By Maj. Bob Bullock
HQNYANG LATHAM From Niagara Falls to Westhampton Beach, members of the New York Air National Guard continued their return from overseas deployed locations where they have been assigned as part of the nation's ongoing war on terrorism.
During the past two months, more than 250 members of the 106th Rescue Wing returned from a six month deployment to Incirlik, Turkey, where their support of Operation NORTHERN WATCH enabled other assigned Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) units to shift into vital combat mission roles elsewhere in southwest Asia.
This was the second major AEF deployment the 106th had supported within the past year. Last October, the unit fulfilled its SOUTHERN WATCH rotation in Al Jaber, Kuwait. Upon their return, the unit was told of the need for NORTHERN WATCH assistance to backfill the combat search and rescue (CSAR) mission requirement of a unit that had been alternatively deployed to support Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Despite the fact that many members of the 106th had already been away from their Long Island home for an extended period of time, the unit enthusiastically volunteered to pick up the assignment and, in March, returned to Incirlik for a deployment that lasted an additional six months.
In addition to wing personnel deployed to Turkey for CSAR, members of the 106th Security Police Forces Squadron were deployed to support combat operations in southwest Asia. Here, they were responsible for providing security for deployed personnel and millions of dollars of aircraft and equipment used in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Their efforts ensured that assigned forces enjoyed a secure environment while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. Missions included transporting cabinetlevel officials and DoD personnel, movement of troops and equipment in the theater, and other missions vital to the success of U.S. combat operations.
"The contribution and sacrifice by the citizen airmen of the 106th Rescue Wing and their families was enormous and unprecedented as we completed the first year of the war on terrorism," stated 106th Air Commander Col Michael Canders. "These heroes served in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH one short month after the attack last year and then served for almost seven months in Operation Northern Watch, completing their supremely important CSAR mission with 100% success and mission effectiveness," he said
"The additional contribution of our security police force personnel enabled the safe and effective conduct of military operations in southwest Asia as part of ENDURING FREEDOM," the 106th commander concluded.
At the 107th Air Refueling Wing in Niagara Falls, the past several months have seen the return of nearly 200 of the unit's members from the country of Oman where they, additionally, had been flying refueling missions in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in two separate 45 day rotations. The deployments had begun in May.
In addition to unit deployments overseas, the 107th Security Forces Squadron has been actively working the home front over the past year in support of the war efforts. Within three hours of the attacks on September 11th, security personnel reported to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and have maintained a heightened state of security since that time. In October of 2001, a portion of these members were deployed to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to augment active duty security personnel in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE.
Some of these troops recently returned home from Andrews AFB to update their training before leaving again. This time their destination is the country of Oman. Here, they will provide security in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for approximately 90 days.
The 107th Security Forces recently received notification that they will remain on active duty for an additional year. Those not deployed overseas will continue their active duty service at home station or at Andrews AFB for the time being.
"These brave men and women represent a large part of the 107th members that have stepped up to the plate and did whatever was required to support our country at this most difficult time," stated 107th Air Refueling Wing Commander Col James Kwiatkowski. "I am extremely proud of the work these guard members have performed while deployed. They excelled at every task and represented western New York with honor. I am also thankful for the support received from their families and employers. The work that we do would not be possible without the community and our families standing behind us," he said.
Despite the fact that larger deployments of the 106th and the 107th are complete, throughout the remainder of the five NYANG flying wings and NEADS, individuals with required skills continue to be tapped for overseas and stateside duty.
WASHINGTON, DC (American Forces Press Service) - When U.S. Northern Command stands up Oct. 1, the new organization in charge of homeland defense will have "combatant command" of a small number of specialized units.
Combatant command, or COCOM, gives combatant commanders the authority to organize, train and operate units. It is different from operational control, which allows commanders to use forces that have been trained and are supported by someone else.
When the command unfurls its flag at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Air Force Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart will have COCOM of the Joint Forces Headquarters Homeland Security. The JFHQ is based at Norfolk, Va., and now comes under U.S. Joint Forces Command. The headquarters has 130 civilian and military personnel assigned.
Other units will come under operational control of the new command if they are needed, DoD officials said. "If there is an incident, then other units may come under command of Northern Command," said one official. "This would be much the same as units coming under the control of U.S. Central Command when needed."
In addition to becoming the commander of U.S. Northern Command, Eberhart commands the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Wearing his Northern Command hat, he has operational control of the U.S. contributions to the joint U.S.- Canadian defense organization.
The Joint Forces Headquarters Homeland Security coordinates the land and sea defense of the United States. In addition, the command serves as the liaison with lead federal agencies and supports those agencies in the event of an attack. The headquarters will work with other agencies on prevention of attacks, military response if an attack is successful and military aid to such agencies as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Two subordinate units to the Joint Force Headquarters will also transfer to the new command Oct. 1. These are the Joint Task Force Civil Support and Joint Task Force 6. JTF-Civil Support is based at Fort Monroe, Va. Established in 1999, the JTF supports civil authorities in the event of an attack on the United States. The 160 task force members coordinate military support requested by civilian authorities.
JTF-6 is based at Fort Bliss, Texas. The JTF is DoD's counterdrug support unit. It provides resources to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since it was established in 1989, the JTF has helped more than 430 federal, state and local agencies in more than 5,300 missions. Officials said the JTF's counterdrug mission will remain, but its mission will probably expand into other border security realms.
In the event of attack, the U.S. Joint Forces Command will provide any additional forces Northern Command may need.
WASHINGTON, DC (American Forces Press Service) - All military members who are legal resident aliens can now apply for citizenship without a mandatory wait period. There is a five-year conditional period from the time individuals get their green cards through the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service until they can apply to become naturalized U.S. citizens, INS officials said.
Under previous rules, that mandatory wait time was reduced to three years for military members. After a July 4 executive order, there is no mandatory wait period for military members.
"Thousands of our men and women in uniform were born in other countries and now spend each day in honorable service to their adopted land. Many of them are still waiting for the chance to become American citizens because of the waiting period for citizenship," President Bush said in a July 4 speech in West Virginia.
"These men and woman love our country. They show it in their daily devotion to duty," he said. "Out of respect for their brave service in this time of war, I have signed an executive order allowing them an immediate opportunity to petition for citizenship in the United States of America."
White House officials said as many as 15,000 service members affected by the waiting period could now be eligible to apply for citizenship. DoD statistics put the number of legal resident aliens serving in the military at roughly 31,000.
An INS official explained anyone who has served honorably between Sept. 11 and a date to be determined is eligible under the new rules.
An application packet must contain several INS forms, all available on the Internet, a set of fingerprints, and other documentation. Information on naturalization is on the Internet at www.ins.gov or available by calling the National Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-375-5283.
Individuals can also get assistance from INS field offices or the Application Support Center. Locations of these offices can be found on the agency's Internet site.
In a recent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) directive the Veterans Health Administration has affirmed that combat veterans of 9-11 war operations, including OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, are eligible for intensive medical services and care for two-years after separation from military service.
VA Directive 2002-049, published on the first anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attack, Sept. 11, 2002, holds that National Guard and Reserve personnel who are activated and serve in a theater of combat, or in direct combat against a hostile force, are eligible for the VA health care. This is provided the Guard members serve the full period for which they were originally activated, and released or discharged from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions.
The directive defines the support as comprehensive, "hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for a 2-year period beginning on the date of the veteran's discharge for any illness, notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that their illness is attributable to their military service.
For more information contact the VA homepage website: http://www.va.gov or the VA Health Benefits Service Center toll free telephone hotline, 1-800-222-VETS. You may also download Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents, a helpful, 100-page handbook describing VA benefits, from www.va.gov/opa/feature/.
It has always amazed me how little our veteran National Guard members, including prior active military service personnel are aware of their eligibility to receive an array of VA benefits, many even while they are still serving in active Guard service.
It is important for "vets" to take advantage of these services, not only for their own personal health and welfare, but for the future survival of the VA itself. Quite candidly, if veterans don't take advantage of VA services offered, then the U.S. Congress will continue to downsize the VA, as it has in the wake of the decline of the World War II and Korean War "vet" generations.
One day our people could turn around and find out the VA has gone away!
I strongly urge every one of our members, who even remotely suspect they may be eligible for benefits, to contact the VA web page, the toll free general VA information number 1-800-827-1000, or contact a veteran's benefits counselor at their closest VA Hospital Center or outreach office.
In New York State and nationwide, the VA has made it a point to serve its customers over the years with the establishment of hundreds of regional outreach offices, designed to aggressively serve "vets," from inner-cities to the remotest rural areas.
An important adjunct of the VA is the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs. It provides help to "vets" with extensive personal and professional counseling and assistance, dial 1-888-838-7697.
Examples of a few of the traditional benefits from the VA include:
- Guaranteed Home Loans (VA Pamphlet 26-4). The main purpose of the VA home loan program is to help "vets" finance the purchase of their primary residence with favorable loan tgerms and at a rate of interest which is competitive with the rate charge on other types of mortgage loans. Among other advantages a guaranteed VA home loan requires no down payment, has lower closing costs and can include lengthy repayment terms.
- VA Health Care Benefits - Qualified "vets" may enroll in the VA's health care system, which provides primary physician care service, some major medical services, and outpatient services, free or at reduced cost to low income "vets," and for reasonable basic payments and co-pays for those "vets" who are better off. And important part of this service is the VA's prescription pharmacy service which provides drugs at sharply reduced prices for those vets with the Veteran's Universal Access I.D. card.
- Homeless Veteran's Services - Emergency housing, housing assistance and the VA's Compensated Work Therapy program aimed at getting homeless "vets" without jobs back to work, and many others, are provided to "vets" who make up as much as 30 percent of all the nation's homeless people according to reputable social services studies. Each year the Division of Military and Naval Affairs and the National Guard attempts to do its part by offering our armories and facilities to host veterans' Stand Downs - part of the VA's efforts to provide outreach services to homeless "vets." The Stand Downs are typically one-to-three-day events providing services such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.
I wrote the original version of the letter below in 1981, as an officer cadet. With more than twenty years between these early observations, I wonder just how much has changed. I have since misplaced the bibliography and apologize for errors regarding credit and quotes.
Is discipline relevant in today's New York Army National Guard? The obvious answer is yes. Though it requires further discussion. How relevant? What level of enforcement? What standard constitutes a disciplined and obedient force regardless of branch or MOS?
The relevance of discipline in any military organization applies without regard. Enforcement of standards of conduct, moral and ethical professionalism begins at the lowest levels (team, section), but are by there nature top driven. Subordinates derive their importance based upon the relevance and leadership emphasis of senior leaders.
Discipline's value, throughout history according to Ardant Du Pic was the secret to great armies; "It was what enabled men to conquer anything which lay before him. The purpose of discipline is to make men fight inspite of themselves no army is worthy of the name without discipline." It is what makes men accomplish any assigned mission inspite of their fear and innate desire for self-preservation during times of war.
Discipline is not a state of unquestioned subservience, rather the willing acceptance of standards of conduct, behavior and appearance by the individual. It must be understood that failure to maintain standards is detrimental to the well being of the individual, unit and institution to which he belongs. Discipline and obedience are most effective when its relevance is understood, and it is inspired by loyalty to a unit, leader or a cause. "It is what steals men in battle and wins wars."
Discipline over the individual is only surpassed by its importance to a unit, which together with morale, leadership and competence are essential to accomplishment of any assigned mission. It is where singleness of mind and purpose take root. It is the most critical element to success; it is the combat multiplier upon which all others rely.
Obedience is as Robert Jackson noted:"On the battlefield the real enemy is fear and not the bayonet or bullet." It is disciplined soldiers, which makes the difference between an army and a mob, between units, which succeed, and those that fail.
It is unfortunate that the value, the life saving necessity of discipline is often surpassed by other issues of the moment. Discipline cannot and is not innate. It must be instilled and enforced in every aspect of military life, from basic training to IDT weekends to annual training. I would suggest that its importance is more critical to our part-time soldiers because of the limited time available to instill these values within the individual's code of conduct. "True discipline should be based on mental, moral and physical training designed to insure that all respond to the will of the commander even though he is not present."
It is inevitable; there will be those who fail to accept the value of discipline, thus requiring effective disciplinary action. The sole purpose of punishment is to correct violations. The penalty imposed should be such that it reduces or eliminates future recurrence by the individual and more importantly to serve as a warning to others that such infractions will not be tolerated.
The degree, to which Absent Without Leave (AWOL) personnel of the NYARNG are disciplined, is indicative of the discipline dilemma. Today, a soldier can go AWOL and suffer no consequence to his professional career or personal life. He or she may willingly come and go on a regular basis with impunity. The short-term importance of strength maintenance has surpassed the long-term relevance of discipline and enforcement of standards of conduct.
"We must develop and institute an effective disciplinary program, which includes an effective program for AWOL personnel that punishes and not rewards unacceptable behavior" We as leaders fail our soldiers, the majority, when we fail to take action against those who fail themselves and each other. The NYARNG expends vast amounts of money to train, equip and man its various units. Acceptance of AWOL behavior and unprofessional conduct is detrimental to the well being of the whole. The priority of the NYARNG is clear, strength maintenance. While we continue to recruit in sufficient quantities, we are unable to stem the tide of those that leave under any condition. Clearly, AWOLers make up a significant portion, and reduction of those numbers, may have a direct effect upon the others. If nothing else, a more disciplined, professional force would raise morale, pride and esprite de corps. All of which would further the accomplishment of our peace time state mission: Strength Maintenance and save countless lives during federal activation for combat.
Several states have addressed the AWOL issue directly. Soldiers who are AWOL from IDT weekends are charged under the states military laws and regulations. A warrant is issued and the individual is apprehended by military or civil authorities and prosecuted to include court marshals. This enforcement of standards of conduct sends a clear uncompromising message to every member. Failure to fulfill one's obligation, legal and moral is unacceptable. The litmus test is simple enough, compare the AWOL rates of the NYARNG with its nonconfrontational approach to that of states, which do obligate personnel to attend and enforce discipline upon those who fail.
To date we as an organization have been unable to stem the tide in loss of personnel (AWOL), what do we have to lose by this approach, by enforcing discipline? The current approach of the AWOL Recovery Task Force undermines the entire chain of command from team to TAG. It rewards those who have demonstrated a total lack of responsibility, professionalism, dedication, loyalty and discipline by the virtue of offering forgiveness if they return.
Why should we want them back? They have brought dishonor upon themselves, and by returning them to our ranks in order to meet a quota is an affront to every soldier and undermines strength maintenance as a professional military organization.
It will be too late when crisis comes to enforce the most basic leadership responsibility, discipline. The leadership of the NYARNG, every one of us, if soldier care is truly of paramount concern, will heed this warning.
We must develop and institute an effective disciplinary program, which includes an effective program for AWOL personnel that punishes and not rewards unacceptable behavior. The lives of our soldiers, as well as our own will depend upon how well we maintain a disciplined force in the New York National Guard.
Lt. Col. Robert Marchi
HQ, 42nd ID (M)
Guard Continues Mission to Bolster Security Statewide in Wake of 9/11
Guard Times Staff NEW YORK CITY Governor George E. Pataki announced in late July that he deployed dozens more National Guard soldiers to Penn Station to provide additional support to law enforcement security operations throughout the station. The deployment more than doubles the existing Guard security force, and comes in response to recent concerns raised about the adequacy of security at Penn Station.
"In order to ensure the integrity of security operations and maintain the highest level of public safety, I have deployed additional National Guard troops to support existing security at Penn Station," Governor Pataki said. "Like troops already on duty at Penn and Grand Central Stations, these additional soldiers will work along side law enforcement personnel to boost the security presence and allow for more thorough patrolling of the terminal.
"Since 9/11, we have called upon our National Guard force like never before to support both homeland security operations and military objectives overseas, and they have risen to every challenge. As their Commander in Chief, I couldn't be prouder of the dedication and professionalism our troops have shown during every mission, and have every confidence that this deployment will be no different," the Governor said.
The Governor noted that the additional deployments were not in response to a particular threat, but rather were a result of concerns raised regarding the adequacy of overall security at Penn Station. The Governor has initially activated the additional troops for 45 days.
Major General Thomas P. Maguire Jr., the Adjutant General of the State of New York said, "The men and women of the New York National Guard have been busier over the past ten months than at any time in our history. We are extremely proud to have met every mission asked of us by either the Governor or Department of Defense, and look forward to continuing our support to the people of New York any way we can."
Since September of last year, armed National Guard troops have been supporting NYPD, Transit and Port Authority Police at New York City's two major rail stations, airports and bridges and tunnels.
By Maj. Richard J. Sloma
HQ, State Area Command
FORT LEAVENWORTH, KS This August, the New York Army National Guard hosted a group of senior Albanian military leaders at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to observe the 42nd Infantry Division (Mechanized) Warfighter battle simulation exercise.
Colonel Paul Duttge and Major Richard Sloma from the State Area Command provided escort during the familiarization visit by five Albanian Army officers.
The senior visitor was Brigadier General Kostaq Karoli, the Commander of the Albanian Land Forces. Accompanying General Karoli were Colonel Hysen Cekodhima, Chief of Staff for the Albanian Land Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Agim Gjyla, a brigade commander, Major Agim Lleshi, Operations and Training Specialist and Lieutenant Colonel Qumal Shkurti, a Liaison Officer. Shkurti also served as translator for the group.
This visit was part of the State Partnership Program (SPP). The SPP matches American states with the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. It encourages the development of economic, political, and military ties between the United States and the new democracies. New York State is an associate partner state for the Republic of Albania. New Jersey is the primary partner state.
During the four days spent at the Battle Command Training Center (BCTC), General Karoli and the Albanian officers received a comprehensive look at the 42nd Infantry Division's staff processes and task organization and were able to see exactly what was involved with running this type of exercise. Major Joel Kain of the Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) operations staff gave General Karoli an overview briefing describing the elaborate staff training program.
The Albanian officers visited each of the major divisional staff sections and units so that they could see the kinds of activities performed there. Colonel Duttge put the division's activities into context for General Karoli and his officers by describing the roles and responsibilities of the various battlefield operating systems and staff elements and how they interact and synchronize military operations.
The Albanian officers received daily update briefings from Lieutenant Colonel Robert Marchi from the 42nd Infantry Division assigned to exercise control. They visited the 42nd Infantry Division main command post and tactical command post and watched the commander's brief-back to Major General George T. Garrett, Commanding General of the 42nd Infantry Division.
General Karoli had the opportunity to speak with many of the division's leaders prior to the start of the exercise on 11 August, including the division commander and many of the division's brigade commanders.
While at Fort Leavenworth, the Albanian Army military leadership was also afforded an opportunity to learn about a key component of the U.S. Army's officer education system. Mr. John Reichley of the United States Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) provided the visitors with a tour of Bell Hall and overview of the CGSC facilities and curriculum. During the tour, the delegation was joined by Albanian Major Bardhyl Kollcaku, who recently began the course as a foreign student.
At the end of the visit, General Karoli met with The Adjutant General, Major General Thomas P. Maguire. General Karoli expressed his thanks to Maguire, New York State, and the soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division. He thanked everyone for their kind hospitality and the opportunity to see and experience this exercise and presented Maguire with a gift of Albanian cognac. Maguire then presented General Karoli and each of the Albanian Officers with an Adjutant General's coin, welcomed their participation in the program, and extended his wishes for more exchanges in the future.
By Maj. Richard Goldenberg
HQ, 42nd ID (M)
FORT LEAVENWORTH, KS More than one thousand members of the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division, famous as the Army's Rainbow Division, deployed this August to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for a battle simulation exercise that replicates the demands of modern warfare.
Known as a Warfighter Exercise, the training pitches Rainbow Division leadership and staff against the Army's Opposing Force, or OPFOR, to sharpen planning and coordination skills for combat operations. The Battle Command Training Center at Fort Leavenworth conducts this training for all active and National Guard divisions about every four years.
"In recent years, our enemies have changed and with them, our OPFOR," said Maj. Gen. George T. Garrett, 42nd Infantry Division Commander. "Information dominance, civil affairs and asymmetrical warfare are not just buzz words. At this Warfighter, the Rainbow Division put them into practice," Garrett noted.
This exercise, called "Balkan Rainbow" to reflect the new battlefield scenario, marks the first real fight against the new OPFOR, referred to as the new Combat Operating Environment, or COE. In the past, the Army trained against forces that followed Cold War doctrine and tactics. The Rainbow fight this August pitted US forces against a modern equipped OPFOR who would avoid direct combat and try to draw Rainbow forces into urban centers or use civilians on the battlefield to sway world opinion through role-playing media reporters.
"The old soviet-style paradigm of enemy forces is gone," said General (retired) Edwin H. Burba, the senior observer of the exercise. "Our enemies are much more flexible and capable these days and our planning and reaction time is far more compressed," he said.
More than 165 soldiers from the division headquarters in Troy joined 42nd Division soldiers from across the country at Fort Leavenworth. Brigade and separate battalion leadership arrived from the Rainbow's eight states as well as Active Army and Army Reserve slice soldiers from across the country.
The Rainbow Division is a multi-state National Guard Division that includes troops from New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and Illinois.
"This exercise brings together leaders and soldiers from every Rainbow command in every Rainbow State," said division Chief of Staff Col. Mark Heffner. "Our training at the Warfighter better prepares us for whatever contingency may arise in our home states, whether natural disaster, homeland security, or federal response," he said.
This year's training deployment followed the demanding deployment of Rainbow soldiers to support New York City's recovery efforts after the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
"After deploying this headquarters to New York City in September 2001, we discovered that our leadership and organization process can adapt to almost any situation," said Heffner. "The roles and capabilities of the Rainbow Division headquarters quickly integrated with the city's Office of Emergency Management."
"The reason we were so successful as a joint task force headquarters in New York City," stated Garrett, "is that we were able to draw from what we learned in the past right here at Warfighter."
"The hallmark of this division is the element of teamwork that we bring to the fight," Garrett said.
The battlefield, set in the fictitious countries of Southland, Westland and Northland reflect the modern nature of Army combat deployments: urban centers, civilians on the battlefield, information warfare, and ethnic and political unrest.
"This has been a very positive exercise," said Lt. Gen. Joseph R. Inge, the First U.S. Army commander who also served as corps commander for the Rainbow Division's exercise. "The quality, professionalism, discipline and tremendous teamwork of this division exceeded even my high expectations based on your performance in New York City," he said.
The battle at Leavenworth is not without challenges. Every staff section in the division is stressed to conduct planning and coordination to support an actual deployment of more than 15,000 soldiers to combat. From medical evacuation to replacement operations, combat maintenance and supply planning to enemy prisoner of war processing to coordinated artillery and aviation attacks to support the infantry and armor, Balkan Rainbow provided demands on every staff element.
"Professional, competent, and motivated leadership makes the difference in the fight," said Col. Peter Palmer, commander of the Battle Command Training Program at Fort Leavenworth. "The 42nd Division leaders were always in the fight, always in the front. We want to congratulate you all for your success here," he said.
"The important thing to remember is that our soldiers learn the lessons of combat here," Garrett said. "This is not a game if we ever have to do it for real, and our soldiers know it."
"No country in this world has a treasure like our National Guard," said Inge, addressing the Rainbow soldiers after the exercise. "You are the cornerstone of this nation, from Valley Forge to Afghanistan."
By Col. Robert M. Edelman
HQ, 53rd Troop Command
VALHALLA On July 13, 2002 soldiers of the New York Army National Guard's 53rd Troop Command welcomed their new Commander, Colonel Stephen R. Seiter.
Seiter, the former commander of the 107th Corps Support Group in Manhattan, helped coordinate the early National Guard response efforts following the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001.
Seiter replaces Brig. Gen. Edward G. Klein, who departed the troop command to become the New York Army National Guard commander earlier this year.
Each of the command's headquarters were represented by a seven-soldier color guard. In the large guest audience were many notable past general officers familiar to the National Guard, including Maj. Gen. (retired) Lanna, Maj. Gen. (retired) James, Maj. Gen. (retired) O'leary and Brig. Gen. (retired) Beniamino.
The ceremony, led by the commander of troops, Colonel Michael C. Swezey, went off without a hitch and was enhanced by the sounds produced by the 199th Army Band. The guest speaker, who also presided over the passing of the unit colors, was The Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Maguire.
Maguire spoke of the outstanding leadership exhibited by Klein during the September 11th attack at the World Trade Center and went on to thank the soldiers present for their support during that crisis.
Klein also thanked the units present for their outstanding efforts and challenged them to continue their support to Colonel Seiter in the same fashion they did to him. He mentioned how much he enjoyed being commander of the 53rd Troop Command and how he would miss being a part of such an outstanding organization. He wished Colonel Seiter success in his new assignment and remarked that he felt secure in the fact that he "was leaving the leadership of the 53rd Troop Command in very capable hands."
Seiter thanked the Adjutant General and Army National Guard commander for their confidence in his leadership abilities and promised to build on the accomplishments of his predecessor.
He challenged the units of the 53rd to be creative in planning their training. Training, he told them, is the key to a successful recruiting and retention program. "If you provide the soldiers with meaningful and well-planned training," he said, "overall unit readiness will improve."
By Sgt. Christopher Perkins
145th Maintenance Company Soldiers of the 145th Maintenance Company joined forces with law enforcement for the benefit of their community. This mission, however, did not respond to an emergency, but rather an opportunity. Tuesday, August 6th, was the 19th Annual "National Night Out against Crime"(NNO) and members of the National Guard were present to provide another positive role-model for New York City residents.
The event focused on promoting strong relationships between the community and the NYPD. The National Association of Town Watch (NATW) sponsors the National Night Out against Crime in cities and towns across the country every year.
The NYPD's 49th Precinct, the 49th Precinct Council and the Neighborhood Initiatives Development Corporation (NIDC) sponsored the event, which was chosen as the "Borough Site" from among the other Bronx Police Precincts. Over 4,000 community residents were treated to free popcorn and cotton candy and live music.
On hand for the event were New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, NYC Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, along with U.S. Congressman Jim Crowley, State Senators Guy Velella and Ruth Thompson, and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion among other guests of honor.
Several local business associations, civic organizations, Community Patrols, and local area health providers also contributed and participated in the community event.
Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard served alongside representatives of the U.S. Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, New York City Fire Department, Parks Department, and several other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces for the event.
Sergeants Digno DeJesus and Enrique Leonardo demonstrated the company's HEMTT recovery vehicle and Pvt. John Leonardo showed off the HMMWV. Both vehicles were tremendously popular among the children, who endured long lines just to sit behind the wheel and ask questions about the vehicles. Several veterans seemed equally impressed with the HEMTT. "We never had anything like that when I was in the Army," is what they all had to say.
One moment stands out against all the speeches and tributes given that day that best reflects the goal of the event. A father turned and explained to his daughter of about 5 or 6 years "that the soldiers are like police that defend us from other people that would try to take the things that are important from us."
By Jim Caldwell
TRADOC News Service
FORT MONROE, VA The new Commander's Safety Course that helps to turn commanders and other unit leaders into their own safety officers is up and running at its website.
"The course will become mandatory for all commanders, from captain to brigade, after the chief of staff (Gen. Eric K. Shinseki) sends a message to the field officially notifying the Army of the change," said Harry Hall, training analyst in the Schools Division of Training and Doctrine Command's Deputy Chief of Staff for Training organization.
He said officers selected for brigade and battalion command will complete the course in conjunction with their Pre-command Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Captains will be required to take the course as self-development training before taking command of a company.
Other leaders, soldiers and employees can also take the course as self-development.
The course became a reality after Shinseki directed that safety training be developed for commanders and other leaders. He wants them to have the tools to create and implement effective safety programs and to manage risk to reduce accidents among soldiers and civilian employees, on and off duty.
Future commanders do not have to wait until they're notified of their selection to command to enroll and complete the course. All soldiers and employees can also enroll now.
The URL link for the safety course website is https://www.aimsrdl.atsc.army.mil/secured/ accp_top.htm. A user ID and password are required, but after enrollment, the system will issue those. Officers selected for command will be issued a user ID and password when they're notified by ATRRS (Army Training Requirements and Resources System).
When individuals finish each of the four modules, they will be awarded a certificate of completion as their course record.
The course, equivalent to 30 classroom hours, gives commanders and first sergeants the tools and knowledge to manage their own safety programs. There is a resource navigator that contains links to most of links for safety information throughout Department of Defense.
"These tools can be downloaded to for personal use and be used again and again in everyday unit and training activities," Hall said. Hall said 300 people have already enrolled in the course. Most of them accessed it through ATRRS at http://www.atrrs.army.mil/.
By Jason Shepard
19th Public Affairs Detachment
Courtesy of the Fort Riley Post
FORT RILEY, KS With temperatures reaching into the hundreds and rain scarce, soldiers from the 206th Corps Sup port Battalion (CSB) from Brooklyn, N.Y., were sweating it out at Camp Funston, getting all the vehicles loaded on rail cars for a long trip home after Operation Hickory Sting.
The 35-member detachment were working with soldiers from several different states to get this enormous mission accomplished on time and without injury.
"We have soldiers from New York, Connecticut, Alabama, Michigan and North Carolina," said Maj. Mark Friszolowski, operations officer for the 206th CSB. "They are all working side-by side, all doing different jobs and speaking different languages. I'm extremely proud of the way the (non-commissioned officers) have handled this mission, this very complicated mission."
Even though the mission is complicated, according to Friszolowski, the soldiers in the rail yard set two new records. "We did 161 rail cars in one day, and we finished by (3 p.m.)," he said. "Our challenge is, can we do 200 the next time? And that's not me, that's the soldiers saying that we can do 200, no problem."
The soldiers from Brooklyn shattered the old record of about 120 rail cars in one day, according to Lt. Col. Peter Sammarco, commander of the 206th CSB. They also loaded 229 rail cars in two days. Not only did they do a quick job, they also saved money by cutting the number of cars going out. Sammarco credits his junior troops for such a quick, smart and safe job.
"We had (specialists) guiding vehicles in," he said, "telling battalions and brigades when to come in. From the standpoint of their own personal leadership development and competency, they got the chance to be put in the position that they normally wouldn't."
"The training for us as National Guard soldiers is great because its hand's on," Friszolowski added. "It's a mission that's very demanding for us because the soldier will be challenged. It's not something he's done before so it's something that requires a plan, and that's where the officers come in, and then it requires execution."
Because of the heat, NCO's had to make sure the soldiers in the rail yard were safe.
"We provide lots of water and breaks," said Sgt. Troy Williams, an NCO with the 206th. "We checked on them every once in a while to make sure they were o.k." We had a couple of heat casualties, but no major injuries," Friszolowski added.
"We sat down and looked at the safety record of Fort Riley rail prior to our deployment and we saw that there had been some serious injures in the past. The last thing we want is for a soldier to go back with something on his body that he'll remember from the rail yard."
According to Sammarco, the soldiers of the 206th are assigned the mission of rail uploading at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. next summer.
He credits Fort Riley for getting his soldiers ready to that mission.
"The training was excellent," he said. "We got a chance to exercise ourselves as far as a staff, planning and making the rail yard operational. Doing the whole military decisionmaking process was a great exercise for the staff. Fort Riley's been great. It's been hot but a lot of fun," he said, adding, "Fort Riley is a good place to train for NTC, and other units should take the opportunity to come here."
Sammarco said that on a normal guard drill weekend, there are only two days of training, so the only thing we can do on a normal weekend is common task training, weapons qualification or class-room instruction.
The difference between a nor-mal drill weekend and coming out to the rail yard is deploying with the transportation detachment and the other units...and working with them as far as staging, loading and preparing, he said.
"You have an enhanced brigade that's fighting the battle and their priority is on that battle," he said. "And as combat service support, we want to give them as much support as we can, so we had a solid plan. We did a lot of drills before this and what really topped it off was execution. We really made our money here."
By Major Richard Goldenberg
Guard Times Staff ALBANY Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard remain on duty throughout New York City to provide additional security at key locations throughout Manhattan. But the primary mission of support to ground zero concluded this summer as members of the 369th Transportation Company provided one last mission to the city of New York. The Heavy Truck Company helped deliver the charred and crushed Engine 6 pumper truck of the New York Fire Department from the Fresh Kills Recovery Operations site to the New York State Museum for public display.
The permanent exhibit, which opens September 5th, is the first of a two-phase exhibition - "Rescue: The First 24 Hours." It documents the first 24 hours after the attacks began. In addition to the fire department objects, there are several others from New York City's police department, as well as a 9- ton, 19-foot high beam from one of the WTC towers recovered from the WTC site.
The beam, which visitors can touch, provides a sense of the scale and size of the buildings, which rose more than 1,360 feet and encompassed 110 floors.
State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, "With the permission of the brothers of Engine 6 and their families, and with the help of so many people and agencies, the State Museum is honored to be entrusted with the fire truck that was among the first on the scene on September 11. Engine 6 is an old and famous company. Their finest hour began a little after 9 a.m. on the morning of Sept 11. This particular fire apparatus has a story all its own. Five firefighters went in. All but one were lost."
Five of the six firefighters that rode on the Engine 6 pumper entered the North Tower, while the driver, Jack Butler, stayed with the truck. Butler ran from the truck as the building started to collapse and firefighter Billy Green was able to flee from the tower when ordered to do so. Unable to escape before the collapse were: Lt. Thomas O'Hagan, 43, of the Bronx; Paul Beyer, 37, of Staten Island; William "Billy" Johnston, 31, of Long Island and Thomas Holohan, 36, of Orange County.
"When a fire engine stands ready for action, firefighters say it is, 'in service'. Engine 6 will be in service here," Mills said. "The service it will render from now on will be to teach the values of those who manned it. People will bring their children to see this emblem of valor and sacrifice."
As visitors enter the WTC gallery, they will see a 4 x 6-foot American flag recovered by State Police at Ground Zero. There is a history of the World Trade Center with photos of architectural sketches, a video of the construction and a floor-to-ceiling beam from one of the towers. One section of the exhibition focuses on the American flag - its history, significance and the new meaning it has taken on since September 11. The focal point is an American flag that was recovered from the WTC debris and then flew at the Fresh Kills recovery operation site.
A 20 x 48-foot photo mural showing the WTC destruction provides the backdrop for the Engine 6 pumper and a display on the fire company that lost four of its members who rode on the rig that day. This will include the history of the prominent Manhattan fire company, which was organized in 1756 and was later known as the Engine 6 "Tigers." The company's quarters are near the World Trade Center site and, because of this, the Engine 6 pumper had a specially built pump that was powerful enough to push water to the top of the towers. It was partially crushed in the collapse of the North Tower.
In front of the fire pumper is a timeline of the first 24 hours of the WTC attack. The timeline begins as a beautiful day dawns in Manhattan at 6:30 a.m. on September 11, 2001. It then shifts to 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit, and documents each of the significant events that followed. In front of this there are various artifacts recovered from the site including a backboard and other items used by firefighters, police and emergency rescue personnel.
The second phase of the exhibition, opening in December, will feature two gallery sections - "Recovery," the story of the massive operation at the Fresh Kills landfill, and "Response," showcasing memorial material in the museum's collection.
The Recovery section will document the operation at Fresh Kills that began on September 12 when the first WTC remains arrived. A team of medical examiners, police, FBI agents, city sanitation staff, army personnel and disaster relief contractors created a "city on the hill." By July 26 they had sifted through more than 1.8 million tons of material and inspected more than 2,000 cars, trucks and rescue vehicles with the mission to find human remains, personal effects and criminal evidence. They recovered more than 50,000 personal objects and 4,000 human remains that led to the identification of hundreds of victims.
The Response section of the exhibition will include many of the memorial objects which family, friends and countless other concerned Americans posted within a week of the WTC attack. Informal memorials appeared across the city, state and nation as a sign of unprecedented support, including banners, art, signs, posters, shirts, flowers and messages. There will be a rotating display of these materials, which the museum has collected as part of the process of documenting the attack and its impact.
Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Tracy Cain
HQ, 107th ARW NIAGARA FALLS In a closed-door briefing, Col. Deb Jattar, Health Ser vices Inspection team-member, gave the report mem bers of the 107th Air Refueling Wing Medical Squadron have been waiting to hear, "Your unit is considered mission ready." After the thunder of applause, boot-stomping and "woo-hooing," a composed, but elated, Col. William Fiden, 107th ARW Medical Squadron commander, accepted the clinic's certification from Jattar.
"This score reflects the work you've done to get us here," Fiden said to a cheering clinic staff. "Keep the momentum going. We want to be this good or better in the next four years."
The clinic team's efforts definitely paid off. The HSI team inspects activeduty, guard and reserve bases, and of the 53 inspections they've performed during fiscal year 2002, the 107th MDS is one of only six units scoring 96 percent or higher.
Fiden reflected about the staff's continuity and how that has made them a better team.
"As the years have gone by, we've grown older together, and not cynical. The older troops have been helpful, making sure younger troops have the information and tools they need to succeed. That is one of our greatest group strengths. This [certification] is ours as a group," Fiden said.
The New York Air National Guard State Air Surgeon, Dr. (Brig. Gen.) Ravindra F. Shah, also addressed the 107th MDS staff. He said he's aware of all the "blood, sweat and toil" they endured to make this happen. He also thanked them for a job well done and noted that their accomplishment was recognized at state headquarters.
Passing this inspection with flying colors was not a stroke of luck for the clinic.
"We had 16 to 18 months to focus on the HSI," said Chief Master Sgt. David Andrees, 107th MDS superintendent. "This success is definitely due to our people," he added. Even with this much lead time, the clinic also had to split time between preparation for the HSI and real-world missions. When terrorists attacked America members of the 107th ARW Medical Squadron were deployed to New York City. However, 9- 11 and other contingencies did not change the schedule for the inspection.
"Members of the clinic participated in the recovery efforts after 9-11 and have been active in other contingency operations," said Staff Sgt. James Harris, 107th ARW Medical Squadron technician. "We had great support from the people in the wing, we just all pulled together as a cohesive team and worked toward this goal."
"I am so proud, I'm thrilled," said Col. James W. Kwiatkowski, 107th ARW commander. "I know that the folks in the clinic have really been preparing for this inspection -their efforts have really paid off."
Story and photos by Staff Sgt Paul Dean
HQ, 107th ARW NIAGARA FALLS Sixty five feet of tractor trailer rumbled up the 190 toward the base. "This Rockwell 13-speed [trans mission] is great," said Tech. Sgt. Ken Devole, self-appointed 2nd best tractor trailer driver for the 107th Air Refueling Wing Logistics Squadron. Master Sgt. Robert Wolfe is the best. That's just because he does it full time according to Devole.
"I'm getting dry, how about you?" Devole said. I replied in the affirmative, but assured him that once we got to base there would be plenty of cold soda and water at the family support reception for the retuning airmen who's baggage was on the trailer. "Oh, we won't see any of that," he replied. "We have things to do. We have to get this baggage sorted out so they can get home."
Devole speaks from experience. He knows the procedures. He's supported many deployments. He knows his, and his squadron's role in deployment missions.
That's just the way it is. Things have to be done outside the glow of the spotlight. Equipment and baggage has to somehow get from here to there. Then it all has to come back. People have to have rides to planes. Then they have to get back. Airmen have to take location specific gear with them on deployments (flack vests, "real chemical suits," desert BDUs etc.). Somebody has to issue it, somebody has to get it back.
All of these are incredible tasks. Especially with a mission as large as the June and July Oman deployments.
And all of these things become transparent to the people deploying: the bus is always waiting to carry them, bags are organized -lined up alphabetically- when it's time to go home, and friendly people from supply are ready to issue and accept gear on scene.
This is all done by "just letting people get in there and do their jobs," according to Capt. Steven Hefferon, logistics squadron commander for the 107 ARW. And although he just took over as commander of the squadron eight months ago, it has been a great time to learn the ropes.
"I'll have five years experience by the end of my first year," he said.
Hefferon isn't the only one talking about experience. He's not the only one who recognizes the loss of experience over the next five years. Devole sees it too. Because of this, Tech. Sgt. Dennis Castiglia drove the tractor trailer on the way to the Buffalo International Airport to pick up the returning airmen and their baggage. "If you don't drive [tractor trailer] all the time it's easy 'to lose it,'" said Devole. "I've been letting [Castiglia] and some of the others take turns driving Capt. Steven Hefferon helps guide a pallet onto a trailer July 25. so that we all get experience behind the wheel," he added.
The same philosophy of knowledge sharing and mentoring has been just below the surface throughout the support missions for the Oman deployment. Hefferon rotated the less experienced airmen through all of the tasks. "It's very important to have them see the process, to get them involved. We have a lot of experienced people right now. We have a lot of things 'down.' Our experienced people are doing a great job teaching our good young airmen," he said.
People coming and going may not realize how 'down' the logistics squadron has it. But to see the job being done, even just the ending, tells the story.
The pallets which Castiglia had expertly loaded onto the trailer were quickly unloaded by Staff Sgt. Pat Buell as soon as the truck stopped at the motor pool. It all seemed so safe, yet hurried. A crowd of airmen from logistics was waiting to take care of business, waiting to make their jobs seem invisible. Waiting to quickly break down the pallets of baggage into an organized system set up 20 yards away.
Ten minutes later, men and women in desert BDUs crossed the parking lot from the operations building. They had greeted their families, hugged and kissed, and now just wanted to go home. They found three tables outside the motor pool building. Each was clearly identified with a letter range based on the airman's last name. Each had A-bags neatly arranged in front of them. Two or three people from the supply section stood waiting at each table.
There seemed to be no sighs of relief. No notice of how organized the operation was. The logistics squadron has been doing things so right for so long, that it has become normal.
And then it was over: individual gear had been turned in, bags had been picked up, and the hard working people from the logistics squadron were tearing down. "Just like I told you, we've got this down," said Hefferon, as he thanked his people for a job well done.
By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Tredway
HQ, 39th Air Wing
Armed Forces Press Network
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, TURKEY It was July 1982, "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" was touching hearts at the box office, Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" was blaring on the radio and a couple of kids barely out of high school were beginning careers in the Air Force that would span the next 20 years.
As squad leaders for Flight 043, then Airmen Basic Jeff Rice and Mike Wern passed the time in basic training by shining boots, talking and listening to Alabama tapes in the training instructor's (TIs) room.
The days and weeks went by, and their friendship grew as they helped each other through the daily struggles of trainee life.
Near the end of basic training, TIs gather their troops in the day room to tell them what to expect in the months and years ahead.
Many tell their troops that they will never forget the airmen sitting around them because they will be standing beside them on the front lines when the nation calls. But after basic, Rice and Wern parted ways and lost touch.
Now, 20 years later, Lt. Col. Rice and Senior Master Sgt. Wern are standing together here supporting Operation Northern Watch.
Who would have thought TIs, the same men who ordered airmen to give reporting statements to trees and tossed wall lockers out windows, could have so much insight?
Although they had not seen each other since August 1982 when they graduated basic training, Rice knew Wern the minute he saw him.
"I saw him in the chow hall and I immediately recognized him, but what were the odds," he said.
Rice, ONW's deputy director of manpower and personnel, looked up his name.
"There was a Michael Wern from New York and I thought it had to be him," he said,
"so I called his first sergeant. Sgt. Wern wasn't there, so I left a message saying I think I went to basic training with him."
The message Wern got was that he needed to call the deputy director of personnel.
"I thought I was getting deployed to a forward location," said Wern, an HC-130 rescue communications technician deployed with the 106th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron from Francis Gabreski Air National Guard Base, N.Y. "It turned out that when I called, he (said) 'Hi! How are you?'"
After customary small talk, they arranged to meet at the Turkish Cafi where they spent an hour reliving war stories from basic training and catching up on the past 20 years.
After basic, Rice went home to St. Louis, where he still serves with the ANG's 183rd Fighter Wing at Capital Municipal Airport in Springfield, Ill. He finished his degree and became a certified public accountant. He also earned a commission as a personnel officer, although he now serves as the wing's inspector general.
"I'm proud of him," Wern said, "and I'm glad to see he's remained part of the team. The Air Force needs quality people, and he's a good example of that. He has stayed true to the man I met 20 years ago."
After returning home, Wern pursued a career as a New York police officer, while continuing to serve his country in the New York Air National Guard.
After waiting 20 years, the men, well along in their Air Force careers, have been reunited to continue the blossoming friendship they started in basic training.
"It just so happens I would see the one person I actually had a relationship with in basic training," Wern said, "but it's taken on right where it left off. It's been like hanging out with your best friend from back home."
The two are already planning to take advantage of this unexpected turn of events by bringing their families together.
"It's been fun," Rice said. "Mike and I have done a lot together. I invited him out to St. Louis and he's invited me out to the big city, so I'm sure we'll get together again before another 20 go by."
Story and photos by Lt. Col. Paul Fanning
Guard Times Staff
ZUSSMAN URBAN COMBAT TRAINING SITE,
FORT KNOX, KY It's called MOUT training - Military Operations on Urban Terrain, and some New York City-based Army National Guard tankers proved again this summer they can do more than just live and work in the city and guard its bridges and tunnels from terrorists.
Nearly 200 members of Headquarters Company and Company A, 1st Battalion 101st Cavalry from Staten Island deployed to the Armor Center at Fort Knox, KY 10 through 25 August. The tankers and scout platoon troops took on the post's Zussman Urban Combat Training Site and a contingent of Naval Reserve CBs (Sea Bees) in a force on force engagement in a make-believe city designed to train troops for combat on city streets and buildings.
Sure, it's been done before, but this time was different. This time it included tanks! The Zussman site is the only center specifically designed for mounted combined arms urban combat training and, ironically, has only been used twice since its construction for its intended purpose.
And, it was different for an all-together different reason - all of these soldiers are veterans of the 9-11 terrorist attack in New York City. All had experienced extensive duty at Ground Zero, on or near the pile, and additional security duty throughout Manhattan in the weeks and months which followed. Nearly 80 members of the team that came to Fort Knox were also New York City police and fire fighters. Their service and sacrifices over the previous 11 months were not lost on their Fort Knox hosts, who considered it an honor to help them train.
The team from the 101st came to practice one of its critical mission tasks, attack on urban terrain. Fort Knox trainers were interested in testing new doctrinal concepts for armor units operating in urban terrain. The training scenario resembled what is commonly used at the Army's Joint Readiness Center. It includes a make believe independent republic, guerilla forces, and an ethnic enclave with a separatist movement. Sound familiar to all you JRTC veterans?
Team 101 deployed with two tank platoons, the scout platoon, an engineer squad and an additional platoon from headquarters company personnel serving as infantry. The New Yorkers cross-loaned M1A1 tanks from the Kentucky Army National Guard. The opposing force of Navy Sea Bees from Louisville, KY acted as the guerilla force, which occupied Zussman. The exercise gave this unit a chance to practice its infantry defense tasks. And for good measure, a mix of role-play civilians, including young people (Zussman includes a school building) were thrown in just to make the training "interesting." Everyone and each weapon system would be equipped with the familiar Army Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System training aids - laser tag. In addition to firing blanks in rifles and machineguns, each weapon emits a laser signal that can trip sensors worn by the participants thus inflicting simulated "casualties."
The cav's mission: liberate the town, drive off the guerillas and try not to inflict "too much" damage on the town and its civilian population. That was quite a lot to expect from one reinforced armor company, a unit much more used to operating in open fields at Fort Drum or the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA.
To accomplish that, the first days of the training were dedicated to tank gunnery training for urban situations and was followed by a company and platoon practice phase prior to the actual exercise against the "enemy." It was the usual crawl, walk then run Army approach to training. The tank gunnery training was based on a new tank table for urban terrain developed by the Fort Knox master gunner. The table applied doctrinal methods for evaluating, scoring and qualifying on a course which included urban roads and streets, buildings, alleys and various target arrays that pop up at short ranges. Most of this was done with hatches closed as the tank negotiates the range.
The main exercise came on the weekend of 16-18 August. After dark on the 16th, the scout platoon went forward from the assembly area and conducted reconnaissance of the objective. They located the defenders' strong points and scouted approach routes. The next morning, following troop leading procedures, the armor/infantry team moved forward. The infantry, including dismounted tankers, and the scout platoon went first and took up over watch positions.
Small arms fire burst forth as one of the infantry platoons attempted to get closer. The commander called for his fourtank armor platoon and the tanks came forward. The M1A1s took up firing positions outside the city and proceeded to engage enemy positions with machinegun fire, both coax and .50 caliber. Taking advantage of the covering fire and using available cover, ground troops made their way into the nearest building, the school, and cleared it of the enemy.
Meanwhile, the engineer squad went forward to secure the small bridge over the stream and remove any mines or demolition charges so the tanks could cross and enter the city. Specially designed buildings began to burn, simulating combat damage and casualties began to mount. One tank had been knocked out by a simulated land mine. With the bridge secured and the school building cleared, the commander ordered the armor forward. Two tanks entered the city under heavy small arms fire. Once across the bridge, the tanks were "engaged" by a simulated antitank weapon. Roman candle-like fireworks aimed at the tanks spewed from a junked truck in the square. An observer-controller ruled that at least one of the tanks was now disabled, but not knocked out. He tossed a smoke grenade on the back of the hull. Immediately, the other tank increased its covering fire and engaged the source of anti-tank fire.
It was at this point that the umpires threw the curve. Suddenly almost two dozen "civilians," including adults and young adolescents exited some of the buildings asking to surrender, for protection from the guerillas and asking for food, water and medical attention. As they made for the tanks, an infantry soldier called out to the civilians and waved them to a point safely behind the tank. In turn each civilian was searched and ushered into the captured school building. Once inside, the umpires signaled a halt in the exercise. The 101st had completed its training objective for that day. More was in store for later, but in little more than an hour, Team 101 had moved from the assembly area to attack positions, engaged the enemy, entered the city and secured the intended first objective building. It suffered about 30 percent casualties in the process, less than what was anticipated for the training.
"Overall the company did very well, displaying great cohesion and teamwork, high motivation, a willingness to learn and try new approaches, and a very steep learning curve. Company leadership was quick thinking, decisive, and displayed great flexibility and adaptability," wrote Capt. Michael Evans, head of the Fort Knox Observer/Controller team.
"I have evaluated Active Army Platoons conducting urban combat and rate this group from the 101 Cavalry as good as the Platoons from 101 Airborne," wrote master Sgt. David Biscaro, Fort Knox Master Gunner. "The 101 Cavalry accomplished their goals and can conduct and survive in an urban environment. These soldiers have proven again why they are the heroes of New York City and 9-11. They have gained the respect of the Active Army. I would serve with this unit and follow its leaders if ever called to serve with them. They have done their unit, battalion, brigade, division, NYARNG and the Army proud."
Story and photos by Maj. Richard Goldenberg
Guard Times Staff
WILLIAMSON As part of the summer's GuardHELP projects, soldiers from the 204th Engineers Horizontal Platoon supported the Town of Williamson in midsummer with the construction of three baseball fields at the Town Park.
"GuardHELP allows our troops to serve their fellow New Yorkers not just in time of war or emergency, but throughout the year," said Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Maguire, The Adjutant General. "(They) provide the Guard with an opportunity to perform military training and at the same time make a lasting contribution to community projects across the state."
Soldiers from B Company from Ithaca and Horseheads and the Headquarters and Support Company from Binghamton deployed with their equipment to this rural town near Lake Ontario, just east of Rochester.
"Our original mission was to build two ballfields here at the town park," said Sgt. First Class Edward Shrader, the B Company Horizontal Platoon Sgt. and the senior soldier on-scene for the project. "Working this 16 acre parcel as quickly as we could, though, a third ballfield came within the scope of our work and we should have that one finished two before we're done," he said.
With a full complement of Army National Guard bulldozers, graders, rollers, dump trucks and other heavy equipment on hand, the soldiers from the 204th Engineers made quick work of the terrain.
"This project is perfect," Shrader said. "It provides ideal training for our new troops. It gives these guys a chance to show their expertise and professionalism to local communities throughout the state," he said.
Coordination with the Town of Williamson was vital to put this together, said Mr. George Hailend, liaison for the the town. "I think of myself as the clerk of the works for this project," Hailend said. "This has been three years in the making, to put it all together between the town and the military.
"We set aside the monies for this project, but it was his volunteer contributions of time and effort that helped put the job together," Hailend explained. The project allowed the company to conduct skill training for soldiers while providing a unique opportunity to give cross-training to junior soldiers. "Engineering skills are perishable," said Staff Sgt. Robert Wildoner from B Company. "If you don't do it, you lose your touch."
The project in Williamson was one of many GuardHELP missions conducted by the 204th Engineers this summer. Soldiers from the battalion deployed across New York State to conduct community projects that provided unique training opportunities.
Battalion projects included such missions as transport of special soil to the Chenango Forks High School in Central New York. Troops from the Headquarters Support Company, based in Binghamton, transported 100 tons of special soil from Bechtelsville, PA to high school baseball fields using Army dump trucks.
In the Village of Lake George, some 60 soldiers from A Company in Oneonta, Walton and Riverhead and Headquarters Support Company helped to construct new cross-country ski trails at the Lake George Recreation Center. Using bulldozers, loaders, graders, compactors, and dump trucks, the soldiers removed stumps and rocks and provided grading for the trails, which will be open to the public.
In the town of Schodack, 25 B Company from Horseheads supported the construction of a new pavillion at the town park. Using a 25-ton crane, the soldiers set the trusses and roofing for the structure.
In Troy, 25 soldiers from A Company from Riverhead, Walton, and Oneonta supported local law enforcement with a new "live-fire house," designed for tactical law enforcement training.
GuardHELP, which stands for a process to HEAR local community needs, EDUCATE community leaders regarding Guard capabilities, establishing LINKs to align resources to projects, and PARTNER with local communities for the benefit of the people of New York and the training and readiness of Guard units.
By Major Richard Goldenberg
HQ, 42nd ID (M)
SARATOGA SPRINGS Three members of the Saratoga Springs Fire Department were honored by Thomas Curley, the city's Commissioner of Public Safety on July third for their exceptional service to the community.
What makes their contributions unique is that their service was in another uniform: that of the New York National Guard. Lieutenant John Betor, a member of the 42nd Infantry Division's Aviation Brigade Headquarters, Fire Fighter Patrick Rocco, a member of Company C, 427th Forward Support Battalion, and Fire Fighter Michael Woodcock of the 109th Airlift Wing all deployed in their military uniforms to respond to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.
"September 11th changed the way our country looks at its fire fighters, police officers, and EMS personnel," said New York State Assemblyman James Tedesco, on hand for the award ceremony. "The job they do is simply incredible," he said.
Both Firefighters Rocco and Woodcock were called to federal active duty. Sgt. First Class Rocco supported Operation Noble Eagle by providing security assistance to the state's commercial airports while Master Sgt. Woodcock deployed overseas for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lt. Col. Betor deployed to New York City on State Active Duty to help coordinate and support the recovery efforts of the city at the World Trade Center attack site.
"The state's Mutual Aid System brought many other agencies to the assistance of New York City, including the National Guard," said Saratoga Springs Fire Chief Robert Cogan, "The job these firefighters did was incredible."
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, DC The Defense Department is continuing its anti-drug efforts with a new policy that involves more frequent random testing of active duty military, reservists and civilian employees.
Signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz on July 31, the new policy reflects the reality that the nation is at war, Andre Hollis, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics, said Aug. 13.
"It's even more critical during war that our service members are mentally alert and physically fit. Drug use is inconsistent with that," he emphasized. "I'm sure that's the message you'll hear from the NCOs all the way up to the secretary of defense."
"We're going to increase our testing across all the services - active, National Guard and Reserve," he said. "That's very important, because all of our men and women in uniform and civilian members of DoD are involved in this war effort. It's critical that we all give 100 percent and that we're drug-free and able to help the secretary and the president in this war on terror."
Hollis said the new policy also calls for minimum, across-the-board consequences for anyone in DoD - military or civilian - caught using drugs. He said that he noticed during his review that rules varied across the services regarding drug use.
For example, he explained, in the past service members of different branches found using drugs under the same circumstances might have received different punishments. DoD is working closely with the services to come up with minimum uniformity to improve not only the sense of fairness, but also the clarity of the message, he said.
Hollis noted that message is simple: Drug use is incompatible with military service or civilian employment at DoD. "Drug use is not going to be tolerated. There are going to be consequences," he emphasized.
"We don't want people who are going to take drugs," Hollis said. "We want the 'best and brightest.'If you're going to take drugs, go somewhere else," Hollis concluded.
By Captain Andrea Bauer
HQ, 107th ARW
NIAGARA FALLS Students from two 5th grade classes at Clarence El ementary School were visited by firefighters of the 107th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineer Squadron June 18.
The firefighters deployed several months ago in support of Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the no fly zone over Southern Iraq. While they were deployed, students in Mr. Stillman's and Mrs. Gellerson's 5th grade classes sent letters and cards thanking them for their service. The firefighters answered the children's letters and sent each of them a Certificate of Patriotism.
"We were genuinely moved by the sincere gesture the kids made and would like to personally thank them with a visit before school lets out," said Master Sergeant William Correa, assistant chief of operations for the 107th Air Refueling Wing Fire Department. "We posted most of the children's letters at our deployed location to help boost the morale of others and to let them also know that their contributions to the nation do not go unrecognized."
During this visit, the children met the people they were mailing letters to face to face, saw a short presentation on the activities of the airmen while deployed, and had a chance to handle some of the equipment they used to do their job.
Guard Times Staff LATHAM Brig. Gen. Edward Klein, the commander of the New York Army National Guard, wishes to reinforce his policy for the separation of soldiers found in violation of the Army's substance abuse policies.
"Illegal drug use constitutes serious misconduct and is not compatible with military service," Klein states in his guidance to the field. "To maintain the high levels of readiness necessary to meet our community, state and federal missions, the New York Army National Guard must be drug free."
The commander's policy for drug use within the ranks is published below as it appeared in memorandum in April. As required by Army Regulation 600-85, New York Army National Guard soldiers identified as illegal drug users will be processed for separation within 45 days of receipt of a verified positive drug test.
"Processed for separation" means that discharge action will be initiated and processed through the chain of command to the separation authority for appropriate action.
In processing an individual for separation, commanders at all levels will make recommendations as to separation and characterization of service. Army Regulation 135-178, paragraph 12-8, sets the standard regarding retention and characterization of service. The regulation states, "characterization of service normally will be Under Other Than Honorable Conditions. For soldiers who have completed entry level status, characterization of service as Honorable is not authorized unless the soldier's record is otherwise so meritorious that any other characterization clearly would be inappropriate."
The Army standard regarding retention and characterization of service will be strictly adhered to. Command recommendations of retention, or recommendations for characterization of service more favorable than Under Other Than Honorable Conditions, will clearly articulate the exceptionally meritorious circumstances justifying the recommendation. Under no circumstances will unit strength be used as a justification to retain an illegal drug user.
In processing drug cases, use the procedures outlined in Army Regulation 135-178 for enlisted personnel, and National Guard Regulation 635-101 for Officer Personnel. Contact MNAR-MP at (518) 786-4608 or MNLA at (518) 786-4541 for technical guidance regarding the administrative discharge process.
By Lt. Col. Chuck Holmberg
HQ, State Area Command
NEWBURGH Members of the New York National Guard gathered at Stewart Air National Guard Base alongside civilian agencies from across New York State for a two-day conference on July 27-28th to discuss and plan for future medical challenges in terror response.
The training conference was co-sponsored by the Orange Country Commissioner for Mental Health, Mr. Chris Ashman. The concept came from his staff with experience with Project Liberty, the Federal Emergency Management Agency response to the mental health needs of responders and victims of the September 11th terror attacks in New York City.
Issues covered during the two-day training included the response of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), crisis counseling and lessons learned relating to the World Trade Center events. Presenters to the audience included not only Army and Air National Guard medical staff, but also noted Neuro-Psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Van Aken and members of the New York City Fire Department added to the dialogue.
By Major Richard Goldenberg
HQ, 42nd ID (M)
BUFFALO Members of the 42nd Infantry Division's Third Brigade came together on July 13th to dedicate the unit's battle simulation training suite at the Masten Avenue Armory.
The dedication officially names recognizes the training facility as the "Colonel Arnold H. Soeder High Tech Training Center," in honor of the unit's former commander who retired earlier this year.
The narrative for the Col. Soeder's career includes the successful completion of the Forces Command Leader Training Program at the National Training Center, numerous brigade-level combat simulation exercises, support of the V Corps Warfighter exercise, and several Rainbow Division Warfighter exercises. Additionally, he deployed with elements of the brigade to support recovery efforts at the World Trade Center.
Soeder's leadership positions include commander and executive officer of the Third Brigade, command of the 1st Battalion, 127th Armor Regiment and command of the 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry (Mechanized).
His dedication states that "in every case, Soeder's vision, determination, and ability to raise the performance of all of those around him and service to the nation cry out form formal recognition."
Book Review by Maj. Patrick Chaisson
HQ, 42nd ID (M) As the veterans of World War II pass on at an estimated 1,500 per day, they leave behind a growing number of wartime memoirs, a notable addition being Another River, Another Town: A Teenage Tank Gunner Comes of Age in Combat-1945 (Random House, 2002, $21.95), written by John P. Irwin.
Irwin joins the 33d Armored Regiment, 3rd (Spearhead) Armored Division, in March 1945. He is then an 18 year old corporal, eager to fight Hitler and become a hometown hero in the process.
Combat shatters Irwin's dreams of easy glory. From the gunner's seat of his M4A3 Sherman, this replacement tanker quickly learns the brutal, relentless reality of war. After two days in action he can already call himself a veteran, having killed German panzers and in turn watching his own tank loader die horribly.
Fear and fatigue become the young soldier's constant companions. So too does confusion. Tank gunners rarely see the big picture, and for Irwin combat means a bewildering blur of action, movement, unexplained halts and "one more objective". Time becomes as meaningless to Irwin as the towns and rivers his tank rolls past: Marburg to Paderborn, across the Weser River to Espchenrode - always advancing.
This teenaged corporal soon discovers that day and night, sleeplessness and hunger no longer matter in what has become the hardest struggle of his young life: the struggle to survive.
Irwin survives with the help of some memorable comrades. Not surprisingly, he bonds most closely with the other members of his crew. Irwin's tank commander, Sergeant Joe Matira, is a veteran armor leader who spends most of his time on the back deck due to severe claustrophobia. Private Graver, the driver, finds courage to fight in alcohol. He drives drunk through the heaviest fighting.
Another memorable character is Irwin's hard-bitten company commander, Captain Harkin. A fierce warrior, Harkin at first terrifies Irwin; the two later earn each other's respect as comrades-in-arms.
Irwin's memoir is remarkable for its strong images of tank wafare during the closing days of World War II. The author writes from inside the turret, describing only what he sees through the narrow view of his gunsight. What Irwin witnesses is horrific: a slavelabor camp in Nordhausen, menacing King Tiger tanks, the 12-year-old Hitler Youth boy who Irwin machine-guns before he can launch his Panzerfaust anti-tank rocket.
John P. Irwin's Another River, Another Town: A Teenage Tank Gunner Comes of Age in Combat-1945 is a worthwhile account of armored warfare, written from the viewpoint of an adolescent who grows up quickly in the inferno of battle. Bewildered, exhausted and never far from death, a generation of American tankers like John Irwin nevertheless rode the spearhead of Allied victory against Nazi Germany in World War II.
By Staff Sgt. Tracy A. Cain
HQ, 107th Air Refueling Wing
NIAGARA FALLS August 28, 2002 is a day that made history in the Messina family. When Andrea Messina raised her right hand and took the oath of enlistment, she became the third generation of Messina's to join the 107th Air Refueling Wing.
"I am honored to join the unit," said seventeen-year-old Messina, daughter of Maj. Michael A. Messina, 107th Security Forces commander, and granddaughter of Chief Master Sgt. Samuel Messina, who retired from the 107th ARW Communications Squadron in 1997.
"I am proud of her decision," said her dad. "It's part of good citizenship. She wants to serve her country, travel, and go to school, after she gets back from basic and technical training."
Andrea said she is excited to join the unit because she will now experience life from a different perspective, her dad's. "I am excited to go to the places my dad has traveled to and learn what he's lived," she said.
Andrea said her father's career has been an influence to her because she sees how happy he is working for the ANG and that his service inspired her to serve.
Growing up in a family who serves is a family tradition that started with the chief, originally from Dunkirk, N.Y. Family ties have kept the Air National Guard together for years. There are plenty of brothers, sisters, moms, dads, aunts and uncles working together in the unit.
"Families are an important aspect of this unit," said 107th ARW Wing Commander, Col. James W. Kwiatkowski, whose son joined the unit in 1999 and stepdaughter joined the unit in 2000. "When kids at home see their parents serving in various capacities, they model citizenship and kids pick that up, and our unit is fortunate to have another Messina. Their family has been dedicated, hard working and great to work with over the years. I'm sure Andrea will be a great asset to Team Niagara."
Story and photos by Betty Doherty
DCA Marketing Staff Writer
Courtesy of the Fort Drum Blizzard
FORT DRUM The 2002 USO Show provided a real morale boost to the members of the New York Army National Guard and the troops of Fort Drum who attended the July 31 performance. The three-member USO Troupe of Metropolitan New York presented a 45-minute patriotic performance.
Miss USO 2002, Laurie Ferdman, kicked off the evening with a little USO history and a rendition of the National Anthem. She was then joined on stage by Betsy McKibbon and Valisia Little, each dressed in a red, white or blue evening gown, as they sang "God Bless America."
During the second act of the evening, the three ladies sang a variety of American songs including "My Baby is American Made" and "New York, New York." One of the highlights of the evening came when the troupe sang "Proud to be an American," bringing the entire audience to its feet in a sheer patriotic response.
The performance ended with the traditional USO tribute to the armed forces including the "Army Song" and a respectful tribute to Bob Hope, "Thanks for the Memories."
Since that time, the USO has provided an array of services and programs designed to assist service members and their families. The USO show is only a small part of that - bringing a bit of home to those who serve.
The National Guardsmen present at this year's show have had a full year, having been called to duty for a number of events including the Sept. 11 attacks and the exhausting search period that followed. These soldiers were appreciative and clearly enjoyed the presentation. One soldier was overheard saying that this performance was "a real morale boost - nice to know that we are appreciated."
The members of the USO Troupe stayed after the show and signed autographs, posed for pictures and talked with the troops.
The USO (United Service Organizations) was formed in 1941 at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He challenged six private organizations - the YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Traveler's Aid Association and the Salvation Army - to handle the on-leave recreation needs for the members of the armed forces. The six organizations pooled their resources and the United Service Organizations - which quickly became known as the USO - was incorporated.