korea for various defenseapplications. As it was implemented, leaders began to noticethe potential for more widespread use and suggested to boththe military and ADOCS designers to explore other implementationarenas.
One of these arenas is the newly created Office of HomelandDefense. According to Mr. O'Neilin ADOCS is currently in theprocess of being adapted for use in defense of potentialterroist targets on U.S. soil. Although much is still in the"drawing board phase," Gary did give a brief overview of howADOCS could help protect the United States. Using theADOCS program, the Office of Homeland Defense would beable to construct an updatable database of these potentialterrorist targets. Some examples of these "prime targets" couldbe schools, powerplants, and buildings that contain Federaloffices.
By Sgt. Matthew Johnson Guard Times StaffNEWBURGHThe Tuskegee Airman's Association Major-GeneralIrene Trowell-Harris Chapter's fourth annual tuitionassistance dinner dance honored two black leadersfor their achievements in the face of adversity. RetiredMajor-General Irene Trowell-Harris, a former 105th AirliftWing Medical Clinic Commander and retired General Lloyd"Fig" Newton, the first black Thunderbird pilot, were theassociation's guest speakers.
Believing that "discrimination and adversity are steppingstones rather than obstacles"Irene Harris vowed that oneday she would work and teachon an airplane. From humblebeginnings in rural SouthCarolina she was helped onher journey with money donatedby her church and highschool. She went to nursingschool and eventually joinedthe Air Force. As part of anaeromedical evacuation flightcrew, she was once refusedservice at a fast food restaurant."The entire crew walkedout of the restaurant, in supportof me. Although it wasupsetting, it made me moredetermined to succeed andmentor others to success,"said Harris of the experience,adding "I encourage peoplenot to allow their past experiences to impede their future,but to join the palace of success, not the prison of failure."
Although proud of her achievements, her greatest pleasurein life is helping others reach their potential. "You musttake stock in the human potential stock market. When youmentor, you build bridges for others to pass over," exclaimedHarris.
Major General Harris retired from the National Guard in2001 and is currently the Director of the Veterans' Affair'sCenter for Women Veterans.
"There is nothing magical about success. It'snot about where you come from or how youstarted or even about where you are now. It'sabout where you are going and how you'regoing to get there"
Another South Carolina native, General Lloyd Newtonalso grew up surrounded by segregation and the lack ofpossibilities for black Americans. Demonstrations weretaking place on installations around the country when hejoined the Air Force in 1966. "The armed forces are justanother reflection of our society. Not only did the movementhave an impact on the armed forces but in a positiveway the nation" said General Newton.
"My parents had a significant role in helping me developthe ability to deal with these kind of issues. They taught methat if someone did something against you, hold it againstthat individual, not the group."
Newton flew over 4,000 hours inthe Air Force and more than 260combat missions in South Vietnambefore being selected for the eliteThunderbirds, his life's dream."There is nothing magical aboutsuccess. It's not about where youcome from or how you started oreven about where you are now. It'sabout where you are going andhow you're going to get there andmaking the sacrifice tomake it happen," saidNewton. "There is noexcuse for not beingsuccessful in today'smilitary. If you putyour mind to it, youcan be successful inlife as well. I will notaccept color as a reasonfor not being successful."
General Newton retiredfrom the Air Forceafter 30 years of serviceand is now theVice President of MilitaryInternational Programsand BusinessDevelopment at Pratt& Whitney in EastHartford, Conn.
By Maj. Bob Bullock Guard Times StaffLATHAMMajor Wendell Garlic, director of militarypersonnel for Headquarters NYANG,was recently honored as the Division of Militaryand Naval Affairs' (DMNA) outstanding African Americanemployee for the 2002 state celebration of Black HistoryMonth. Formal recognition of Garlic and other state agencyselectees was made by Governor George E. Pataki in officialceremonies at the New York State Museum on February 5.
Maj. Garlic was an outstanding selection torepresent this agency. Since beginning hisassignment in New York, the NY Air NationalGuard has exceeded virtually all standards ofpersonnel performance."
This is not the first recognition for this young officer.Since his initial assignment to the Division of Military andNaval Affairs (DMNA) in 1999, Major Garlic has beenrecognized repeatedly for outstanding service to the NewYork Air National Guard and the United States Air Force.Garlic came to the New York Air National Guard aftercompleting assignments at the National Guard Bureau andwith deployed U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia.In addition to his work at DMNA, Garlic has been extremelyactive within the local community. As a volunteerfor the Twin Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America,he has been named to chair two Scout Jamborees which, intotal, involved more than 5,000 Scouts and adult leadersfrom throughout upstate New York.
"Maj Garlic was an outstanding selection to representthis agency," stated Major General Thomas P. Maguire, Jr.,the Adjutant General. Since beginning his assignment inNew York, the NY Air National Guard has exceeded virtuallyall standards of personnel performance."
In addition, his work within the community involvingyouth is testimony to his commitment to improving thelives of others. I commend the major and all those whoreceived this special recognition for their dedication toservice to the state and society overall," he said.
by Staff Sgt. Amy Parr Air Force Print NewsWASHINGTON, DCRescinding the announcement made Sept. 21,Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force chief of staff, isonce again authorizing the wear of military uniformsfor people traveling aboard commercial aircraft.
While the original announcement was a force protectionmeasure directly related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks onNew York and the Pentagon, Lt. Col. Bruce Lovely, AirForce quality of life and uniform board chief, said rescindingthe policy is just another step in returning to normal."Wearing the uniform on commercial flights by Air Forcesenior leadership shows that the Air Force is resumingnormal day-to-day activities, while increasing our visibilityto the American public," he said. "Thereby, (we) give thepublic a sense of pride and confidence."
Wear of the uniform is not mandatory, but highly encouragedfor all colonels and above and chief master sergeantson duty-related travel in the continental U.S.
For more information on wear of the uniform on commercialflights, refer to Table 1.3 in Air Force Instruction 36-2903,Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel.
By Master Sgt. Rick Burnham Air Force Print NewsSteve Arrigotti thinks her name was Julie, but he is notconvinced that is the case. He is fairly confident thatshe is an African-American, although, because herbody was covered with ash and soot, he is not certain.Because of her clothing - yellow shorts and a half T-shirt- he thinks she was a tourist. But he can not say for sure.But the face ... he will never forget the face.
One week after horrific terrorist attacks killed thousandsin New York Washington, and Pennsylvania, Arrigotti, anAir National Guard master sergeant assigned to Francis S.Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., spoke ofthe young woman he helped pull alive from the debris of theWorld Trade Center twin towers.
Hers, he said, was a face full of shock and grief, but a facefull of life.
"Her body was completely covered in soot, and as it turnsout, there was not a scratch on her," said Arrigotti, apararescuman from the 106th Rescue Wing. "But her eyeswere completely swollen shut from the heavy smoke andsoot. Obviously, she was in shock, but she was alive."
The rescue, one of only five successful extractions confirmedas of Sept. 19, came justa day after the attack, whenNew York officials were justbeginning to assess the fullimpact of the destruction.
"We sent two nine-personteams," he said. "The originalintent was to have one unitwork north of the 'ground zero'area and the other one south.We arrived in the city around 9p.m. (EDT) the day of the attacks."
But, upon arrival, the grouplearned that because so manyfirefighters and policemen hadbeen lost when the towers collapsed,the command and controlelement of the rescue operationwas greatly affected.And many of the rescue workerswere also trying to dig theircomrades out from the debrison the roads leading to thetowers.
"The first evening, there wasnot a lot of attention given totrade towers themselves," Arrigotti said. "Most of thesearch effort was on the west highway in front of the TradeCenter Towers. When the towers came down, there were alot of rescue vehicles on the street below. So when wearrived, many of the firefighters and police were desperatelytrying to dig their people out."
The next morning, however, the teams made their way to"ground zero," where they were directed to points bothsouth and north of the debris. Arrigotti, along with MasterSgts. Robert Marx, Kevin Kelly and Jimmy Dougherty, wereamong those assigned to work the south area.
By that time, he said, the fire had been knocked down toa point where they could get much closer to the debris. Asthey got closer, they immediately noticed there were many"cavities" which appeared capable of holding survivors.But that was not all they found.
"There were a lot of bodies near the debris field,"he said.
"We took it upon ourselves to get right up into thebuilding, climbing into the second and third floors- which were probably like the 80th or 90th floorswhen the buildings were standing," he said. "As wedid that, it got the attention of many of thefirefighters, who intuitively wanted to follow us."
And that's when they heard her voice.
"She was calling out for help, and I had to looktwice to make sure I was not imagining what I wasseeing," he said. "There was a live person in there."
It took a short time for the workers to get to theyoung woman - several large pieces of metal hadto be cut away before they could get her out. But assoon as that was accomplished, the workers formeda human chain to move her out of the debris and tomedical technicians standing by. Arrigotti said hehad a brief opportunity to talk to her before she waspulled out.
"She never said what floor she had been on whenthe building collapsed ... only that she was with agroup of about 15 people touring the trade centers,"he said. "Unfortunately, we never found any of thosepeople."
What the team did find, shortly after helping to rescue thewoman, was a stairwell that contained the bodies of severalfirefighters. His voice filled with emotion, Arrigotti describedthe scene after leading a local fire chief into thedebris to identify his fallen comrades.
"Their bodies were completely intact, and their chief hada very difficult and emotional time with it," he said. "It wasextremely emotional ... very sad."
The memories of that scene will haunt him forever, he said,as will the images of the planes hitting the towers and theirsubsequent collapse.
But, he said, there were also good memories.
Although he never saw her again, he is confident "Julie"has survived her ordeal. And the support his unit receivedfrom others around the country was overwhelming.
"We in pararescue are kind of a brotherhood," he said."We only have about 300 people, but we're all close. So itwas no surprise that we received calls from units all overthe country with offers to help out. Everyone, from Floridato California to Alaska, wanted to get here and help. It's thekind of support you expect from not only pararescue andAir Force members, but from Americans in general. Theyjust wanted to help."
By 1st Lt. Lawrence Wood and Tech. Sgt. Trish Pullar HQ, 105th Airlift WingNEWBURGHAs they landed in the dark of the night on anairstrip somewhere in Pakistan in support of"Operation Enduring Freedom," the 13 membersof the 105th's Squad 1, Security Forces Squadron (SFS), saidthey weren't sure what to expect.
The team, led by 105th SFS member Master Sgt. Mike Ryan,was attached to the 723rd Tanker Airlift Command Element(TALCE) out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The TALCEunit, which was responsible for coordinating airflow forfollow-on forces, deployed into an area being held by aMarine expeditionary unit. The TALCE supported the"hand-off" of the location from the Marines to members ofthe 101st Airborne Division's "Screaming Eagles." The jobof Squad 1 was to provide air base security during thattransition.
"This was the first time that our squadron has deployedanyone in a war-time tasking," said Tech. Sgt. DavidPritchard, a 105th SFS fire team leader who returned homewith the rest of the deployed squad on Feb. 4. "All we knewwas that we were going into a forward operating location.We received about a 10-minute briefing from the Marinesand then we started doing our job."
Their job involved various taskings such as protectingAir Force resources and personnel and manning air basedefensive firing positions in an austere, desert environment.Temperatures ranged from the mid-70s during theday to plunging below freezing at night. The squad livedin a 14-person tent, each member afforded about a sixsquare-foot space in which to throw a sleeping bag anduniform items. Breakfast, lunch and dinner consisted ofMeals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs).
The conditions were not new to the team-they've trainedin similar situations during their "Silver Flag" desert warfareexercises in Nevada-but this time it wasn't an exercise.
"We were expected to know what to do and step into it,"said Pritchard. "The experiences we've had as a squadron-like our 'Silver Flag' and other training that we'vedone together-played a big part in making the transitioneasier," Pritchard said.
Not only did the team adapt themselves physically to thedesert environment, but the experience also gave them awhole new perspective on the future of military operations."We've lived and trained with the concept of deploying toa built-up base and having time to transition into a deployedenvironment. This experience really gave us someinsight into how much this idea has changed. All the oldmindsets went out the window from the moment we touchedthe ground," said Pritchard.
"In the past, we didn't expect to go to a bare base in themiddle of the desert and fend for ourselves. Conditions inthe desert required us to take care of our equipment and ourselves differently. We had to create a routine to help makesure people maintain themselves, their gear, and theiruniforms because what you have is what you have. Therewas no one there to re-supply us and we didn't know howlong we would be there," he said.
The 105th SFS members worked alongside other active,Guard and Reserve members from the Air Force, Army andMarine Corps. Inter-service cooperation was a must for thedeployed members. Squad 1 team leader, Master Sgt. MikeRyan said, "It was a great experience working with oursister services. We all knew what had to get done and weall just worked toward that goal."
Staff Sergeant Fred Lamey agreed, saying, "We were ata 'bare bones' base living under spartan conditions, but itwas amazing to see what we could accomplish as a team."Though the team faced hardships while deployed, manySquad 1 members said the overall experience was positive.For Staff Sgt. Jason Skonberg, the mission helped healsome wounds inflicted by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
"I didn't know what to expect when we left Stewart but itturned out to be a good experience. I think in some waysit helped to give me some measure of closure about the lossof Jerome Dominguez," he said. (Staff Sgt. JeromeDominguez, a member of the 105th SFS and fulltime memberof the New York Police Department, was lost after respondingto the World Trade Center attacks).
For other deployed members, their experience was avaluable training tool. "The experience from being in thatsituation is an asset for the unit because now we can talkwith other units who may deploy in the future and betterprepare them on what to expect," said Pritchard.
The members of Squad 1 returned on a Stewart C-5 andwere greeted on the flight line by members of their squadronand other 105th members. Also greeting the group wasColonel Dana B. Demand, 105th Airlift Wing commander,who told them, "I'm most impressed with not only what youdid, but how you did it. You maintained a 'can-do' attitudeand worked together as a team to get the job done."
Also hitching a ride onboard the 105th C-5, enroute to hishome state of Oklahoma, was the forward operatinglocation's Air Detachment Commander, Lt. Col. DannPettit, a member of the 137th Airlift Wing, based out ofTinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.
"Your cops are the best I've ever seen in this businessand I've been doing this for 22 years," said Pettit, who isa fulltime contracting officer at Tinker. "Your guys wereout there all night in blackout conditions in a combat AOR(area of responsibility). They did an outstanding job. I amproud to have been associated with them."
With this mission behind them, SFS members acknowledgedthat part of what made their job easier was theknowledge that their families were supported back home."I can't thank everyone enough for everything they didfor my family while I was deployed," said Staff Sgt. PhilFredenburg.
Staff Sgt. Dan Murphy added, "The support my wifereceived from the 105th was just as good as what shereceived while I was on active duty and they had someonededicated fulltime to look after the families."
"The base and squadron placed a high priority on keepingour families informed which made it easier for us to stayfocused on the mission," said Pritchard, who was happy tosee his six-year-old daughter the day he returned. "It wasthe greatest feeling in the world to come home. I think evenmore so now because the longer we're home and settled in,I think we realize how much we did in the short time thereand how much people appreciated it."
"It was the experience of a lifetime. I think the opinion ofthe 13 of us is the same-we're just glad to have donesomething, to be part of this war on terror. It felt better tobe able to take part in 'Operation Enduring Freedom' andI think that just about every one of us would go againtomorrow if asked," he said.
While happy to have the members of Squad 1 and otherdeployed SFS members safely back at Stewart, Demandadded that the 105th still has unit members deployed overseasand 137th aircrew members who continue to fly missions."This may not be the last deployment that membersof the Wing will participate in as 'Operation EnduringFreedom' continues," he said.
By Tech. Sgt. Pat Pullar HQ, 105th Airlift Wing NEWBURGHThe Valentine read, "Roses are red, violets areblue, the armed service is nice, and so are you.Thank you for fighting in 'The War forFreedom,'" from Ashley Ramsey, a 2nd Grade studentat Lee Road Elementary School in Cornwall, New York.This and about 1,000 other "heart" felt Valentinesentiments, were brought to Stewart Feb. 8 by Ashley and other students who wanted to show their supportto troops overseas.
The Valentines were transported to Europe a fewdays later via a Stewart C-5 where some were distributedto soldiers in Europe and others, hopefully, totroops in more remote locations worldwide.
The cards were handmade by the Lee Road ElementarySchool students and collected by Leslie Gordnier,whose daughter, Alexandra, is a second grader at theCornwall school. Leslie came up with the idea onenight while saying grace with her family at the dinnertable. "I wanted to find a way to remember those whoare defending our nation," said Gordnier, whose aunt,Staff Sgt. Sandy Morina, was a 105th Logistics Squadron NCO. Morina passed away last July.
Gordnier decided that Valentine's Day would be agreat time for her and the Cornwall students to expressthose sentiments. Having visited her aunt at Stewartmany times, Gordnier decided to contact the 105thabout transporting the cards overseas. Col. Dana B.Demand, 105th Airlift Wing commander, impressedwith the children's sense of patriotism and caring,arranged for a 137th aircrew to carry one, copier-papersizebox of cards onboard a mission to Germany, asanother crew had done in December with holiday cardsfrom local children.
"We will send these Valentines to Europe and around theworld to remote places where the luxuries of life are notreadily available," he told a small group of students whopresented him with the cards at Stewart. "When soldiersgo out on duty in a distant land it's nice to have somethingto read that will brighten your day and make you feel proudof your work," said Demand.
Members of the Security Forces Squadron's Squad 1,who just returned from a deployment to Pakistan, alsovisited with the children to express their appreciation oftheir work.
"It really made it worthwhile to meet the securitypolicemen who took the time to come talk to us and let usknow that they appreciate the thoughts, letters and cardsfrom the children,"Gordnier said. "Thatwas what we reallywanted...to make a differenceand let our fellow Americans know we appreciatewhat they are doing for us, and that we care about them.They are not forgotten. What all of you do at Stewart isnot forgotten either. I know being out of the country, awayfrom your family is a terrible hardship emotionally, physicallyand financially. It was so worth it for us just to knowthat we are able to give someone something to smile about,"she said.
"Roses are red, violets are blue, the armedservice is nice, and so are you. Thank youfor fighting in 'The War for Freedom'"
Her daughter, Alexandra, said she too wanted to be ofcomfort to deployed troops. "I just wanted to say that Iknow it must be hard to be away from home and family,thank you for being heroes," she said.
Fifth grader Katie Krieger echoed those thoughts, "They(American troops) are so far away from home, I thought itwould be nice if I could try to make them feel happy andloved," she said.
Patricia Hershberger, a second grade teacher accompanyingthe group, said the project also helped to teachstudents about "integrity, friendship and personal growth.""In class, we try to teach life skills such as going beyondbeing self-centered and relating the world and other humanbeings," she said.
Hershberger is acutely aware of the challenges facingthose overseas. Her husband is member of the armedforces. "I know how it feels to stand beside someone whois far away from home, trying to keep his family safe byrisking his own life," she said.
By Staff Sgt. A.J. Bosker Air Force Print NewsWASHINGTON, DCBy law, only Guard and Reserve people whoare involuntarily called to active duty typically receive the broadest re-employmentprotection.
Now those same protections are being extendedto Air Guard people who voluntarily returned toactive duty to support Operations EnduringFreedom and Noble Eagle.
"Among other rights, the law - the 'UniformedServices Employment and Reemployment RightsAct of 1994' - provides re-employment rights fora cumulative period of up to five years of activedutyservice away from a civilian employer," saidCol. Ray Knapp, a personnel reserve advisor atthe Pentagon.
"When you are involuntarily recalled, the (fiveyear)clock stops ticking," Knapp said. "However,the clock does not automatically stop for thosewho volunteer for duty, even during a nationalemergency. Once they accumulate a total of fiveyears of voluntary service, their employer is notrequired by law to hire them back."
This difference in the law was not meant to harmthe Guard or Reserve person who wanted tovolunteer, he said. It was designed with theemployer in mind.
The law allows for an exemption to the five-yearclock for periods of active duty during a war ornational emergency declared by the president orCongress, Knapp said.
"It permits the individual service secretaries todetermine, for a particular situation, that some ina volunteer status may also receive the sameexemption as nonvolunteers," he said. "Withover 9,000 volunteers coming on active duty since9/11, the Air Force has decided to do this."
Air National Guard members eligible for thisexemption will have a statement indicated on theiractive-duty orders. For those who received ordersbetween Sept. 14 and Dec. 31, this statement willappear on their separation documents.
By Staff Sgt. Corine Lombardo HQ, 42d ID (M)West Point, NYThese days the hundreds of daily visitors arriving at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are more than likelyto be stopped and searched for weapons,bombs or other suspicious materials bymembers of the New York Army NationalGuard than they are by regular military police.
With America's military forces flexed in thewar against terrorism, a myriad of installations,bridges and tunnels need protectionagainst possible attack. The Military Academyat West Point is one such place andcitizen-soldiers from the Manhattan-based1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, 42nd "Rainbow"Division can be seen patrolling, inspectingcar trunks and checking identification.
"The speed and professionalism in whichthe 69th took on this mission was remarkable"said Major Charlie Rumrill, West Point USMAInstallation Security Officer, adding, "theyhave been providing outstanding supportto the Academy. Weare grateful for theirefforts."
It is especially importantto the MilitaryAcademy tohave the extra securityhelp this year asWest Point preparesto host activities celebrating200 years ofservice producingthe Army's leaders.
Less than a month after returning from their annualtraining last August, members of the 69th found themselveson duty again, this time in the streets of lower Manhattan,helping their heroic fellow New Yorkers dig through therubble of the World Trade Center. The only combat armsunit located on the island of Manhattan, the 1-69th Infantryprovided part of the first organized military response to theattack on the twin towers.
Within two hours of the collapse, the unit's medics begantreating wounded at the disaster site and the following daybattalion soldiers took control of daytime physical securityat the disaster site. Accomplishing dozens of additionalmissions to aid the civil authorities working there, perhapsthe most important mission was to find two of their fallencomrades. First Lieutenant Gerard Baptiste, 30, a firefighterat Ladder 9 from lower Manhattan, was an officer in AlphaCompany and Specialist Thomas E. Jurgens, 26, a courtofficer in downtown Manhattan, had served as a medic inBravo Company.
Both citizen-soldiers rushed to the scene and were killedtrying to help victims of the terror attacks.
Soldiers like Specialist Carlos Leon of Company A inJackson Heights, was at Ground Zero on September 12th andhas been on duty ever since. "Being away from my job andmy family is tough, but the unit does everything they canto make sure we get some time off" said Leon, a securityofficer for a private employer. Soldiers average about 3days off during each ten-day duty cycle and missionpermitting, they get a chance to go home on pass duringthose days. "It's all worth while, I joined the Guard todefend my state and country. I will do whatever they askto make sure I am a part of what keeps our citizens safe foras long as it takes" he added.
From the checkpoints at Ground Zero, Leon and the 69thbegan guarding bridges and tunnels throughout the City.When the 42nd Infantry Division entrusted command of theGuard's Ground Zero mission to the 1st Battalion, 101st
Cavalry, members of the "Fighting Sixty-Ninth" experiencedyet another change. While many in the battalioncontinue to protect the train stations, bridges and tunnelsin NYC, Alpha and Bravo companies were called up for a sixto 24 month federal activation in support of OperationNoble Eagle and will be guarding West Point through midApril as a minimum.
Major General George Garrett, 42nd Infantry DivisionCommander stated that "the National Guard leadershipcould not have picked a better unit than the soldiers of the69th Infantry to represent the 42nd Infantry Division in thiscontinued security response mission."
"Not only have we been successful in our federal missionhere at the Academy," said First Lt. Sean Flynn, AlphaCompany commander for the federal mobilization, "we'vebeen able to take full advantage of the training facilities hereat West Point and perform unit training otherwise unavailableto us in a routine Guard year."
According to Andrea Hamburger, USMA Public AffairsOfficer, "we are currently celebrating our bicentennial.Without the support of the National Guard, thousands ofAmerica's citizens would not have the opportunity to tourand learn about a very significant part of our military'shistory."
The Fighting 69th celebrated its 150 year anniversary lastOctober. On March 16th this year the Battalion will continuethe tradition as lead in the New York City's St. Patrick's DayParade although virtually all of the battalion's soldier's willbe away performing their homeland defense.
Commentary by Rear Adm. Robert A. Rosen Commander, NY Naval MilitiaLATHAMShortly after the catastrophic events of the morning ofSeptember 11th, 2001, the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) was fully activated, followed bythe activation of the Division of Military and Naval AffairsJoint Operations Center to mobilize the New York NationalGuard. Trained New York Naval Militia personnel promptlymanned the Naval Militia work desk and began placingmembers on standby for State Active Duty (SAD).
Within the first 24 hours, requests for Naval Militiapersonnel to support the State Emergency ManagementOffice logistics and administrative duties were filled withtrained storekeepers, yoeman and information technicians.Other Naval Militia personnel were activated to support theDivision of Military and Naval Affairs' overwhelmed contractsand purchasing department, and Naval Militia payrollspecialists were also activated to assist the Payroll Department.
As security requirements were analyzed, the Marineswere called in. Members of the Naval Militia's 2d Battalion,25th Marines from Albany and Garden City as well asMarines from the Communications Battalion in Amityvilleand Brooklyn and 8th Tank Battalion in Rochester andSyracuse deployed to assist in the National Guard securitymission in New York City.
Naval Militia Seabees also deployed for and assisted inconstructing a tent city in Battery Park for support ofsecurity missions. The Navy Hospital Ship Comfort providedbilleting to our National Guardand Naval Militia personnel.
The NYNM's close relationship withthe Coast Guard was also called uponto obtain housing and facilities onGovernor's Island. Volunteer NYNMConstruction Battalions ("SeaBees")were called to renovate the living quartersthat were "mothballed" and neglectedsince the Coast Guard movedto Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island.Within a week, the CB's repairedplumbing and electrical heating andmade mess halls operational. NYNMMembers from Cargo Handling Battalionswere activated to open a warehouse,receive, organize, store and shipthe hundreds of tons of materials andsupplies that were donated by personneland organizations throughout thecountry. Experienced and trainedNYNM Administrative Personnel weredispatched to NYC Office of EmergencyManagement (OEM) to assistthe city in organizing relief efforts andcoordinating emergency operations.
As the numbers of all Military Personnelgrew, Naval Militia Doctors, Nurses, PA's andCorpsmen were required to support the medical needs ofthe troops. Chaplains were alsoactivated to provide Spiritual andCISM (Critical Incident StressManagement) support for theTroops.
A concern for security ofNuclear Power Plants created anothervital Naval Militia Mission.Sailors were also assigned to aBuoy Tender in the Hudson Riverto provide security from aHudson River approach to theIndian Point Power Plant. ArmedArmy National Guard soldierson the Buoy Tender servedalongside their crew of NYNMpersonnel.
We are very proud of all thewonderful accomplishments ofour Naval Militia this year, particularlythe extraordinary servicerendered by our members aspart of the overall National Guardeffort. Our Naval Militia had approximately450 personnel volunteerfor active New York Stateservice. This represented morethan 9,500 man-days. These volunteers were from allbranches, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and RetiredVolunteer Corps. Their professionalism, care, "can do"spirit, leadership and contributions were outstanding andappreciated by all. These efforts were in many instancesresponsible for assisting the City of New York and otherparts of the state, not only in adding to security, safety andlogistics but also in immediately restoring public confidence,infrastructure and rescue efforts.
In more than forty-years of military service, I can not recallanother instance when I was more proud of the people Iserved with. Our active professional participation continuesand will continue as long as needed. Our personnelhave integrated with all the other State Military Forces ina seamless effort to protect and assist the people of NewYork. They are very much a part of the command structurehandled by their Army National Guard partners.
Rear Adm. Robert A. Rosen
The New York Naval Militia deeply mournsthe tragic, sad and untimely deaths of ourShipmates killed in the World Trade Centerterrorist attacks:
Lance Cpl. Sean Tallon, 2d Battalion, 25thMarines, Garden City (New York City Fireman);Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Garvey, ourMarine Corps Point of Contact, Amityville(New York City Fireman); and Port SecuritySecond Class Vincent Danz, Coast GuardActivities Ft. Wadsworth (New York CityPolice Department).
Story and photos by Maj. Willard F. Lochridge, IV Commander, NY Naval Militia Naval ForcesTask Force Orion SouthPEEKSKILLIt is 4:30 a.m. on December 30, 2001 andNew York Naval Militia (NYNM) Boat-14 is rounding the outer harbor light, asmall flashing white light situated a top thebreakwater that leads into the Charles PointMarina in Peekskill, N.Y. At times this lightis difficult to detect because of fog orbackground illumination from shore. However,this morning it is clear, crisp and cold- below 20 degrees - with a steady 15-knotwind coming out of the SSW.
Seaman Jerry Goldfus, who is from EastOtto, is at the helm. He smartly maneuversthe twin-engine 27' Fire/Police boat up tothe fuel dock. Goldfus has a magic touch.Some suppose, he has an affair going withBoat-14 because she will immediately startfor him no matter how cold the temperatureis outside. Chief Construction MechanicWilliam Palmer, from Walden, handles thelines and secures the boat.
On shore, the new boat crew consisting ofSenior Chief Equipment Operator MikeClark, from Albany, Builder Third ClassJohn Korinis, from Bethpage, ConstructionMechanic First Class Marty Timperio,from Kingston, and Boat Captain ChiefWarrant Officer Phil Slominski who hailsfrom Liverpool, move down the gangway.Also joining Slominski's crew are armedsoldiers from the New York Army NationalGuard's 27th Infantry Brigade who will spendtheir watch with us as "gunners" aboardthe NYNM Cutter Privateer 46302.
The Cutter Privateer 46302 and Boat-14are the first vessels to be operated byNYNM since the early days of WWII. Whenthe mission came down from DMNA toprovide waterborne security to the IndianPoint Nuclear Plant, the NYNM, under theCommand of Rear Adm. Robert A. Rosen,scrambled to find support ships. The StateUniversity of New York (SUNY) MaritimeAcademy assigned the Cutter Privateer,and the Town of Ossining's Fire Departmentprovided us with Boat-14.
With ships in hand, each one was independentlybrought up the Hudson River toassume station, and to join up with NYNMcrews. Earlier, word had spread swiftlyacross the State for a "Call" for crewmen.Thanks to the efforts of Cdr. Steven G. Biro,Storekeeper Seaman Adrienne Daniels,Chief Warrant Officer Pat McCoy, and StorekeeperFirst Class Melody Solyian namesrolled in, and quickly filled our ranks.
They came from New York, Vermont, NewJersey, and as far away as Maryland. Manyof our first crewmembers came from Buffaloand the surrounding area - perhaps, inanticipation of escaping the impendingsnow season, and the desire to enjoy thewarmth and hospitality of southern NewYork. In any event, crews materialized - allwere volunteers.
Solminski, his crewmen, and soldiers arenow onboard Boat-14. Underway and comingaround Indian Point, we experiencewind effects on the river. Short choppywaves cause spray to fly over the bow. Inmoments the decks and windshield are castin ice. The wipers provide small open patcheson the windshield - just enough to allow thehelmsman to see out and steer by.
Outside the pilothouse the crew feels thefull effect of the weather. Kitty litter - yes,kitty litter - is spread over the aft-deck tohelp keep the crew and soldiers from slippingon ice that is building up.
With SUNY Maritime support, particularlyfrom Anthony Palmetti, and supportfrom the USCG Cutter Wire, the NYNMcrews spent the first two days of Novembertotally immersed in ship training andhandling. Safety drills such as man-overboard, fire fighting and emergency evacuationprocedures were conducted. Watchstandards were set and put into operation.A fixed mooring and buoy were placed outbeyond the main shipping channel, whichallows refuge from heavy seas in times ofinclement weather.
By the night of November third, we wereready to take over mission responsibility.The Privateer was under the command ofLt. Allen Loeffler, from Brentwood - theship's first Boat Captain. The ship's firstcrew that night was Boatswain's MateSeaman Stacey Brown, from Niagara Falls,and Seaman Dawn Burgess, from Buffalo.
The USCG Cutter Wire paid its respectsas it weighed anchor and headed south onnew assignment. They informed us thatanother cutter, the Cutter Line, would steamup the following morning to spend a fewdays on station with us before it too woulddepart. Also among our small flotilla wereboats from the NY State Police, OrangeCounty Marine PD, NY Park Service andUSCG Auxiliary unit out of Ossining, underthe command of Capt. James Dipelesi.
Dipelesi is a veteran of WWII, first withthe Merchant Marine during Atlantic conveycrossings, and then with the US Navyaboard a cruiser in the Pacific. Somewhereduring those adventures he was awardedthe Purple Heart. His USCG Auxiliary unitis to be particularly praised for their tirelessriver patrol support and for bringing suppliesto our crews. When other units had towithdraw to their respective harbors forwinter, his unit stayed with us up untilChristmas Eve where once again they bestowedupon us a surprise shipment ofHoliday goodies before departing to portto put their vessel up for a well-deservedwinter's rest.
Boat-14 pulls along side Privateer. Linesare thrown and made secure. More kittylitter is spread on the starboard side beforetransferring crew and soldiers over. Outside,on the aft-deck of the Privateer, theold crew and army guards are assembledready to depart ship. But before that happens,Boat Captain Slominski meets withoutgoing Boat Captain Lt. Chris Walsh,from Patterson, to review any important"pass along" information.
As all of us, who have spent time at seaknow that running a ship - no matter howlarge or small - requires constant attention:safety equipment is inspected, lineschecked, main engines attended to, batteriesmonitored, sea cocks and bilge pumpsexamined, electronic navigational equipmentscanned for problems, electrical systemstested and the list goes on. While wehave had our share of problems, fortunatelyour crews have been able to overcomethem. Every one of our sailors fromcooks to engineers work hard to keep theboats in operational readiness at all times.
The change of crews is completed as theoutgoing crew climbs down into boardBoat-14. Boat Captain Slominski and hiscrew begin to go over the daily "CrewActivity Check List". The list includes:reviewing the Rules of Engagement (ROE),conducting a man overboard drill, a fire andevacuation drill, a personnel injury drill,and a series of ship inspections. Slominskiand his crew will spend the next 24-hoursaboard until 0500 tomorrow. At that time,Boat Captain Lt. Cdr. Brain Fuller from NewHide Park and crewmembers Chief ConstructionElectrician Ray Abbott, fromSchuylerville, Ships Serviceman Third ClassDavid Burke from Queensbury, StorekeeperSeaman Chris Espinosa from Rahway, NJ,and Mess Specialist Second Class ElizabethGyori, from Dorset, VT, will replaceSlominski and his crew.For now, our small band of shipmatesremains on station. As the days and nightsbecome colder these crews and soldierscontinue their vigil and support to theircommunities, their state, and their nation.
Army News ServiceSCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, ILThe 2002 Defense AuthorizationAct now allows official travelers to accept promotional items, including frequentflier miles, and use them for personal travel.
According to the new law "any promotional items throughofficial travel belong to the traveler," said Dwight Moore,staff attorney at the U.S. Transportation Command(TRANSCOM) and a principle writer of the proposal.
Moore explained that frequent-traveler benefits includepoints or miles, upgrades, or access to carrier clubs.One stipulation in the law is that government travelerscannot accept special promotional items that are not availableto the general public.
Local travel offices can provide more information on thenew law, Moore said.
Guard Times StaffMORRISONVILLEAn infantryman from the Army NationalGuard's 27th Infantry Brigade receivedthe state's highest military honor for savingan accident victim's life.
Sgt. Matthew Golovach of Cadyville, a memberof B Company, Second Battalion, 108th InfantryRegiment, received the New York State Medal forValor in mid-February at the unit armory.
In April 2000, Golovach and a co-worker saw aChevy Blazer overturn into a swamp in St. LawrenceCounty. They immediately called 911 and managedto turn the flooded vehicle onto its side.
Golovach then waded through icy water anddeep mud to climb inside the vehicle where hecontinued to hold a 29-year old womand's headabove the water for more than half an hour whilewaiting for emergency responders to arrive.
Guard Times StaffNELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, NVThe U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, known as the Thunderbirds, includesa 2002 schedule with a team performance in NewYork State.
The 2002 schedule includes a flyover at West Point, NewYork on May 31 and participation at the Syracuse Airshowon July 6 and 7.
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron is an AirCombat Command unit composed of eight pilots (includingsix demonstration pilots), four support officers, fourcivilians and about 120 enlisted people performing in morethan 25 Air Force specialties.
A Thunderbirds aerial demonstration is a mix of formationflying and solo routines. The pilots perform about 30maneuvers during a demonstration. The entire show, includingground and air, runs about one hour and 15minutes.
Guard Times StaffIn late February the Army formally named its new InterimArmored Vehicle the "Stryker" in a ceremony at FortLauderdale, Fla. The Stryker, the combat vehicle ofchoice for the Army's Interim Brigade Combat Teams(IBCTs), is a highly deployable-wheeled armored vehiclethat combines firepower, battlefield mobility, survivabilityand versatility, with reduced logistics requirements.
The vehicle was named in honor of two Medal of Honorrecipients: Pfc. Stuart S. Stryker, who served in World WarII, and Spec. Robert F. Stryker, who served in Vietnam. TheStryker will be a primary weapons platform for the IBCTs.It will assist the IBCT in covering the near-term capabilitiesgap between our Legacy Force heavy and light units. TheStryker-equipped IBCT will provide the joint and multinationalforce commander increased operational and tacticalflexibility to execute the fast-paced, distributed, non-contiguousoperations envisioned across the full spectrum ofconflict.
"This is a tremendous combat vehicle, and it is totallyappropriate that we name it after two great soldiers whogave their last full measure of devotion on the battlefield indefense of our nation," said the Army's top enlisted man,Sergeant Major of the Army Jack L. Tilley, who presided atthe naming ceremony.
Specialist Robert Stryker, who served with the 1st InfantryDivision, was posthumously awarded the Medal ofHonor for saving the life of his fellow soldiers near LocNinh, Vietnam. Private First Class Stuart Stryker, whoserved with the 513th Parachute Infantry, posthumouslyreceived the Medal of Honor for leading an attack nearWesel, Germany that captured more than 200 enemy soldiersand freed three American pilots.
"These two great soldiers were separated by a generationand fought on battlefields on opposite sides ofthe globe, but both made the ultimate sacrificefor their country and their fellow soldiers,"said Tilley. "Now it's up to all soldiers to honorthe Stryker name by making full use of theenormous capabilities of the Stryker combatvehicle."
"My brother bravely gave his life in 1967while defending his comrades and his unitduring Vietnam," said Mr. Jack Stryker ofAuburn, N.Y. "We know that the name ofStryker is remembered for his valor and thatthese new vehicles will serve as a powerfulreminder of the courage of American soldiersand their commitment to defend this nation."The Army is committed to fielding six IBCTswith more than 300 Strykers in each.
Stryker is a 19-ton wheeled armored vehiclethat will provide The Army a family of tendifferent vehicles. The Stryker can be deployedby C-130 aircraft and be combat-capableupon arrival. The vehicles have robustarmor protection and can sustain speeds of 60 miles-perhour.
The Infantry Carrier carries a nine-man infantry squad andcrew of two and has a Remote Weapon Station with an M2.50 caliber machine gun or MK19, 40 mm grenade launcher.
By Capt. Christine Tarnowski Officer Strength ManagerNYARNG Recruiting and RetentionWATERVLIETEvents of the past six months have shown just howimportant strong leadership is for our soldiers. Thesuccess of the National Guard's response followingthe attacks of September 11, 2001 result from the actionsand decisions of the Army National Guard's junior officersand NCOs who made on-the-scene assessments and respondedto the needs of the emergency responders in NewYork City.
For the majority of soldiers who have inquired about theroute to wearing the gold bar of an Army National GUardSecond Lieutenant, Recruiting Command offers the followingfrequently asked questions for the force:
Q: How many Officer Candidate Schools(OCS) is there and what is the difference betweenthem?
A: There are three OCS programs available tosoldiers in the Guard. State OCS is a 16-monthprogram (April to July) where you drill oneweekend a month and two 2-week phases. NGBOCS is a 7 week accelerated program (June toAugust), in South Dakota and Washington.Federal OCS is a 14-week program (year round),conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Q: What are the civilian education requirementsfor each program?
A: For State OCS you must have at least 60college credits to apply, and 90 credits to becommissioned. For NGB OCS, you must have90 college credits to apply and be commissioned.For Federal OCS, you must have 90college credits. Applicants who do not possessa Baccalaureate or higher degree must provideproof of an SAT or ACT score of 850 (SAT) or 19 (ACT).Test scores cannot be more than 6 years old.
Q: At what age can I apply to an OCS program?
A: Individuals can be appointed prior to age 30 with nowaiver required. The State Adjutant General may grant agewaivers prior to the 35th birthday. NGB may grant a waiverfor individuals if they can be commissioned prior to the 40thbirthday. Minimum age for appointment is 18 years.
Q: What is the Commissioning Program Kicker?
A: Officer Candidate School candidates who are eligiblefor the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve basic benefit,are also eligible for the Commissioning Programs kicker of$350 per month upon the start of Phase II of OCS.
Q: I'm not yeta United Statescitizen, can Iapply to OCS?
A: You musthave proof ofapplication for citizenship to enter State OCS phase I.Citizenship is required for enrollment in all other programsand for commissioning.
Q: How do I know if I qualify for the Direct CommissioningProgram?
A: The Direct Commissioning Program is an NGB programfor exceptionally qualified individuals in the rank of E5 orabove. You must have served at least 12 months in theGuard, and a minimum of 24 months of active duty(waiverable). You must also possess a baccalaureatedegree or higher, a secret clearance, APFT score of 210 orhigher - taken within 9 months of application, and documentedleadership experience.
Q: Are there educational requirements after I'm commissioned?
A: Yes. You must attend an Officer Basic Course (OBC)within 12 months of being commissioned (waiverable upto 24 months). Courses vary in length depending onbranch.
Q: When must I have my application in by for State OCS?
A: Send in your one page application as soon as possibleto Officer Procurement, Bldg 40-1, Watervliet, NY 12189-4050. Bring the remaining documents, or what you havecompiled so far, to the first inprocessing weekend at CampSmith on 20-21 April 2002.
If you have questions about the programs or requirements,contact Officer Procurement at 518-786-4967/4623.
By Wayne V. Hall Army News ServiceFORT BELVOIRSecretary of the Army Thomas White has announced that FortBelvoir will be home to the National Museum of the U.S.Army, scheduled to open in June 2009.
"After a rigorous review of potential sites, Fort Belvoir emergedas the best place to display the Army's historical artifacts forgenerations of visitors," White said. "Soldiers, veterans, and allAmericans can take pride in these educational displays and documentsshowing the long and storied history of America's Army."
All of the Army's sister services either already have a centralizedmuseum, or are in the process of building one. The Air ForceMuseum is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; theNavy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard; and the U.S. MarineCorps is currently building a National Heritage Center at MarineBase Quantico, just south of Fort Belvoir in Prince William County,Va. The Marine Corps museum is expected to be completed byNovember 2005.
The the museum will be funded through the Army Historical Foundation- a non-profit organization for preserving the Army's heritage.The establishment of an Army Museum can be traced to a lawCongress passed in 1814 which directed the Secretary of War tobring captured flags of enemy units to the seat of the capitol forappropriate display. At that time, $500 was appropriated to fund theeffort. However, for nearly two centuries the Army's collection ofdocuments and artifacts has been without a home.
Sgt. Henry Johnson Guard Times StaffARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERYGovernor George E. Pataki was joined by HermanJohnson, son of WWI hero and New York NationalGuardsman Sgt. Henry Johnson, to lay a wreathJanuary 10, 2002 at the newly discovered grave site of thefamed "Harlem Hellfighter" at Arlington National Cemetery.
The final resting place of Sgt. Johnson, an Albany nativewho served with the New York National Guard's 369thInfantry, had long been a mystery. Johnson's grave sitewas believed by many, including many in journalism andacademia, to be an anonymous grave on Potter's Hill, thesite of what is now the Albany County InternationalAirport.
To finally establish for certain the exact location of HenryJohnson's grave and the date ofhis funeral is a great victory for allthose who admire courage andpatriotism," Governor Pataki said."This discovery gives his story,which before was almost the stuffof legend, the tangible substanceit had lacked for so many years.
"It is a great honor for me tostand here today with Mr. HermanJohnson, an American hero in hisown right, and join him in payingtribute to his father as he appropriatelyrests in this place of heroes."the Governor said.
Historians from the New YorkState Division of Military andNaval Affairs (DMNA), workingwith prominent African Americanhistorians recently discoveredthat a "William HenryJohnson" in fact was buried withmilitary honors at Arlington on July 5, 1929. DMNA historiansused military records, documents, and accounts inAfrican American newspapers of the time to trace Sgt.Johnson to the exact cemetery plot and pinpoint the dateof his funeral.
Herman Johnson, who served with the legendary TuskegeeAirmen during WWII, was pleasantly surprised by therecent discovery.
Mr. Johnson, a retired businessman and former statelegislator from Missouri, said, "Learning that my father wasburied in this place of national honor and reverence can bedescribed in just one word - joyful. I am simply joyful. Iwould like to thank Governor Pataki and all my friends inNew York for all they've done to preserve my father'slegacy."
Assemblyman Ron Canestrari said, "Finding HenryJohnson's grave means a great deal to us in the CapitalRegion. His final resting-place helps us to complete his lifejourney, as a war hero and a brave individual who facedadversity, triumph and tragedy. It gives us great comfortto know he rests with so many other American heroes."
Assemblyman Jack McEneny said, "It should be a greatconsolation to every American to know that HenryJohnson's remains have been resting in the hero's gravethat he so valiantly earned."
City of Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings said, "Everyresident of our City is vested in insuring that our nationappropriately recognizes the extraordinary military serviceof one of our bravest citizens, and therefore we celebratethe news of the discovery that Sgt. Henry Johnson was infact buried with military honors at Arlington NationalCemetery. We will continue our resolve in insuring that Sgt.Johnson's legacy is further recognized with the honor ofthe Congressional Medal of Honor. Like his service to ournation, it is right and just."
As part of the State's 1999 celebration of Black HistoryMonth, Governor Pataki presented Herman Johnson withan Award for Excellence in recognition of his father'saccomplishments.
Dr. Maurice Thornton, National Vice President of the369th Veterans Association and Professor of African Studiesat the University at Albany, said, "The fact that even inthe face of Jim Crow, Henry Johnson, a Black American, wasinterred in this hallowed place of heroes, confirms thatthose responsible in 1929 were aware of his accomplishmentson the battlefield, yet did not act to see they wererecognized with the appropriate military decoration."
In addition to the military history staff at DMNA, theGovernor also cited the contributions of NYU Professor ofHistory Dr. Jeffrey T. Sammons and John L. Howe, Historianfor the 369th Veterans Association in Albany and aTrustee of the New York State Military Heritage Instituteas being key to the recent discovery.
Due to strict segregation of the US Military at the time,Johnson's 369th Regiment (formerly the 15th New YorkInfantry), served under French command in the First WorldWar. On May 14, 1918, Johnson single-handedly foughtoff an entire German raiding party with a rifle and a knife inhand-to-hand combat, rescuing his wounded comradefrom capture and actively engaging the enemy until he wasovercome by over 20 wounds. While Johnson's exceptionalvalor led to his becoming the first American to beawarded France's highest award of gallantry, the Croix deGuerre with Gold Palm, his bravery on the battlefield hasnever been recognized with the appropriate Americanmilitary award.
Governor Pataki said that the discovery and attention ithas drawn is bound to bolster the State's efforts to secureSgt. Henry Johnson, whom President Theodore Rooseveltcalled one of the "five bravest Americans," the Medal ofHonor in recognition of his extraordinary valor on thebattlefield.
In 1996, Governor Ptaki directed DMNA to compile andsubmit an official military nomination package for Johnson'sposthumous receipt of the Medal of Honor - a step that hadnever been taken.
Since then, DMNA has conducted and submitted additionalresearch and documentation in support of the nomination.In addition, the Governor wrote to strongly urgeboth former Defense Secretary William Cohen, and formerSecretary of the Army Louis Caldera to approve the awardfor Sgt. Johnson. Caldera eventually approved the nominationin January 2001.
Despite a non-concurrence by former Joint Chiefs ChairmanGen. Henry Shelton in April of 2001, the matter remainsopen and a final decision is expected in March of this year.Immediately following Gen. Shelton's decision, GovernorPataki wrote to President Bush to express his support forSgt. Johnson's posthumous receipt of the Medal of Honordespite the Joint Chiefs Chairman's recommendation.
Guard Times StaffLATHAMThe American Legion is rekindling the tradition and spirit ofpride in our military men and women following the horrificterrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The American Legionis providing banners to families in communities across thenation.
Free color downloads of the banners are also available at TheAmerican Legion Internet Website at www.legion.org and posterand static cling versions for home and automobile, as well as lapelpins, are available from The American Legion National EmblemSales, 1-888-453-4466.
The Blue Star Service Banner was designed and patented in 1917by World War I Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner of the 5th OhioInfantry who had two sons serving on the front lines. It quicklybecame the unofficial symbol of a child in the service.
On Sept. 24, 1917, an Ohio congressman read the following intothe Congressional Record: "... The mayor of Cleveland, the Chamberof Commerce and the governorof Ohio have adopted thisservice flag. The world shouldknow of those who give so muchfor liberty. The dearest thing in allthe world to a father and mother- their children."
During World War II, the Departmentof War issued specificationson the manufacture ofthe banner as well as guidelinesindicating when, and by whom,the Service flag could be flown orthe Service Lapel button couldbe worn. The banner can be seenhanging in the front window ofMrs. Ryan's house in the movieSaving Private Ryan.
The Blue Star Service Banner isan 8 by 16-inch white field with a blue star(s) sewn onto a redbanner.
The blue star represents one family member serving in the armedforces. A banner can have up to five stars, signifying that fivemembers of that family are currently in military uniform on activeduty.
A gold star replaced the blue star if that relative was killed or diedin service. If more than one star appears on the flag, the gold startakes the place of honor nearest the staff.
Today, Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families whohave a loved one serving in the armed forces, including activatedmembers of the National Guard and Reserves, whether the familymember is a son, daughter, brother, sister, wife, husband, cousin,grandchild, etc. The banner displayed in the front window of ahome, shows a family's pride in their loved one serving in themilitary, and reminds others that preserving America's freedomdemands much.
The American Legion also has available a Blue Star BannerCorporate Flag for government and corporate America to showtheir support for employees called to active duty with their Reserveor National Guard units in the war against terrorism.
For more information, contact The American Legion at (317) 630-1253.
By Maj. Linda Thorburn 138th MPADLATHAMHow do you meet and learn to work withfellow soldiers when hundreds of milesseparate you? The answer for the membersof the 42d Infantry Division's Chemical sectionbecame the Distance Learning Classrooms attheir respective hometown armories.
"I wanted to meet as many of the chemical representativesin our brigades and battalions as possible,"explained Lt. Col. Tammy Mandwelle, the DivisionChemical Officer from 42nd Division Headquarters inTroy. "Instead of traveling to each location to meetpersonnel and then share information... and have anavenue of communication available for future use."
Using the distance learning classrooms locatedin Latham and Buffalo, New York, Rehoboth, Massachusetts,Colchester, Vermont and Fort Dix,New Jersey, Mandwelle developed a training exercisethgis February to work each of the chemicalsections so they could begin to train togetherbefore deploying to Fort Leavenworth, Kansasthis summer for a division-wide command postexercise. The goals of the exercise introduced thesections to the required reports for monitoringchemical assets on the battlefield and the immediatesteps in alerting troops for Nuclear, Biologicaland Chemical (NBC) hazards and warnings.
"Receiving feedback was the most memorablepart," said Mandwelle. "Using the VTC (videoteleconferencing center) and the technology toolsinvolved made it possible to initiate the discussion,for example, about smoke use in Latham and thenhave the chemical company commander in Massachusettsrespond to questions about linkup pointsand suggested density of smoke on that terrain."
As with all training, however, distractors had tobe overcome. Without the physical presence of allthe chemical soldiers, members of the training hadto adjust to video images of their peers, delays inthe transmissions, and trying to ignore any backgroundnoises during the training. Despite theseminor inconveniences, the participants all agreedthe training was worthwhile and look forward todoing it again in the future.
"We definitely want to do it again for August,"concluded Mandwelle. "Now we have a basis tobuild upon and would like to develop a moreinteractive scenarion that will refine our skills."
For more information about scheduling the videoteleconference centers available at your local armory,contact the distance learning center in Lathamat (518) 786-4407.
Guard Times StaffQUEENSGovernor George E. Pataki presented the federalBronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman'sBadge and state Conspicuous Service Cross to Mr.Ernest J. Smith on February 10, 2002. Smith is a Queens manwho volunteered as an infantryman in WWII along with2,221 other African American soldiers.
As part of the state's celebration of African AmericanHistory Month, Governor Pataki, joined by Queens BoroughPresident Helen Marshall, presented the awards toPrivate First Class Smith, 79, of Springfield Garden, in aceremony at the National Guard armory in Jamaica joinedby soldiers of the National Guard's 1st Battalion, 258thField Artillery Regiment and members of the CounterdrugDetachment's Corps of Cadets youth program.
"It is a distinct honor to present Mr. Smith with themilitary honors he courageously earned in 1945. Mr. Smithand his fellow African American infantry volunteers puttheir lives on the line for their nation, and in so doing,helped to defeat Nazi aggression and preserve freedomand democracy throughout the world," Pataki said.
"For over five decades this nation failed to properlyrecognize the unparalleled courage and patriotism of menlike Ernest Smith. Today, we are not only acting to right thislong-standing injustice, we are capturing Mr. Smith's firsthandaccounts and preserving them for future generationsof New Yorkers to appreciate and learn from," GovernorPataki said.
Mr. Smith said, "We saw an opportunity not only to fightfor our country, but to break down the walls of segregation.We were really fighting two wars -one against the Nazisand one against racism. I am proud to have been part ofboth. To finally get the recognition from the Army after allthese years means a great deal to me and my fellow WWIIinfantry volunteers. To have the Governor personally presentthese awards right here in Queens makes it even more special."
In December of 1944, the American forces in the EuropeanTheater found themselves critically short of infantry troopsfollowing heavy American losses at the German counteroffensivein the Ardennes. Although the American militarywas segregated at the time, Gen. Eisenhower, the SupremeAllied Commander, for the first time in history called forvolunteers from African American troops to fill this criticalneed.
Within two months, over 5,000 African American soldiershad volunteered to fight at the front, despite a stipulationrequiring non-commissioned officers to forfeit their rank.Mr. Smith was among the 2,221 soldiers to be eventuallyaccepted and trained as infantrymen. These soldiers wenton to serve with honor and distinction on the battlefieldsof the European Theater.
Despite their patriotism and honorable service, thesevolunteers were never issued military awards and decorationsthey earned while serving in combat.
Smith served with Company D, 66th Armored InfantryBattalion, 12th Armored Division and fought in theRhineland Campaign. In March of 1945 he was wounded incombat by a rifle bullet that shattered his ankle. He wasmedically evacuated from Europe and was honorably dischargedin August of 1945.
"African American History Month provides an annualopportunity to honor the immeasurable contributions AfricanAmericans have made to our nation. Highlighting theaccomplishments of people like Mr. Ernest Smith, whoseselflessness and character helped win the war and led to thedesegregation of the American Armed Forces in 1948,ensures that future generations of Americans continue tolearn from their great actions," Governor Pataki said.
The awarding of the Bronze Star reflects ongoing effortsby the Army and the Association of the 2,221 NegroVolunteers, WWII, to identify and recognize the soldierswho became the first US soldiers to serve in combat withwhite troops.