By Lt. Col. Paul Fanning Guard Times Staff LATHAM The man who has led the New York National Guard since 1995 and brought it to national prominence has stepped down. In a rousing ceremony attended by hundreds at state headquarters on June 26, Major General Jack Fenimore closed his 38-year military career.
The drill hall floor at the Division of Military and Naval Affairs was packed with state officials, employees, troops and family. A large American Flag covered the back wall. Martial music from the 199th Army Band, joint service honor guards at the entrance and a joint service color guard, which posted the service colors framed the brief but intense ceremony. In celebration of the Naval component of New York State's military forces, the Governor's representative and The Adjutant General were "piped aboard" as each was announced into the hall. Another Naval Militia representative struck a ship's bell to complete the formality as each stepped inside.
The ceremony included the playing of the National Anthem, an invocation and the reading of the Governor's proclamation, which made reference to the New York National Guard's resurgence in strength, dedicated service during state emergencies and outstanding community support under the guardHELP Program. General Fenimore was then awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal. A standing ovation greeted the general as he was called to the podium. Then it was time for him to speak to his team one last time.
"Screen writers write about history, actors imitate history, but the people I work with would rather make history. These are not the people who want to sit on the sidelines. They tend to be people who instinctively want to stand up and take responsibility for helping to shape the future. That's the kind of people you are, the kind of people I work with and that's what made this job so good," said Gen. Fenimore, the combat veteran and command pilot with more than 7,200 hours of stick time in military aircraft.
Over the years, troops and employees at state headquarters had grown accustomed to the near-monthly "TAG Calls" that the general conducted in order to keep them informed and to pass out awards and official recognition. He spoke to them that day in his familiar style, that has sometimes been described as a blend of "parental wisdom," scholarly and patriotic with a heavy portion of civility and humility.
By illustration, Fenimore reflected on the William Shakespeare play "Henry V" and a frequently quoted passage which begins "We happy few, we band of brothers…"
The general explained the historical background of the play and the specific passage, which he used to describe the feelings shared by public servants. According to the general, Shakespeare captured the essence of public service.
"His description of the bond that we feel, not just those of us in the military, but the state police, people in public service who work for the people in jobs that are hazardous…firemen understand that, all have the same connection," he said. "I thought that that would be a good example for me to use to explain to you why I couldn't leave this job for 38 years."
Fenimore thanked many people, but made special reference to his wife for her years of support and personal involvement as a dedicated volunteer to the ChalleNGe program, where she worked as a volunteer mathematics teacher, and to the State Family Support Program.
Fenimore's military career began with his commissioning as a second lieutenant through the Union College Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps and entrance to active duty in 1963. In 1965, he deployed to Southeast Asia as a C-130 pilot and flew 411 combat missions during his one-year tour in the Republic of the Philippines and Vietnam. After he was released from active duty in 1968, Fenimore joined the New York Air National Guard in 1969 as an aircraft commander in the 139th Airlift Squadron of the 109th Tactical Airlift Group. Subsequent assignments included operations officer positions at the 105th Military Airlift Group and at Headquarters New York Air National Guard.
In 1986, he was appointed commander of the 106th Aerospace Recovery and Rescue Group on Long Island, and in 1991 he was appointed Assistant Adjutant General for Air at the Division of Military and Naval Affairs. In July 1995, Governor George E. Pataki appointed him The Adjutant General.
General Fenimore had high praise for the state Commander-in-Chief. "I've got to single out Governor Pataki," said Fenimore, who praised the Governor's attention and involvement during state emergencies and attention to the National Guard. "He has been on the ground and personally involved with the state's response," said the general, making reference to the times he traveled with the Governor through the affected areas following natural disasters. "Everywhere we went, he wanted to know what more we could do to help the people. We are very fortunate that we have that man as our Commander in-Chief," he said.
"He has taken a personal interest in this National Guard," he said and described how the Governor would frequently make reference to the Guard at other public events. "He will frequently mention the National Guard as an example of what can happen when government works well and works for the people of this state," he said.
But, General Fenimore saved his highest praise for the men and women of the National Guard, Naval Militia and New York Guard. "Your performance over these last several years has been nothing short of remarkable. You have transformed the New York National Guard from an organization that didn't have the best reputation to a national leader. That is not an exaggeration," he said. Fenimore reflected on the many times the New York National Guard was praised by Pentagon and Guard Bureau officials during his trips to Washington, DC. "I never go there without them complimenting me on the work that you do. Your performance has been so spectacular over that time that you have succeeded in building a bridge to the future," he said.
According to Gen. Fenimore the work done by this National Guard team will prove to be the foundation will support the Guard of the future. "There will be a lot of people standing on your shoulders for what you have accomplished," he said.
"You have built a bridge to the future. It's going to be important," he said. "There probably will be more downsizing of the military. There will be more downsizing of the National Guard, probably both Army and Air. But, that doesn't mean it has to happen to New York State," he said.
"If you keep doing what you've been doing, it isn't going to happen to New York State, in all likelihood because of the reputation you have built. You will survive and thrive as a viable organization for decades to come. You have built that bridge to the future. These last few years have been your battle and you've beaten the competition. You have finished that competition Number One. You are among the top Guard organizations in the country and you can feel really proud of that," he told them.
"So I just want to leave by saying thank you so very much for what you have done. And, I can tell you that it has been a privilege for me these six years working on this team as your Adjutant General. Thank you so much." "These last few years have been your battle and you've beaten the competition. You have finished that competition Number One. You are among the top Guard organizations in the country and you can feel really proud of that."
WASHINGTON DC, (American Forces Press Service) - If you owed federal income taxes for 2000, a check for up to $600 will be in the mail for you by September. Lt. Col. Thomas K. Emswiler, executive director of the Armed Forces Tax Council in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy, said military members are as eligible as other taxpayers for the federal refund that's made headlines recently.
In an interview with the American Forces Radio and Television Service, he said the tax bill just signed by the president creates a new tax bracket of 10 percent and made the rate retroactive to Jan. 1. In the past, he said, the lowest tax rate was 15 percent, so the 5 percent reduction will allow most taxpayers to get a refund."
The law provides the mailing of refunds start in July and be complete by the end of September. Plans call for the first checks to be mailed on July 20 and the last batch on Sept. 28. Taxpayers will receive letters explaining how much to expect and when.
"If you filed a joint return last year and had at least $12,000 in taxable income, you'll receive a $600 refund," he said. "That $600 represents the difference between taxing $12,000 at 15 percent and taxing it at 10 percent as provided for under the new law.
"If you filed as head of household last year and had at least $10,000 in taxable income, you'll get a refund of $500. Most taxpayers who filed as single last year and had at least $6,000 in taxable income will get a refund of $300," he continued.
Persons claimed as dependents, such as children, college students and elderly parents, receive no refund. Further, Emswiler said, the refunds he cited are maximums -persons who reported less than the threshold incomes receive proportionally smaller refunds.
"But as long as you had some tax liability in 2000, you'll get a refund," he noted. Eligible taxpayers need only ensure the Internal Revenue Service has their correct mailing address, Emswiler said. Service members should notify the post office of moves or file IRS Form 8822, "Change of Address," with the IRS.
The IRS plan is to issue refunds according to the last two digits of taxpayers' Social Security numbers, he remarked. Refunds for those with "00" will be among the earliest checks mailed in July; "99s" will be among the last in September. The process is scheduled to take three months because 96 million checks are involved.
WASHINGTON, DC (American Forces Press Service) - DoD is further curtailing the anthrax immunization program due to inadequate supplies of the vaccine, DoD officials said June 11. Effective immediately only service members assigned to "special mission units" will receive the six-shot series. The action is necessary because of delays in DoD receiving FDA-approved vaccine from Bioport, the sole source of the vaccine.
Officials said they expect the Food and Drug Administration to approve Bioport, based in Lansing, Mich., for full production "no later than" March 2002, said Marine Maj. Gen. Randall West, special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense for chemical and biological protection. "We have not yet been able to re-establish the supply of certified safe and effective vaccine to continue the program on the schedule," West said during an interview with American Forces Information Service.
But until then, DoD will conserve the dwindling supply of approved vaccine. West said only small special operations units, people working on research and some congressionally mandated studies will continue to receive the vaccine.
This is the third slowdown for the immunization program. In December 1999, DoD stopped inoculating service members other than those deploying to Korea and the Persian Gulf. In November 2000, DoD stopped inoculating those bound for Korea. Now service members deploying to Southwest Asia will stop receiving the vaccine. "I wish we had vaccine available to continue the protocols and to continue vaccinating all of our people deploying there," West said.About 13,000 U.S. service members are deployed to Southwest Asia. "We'll also have to rely on an even greater way on our forms of protections: chemical/biological protection suits, detectors, intelligence collection and gathering," West said.
"The sooner we can provide this vaccination protection to the entire force, the better I'll sleep at night," he said. "The weaponized form of anthrax can be delivered by several munitions, is a very deadly threat. You can't see this, you can't smell it, you can't taste it, it's very difficult to detect and if you haven't been vaccinated, by the time you detect symptoms of anthrax, it's too late to save a person's life."
Service members who've begun the vaccination regime will not have to start over when vaccine becomes available. "Fortunately, even a couple of shots provide some resistance to anthrax," West said. "They'll be able to start the protocols where they left off.
Dear Guard Times Editor, "If you see us, then we're not doing our job to the best of our ability. If we fire our weapon, something went wrong…….very wrong."
Soldiers of the 27th Division in New York received a letter from the Adjutant General stating a reorganization of the 27th Division will be taking place in the future. It is rumored that like many other companies, the scout platoon will cease to exist and will be reorganized into another mos. I am a member of the Scout Platoon and I do not look forward to this event. However, I am a professional soldier and I will move on to my new assignment and continue to set the example for others to follow.
This year, we will be going to JRTC, the Joint Readiness Training Center. This is our last big Hoo-ah as Scouts. We will deploy into the box in advance of the rest of the Brigade. Many soldiers never see the scouts, let alone talk to them. I would like all the soldiers of the 27th Brigade to know that we look forward to serving you so that we may all return victorious. While many of us are not anxious to change our Military Occupational Specialties, just remember that any lessons learned at JRTC are most likely team oriented and can be applied to any task you're assigned to accomplish in the Army.
Reorganization to me means "you're outta here, you're history, you're gone, move on." In doing so, I would like to share my feelings of the 1st of the 108th Scouts with the rest of the Brigade.
The 1st Battalion of the 108th Infantry Regiment's scout platoon from Hornell, NY is proud to be the eyes and ears of the battalion. When they train, they train hard. Led by First Lt. Timothy J. Hoy, the men of the Scout platoon have seriously Battle Focused NCO's. A Platoon Sgt. that served as an instructor at a Survival School , a team leader that is a Ranger, a team leader that served as an instructor at an NCO Academy and a team leader that was nominated for "Soldier of the Year". These men are big on self discipline and they recognize the importance of leading by example.
What is it that makes up a Recon Scout? Integrity, guts, self-fortitude, the willingness to go the extra mile? Yes, it does take a lot of this, but then you can find these attributes in any military organization. If you ask a member of the 108th Recon "why" he is a scout, you'll most likely get the answer "Camaraderie !"
These guys do it because they are part of a team……a well oiled team. When the stress factor sky rockets and the weather is at its worst, our team leaders start to smile because they know the enemy is most likely going to look for elements of comfort. NOW is when Recon really starts to earn their money.
Scouts are rarely seen, seldom heard and never in short supply of motivation. They are indeed a special breed of soldier. They're not all Rangers, or Instructors or Soldiers of the year. They're a combination of everything recognized as "above and beyond." Highly trained? Depends on your definition. If you think specialized schools make a scout, well, that certainly helps but it don't quite fit the bill. If you consider performing AAR's during and after every mission a part of being highly trained, then you're on the right track.
By doing a good job at JRTC, we are telling everyone that it's the soldier, not the job, that makes the difference.
They learn from their mistakes and they will do whatever it takes to correct them so they can successfully accomplish their mission. Knowing that their buddies are going through the same pain and misery seems to make all the difference in the world. The Recon Scout knows that his buddy is not going to let him down and that's one of the best feelings in the world.
First in……last out. That's usually how it happens. Do they complain? Sure they do, they're soldiers ! Can you count on them to be your eyes and ears? I certainly hope so.
The next time you hear a rumor that the scouts are in front of you, have the confidence to know that they're doing the very best they can to supply you with the information you need to accomplish your mission.
Let's all go to JRTC and kick OPFOR's tail. It's our last opportunity to "lead the way" to the future. By doing a good job at JRTC, we are telling everyone that it's the soldier, not the job, that makes the difference. We can all take that attitude with us to whatever we're reorganized into and continue to set the example for others to follow.
Signed, Staff Sgt. Robert N. Nolan 108th Infantry Regiment Editors' Note: The 1-108th Infantry Scouts from Hornell, New York are scheduled to transform in 2004 into a Military Police Company. BUFFALO
Dear New York State Recruiters: This letter recognizes the hard work and devotion of every National Guard Recruiter in the State. Your mission goals at times are impossible to meet. You work so hard calling, setting up appointments and interviewing prospective soldiers. And after all your time and effort, out of the hundreds of leads you follow, you might end up with one possible recruit.
We must all face the reality that each member of the National Guard is a recruiter in everything we do The problem you face is that your mission goal is much more than just one recruit. And if you do not meet your numbers, you then face the prospect of late hours to somehow try to meet your mission.
We must all face the reality that each member of the National Guard is a recruiter in everything we do. And while the recruiter is the professional soldier seeking new recruits, it is not always their fault that those recruiting goals often fall short. There are so many factors that disqualify new prospects: the health history of the recruit, potential disabilities, drugs, criminal records, lying, lack of military discipline and plain indecision from the individual.
So I salute all the recruiters of New York and all the other states who tackle a stressful job and still achieve a job well done. And they do all this so that our units in the field can still be all that we can be.
Keep sending us the very best you can and we won't let them down.
Thank you. Respectfully, Staff Sgt. James A. Magyar Buffalo, NY
By Sgt. Major of the Army Jack Tilley Commentary Printed By Permission WASHINGTON, DC I returned last week from a visit to several CONUS installations, and I was reminded again of how little many of our soldiers appear to know about our transition to the black beret. Sometimes, I think I'm alone in talking about this. I would ask that each of you read this, pass it along to as many fellow leaders as possible and then get out and start talking about the beret and what's right for the Army.
In recent months, it has become increasingly apparent that opinions on the beret are nearly as numerous as the myths and misconceptions surrounding both the beret's history and our reasons for switching to it.
I've made it a point to talk about the beret with nearly every group of soldiers I've spoken with in my travels. Typically, I've asked for a show of hands from people who think the black beret is a bad idea. As a rule, about 20-30 percent of the soldiers raise their hands.
"What kind of units wore the black beret from 1973-1979," I begin asking the soldiers who raised their hands.
"What was the first unit in the Army authorized to wear black berets?"
"True or false - Rangers wore berets in World War II?"
"How many years has the Army talked about putting every soldier in a black beret?"
I think it safe to say that less than 20 percent of the soldiers who raised their hands can answer even one of these questions.
Beginning as early as 1924, I tell these groups, armor units in the British Army began wearing black berets for a few very simple reasons. For one thing, the color hid the grease spots tankers often left on their hats when putting them on and taking them off as they worked on their vehicles. Also, the beret allowed tank crewmen to comfortably wear radio headsets and push
their faces against the tank's telescopic sights.Although historians say a few Ranger units unofficially wore black berets during the early 1950s and again during the Vietnam War, the Center of Military History can find no photos or documentation indicating World War II Rangers were ever authorized to wear berets of any color.
The headgear did not become an official part of the Ranger uniform for another 25 years. In 1975, the Army authorized two newly formed ranger battalions to wear black berets - one year after both armor and cavalry units around the Army began wearing black berets.
Many soldiers say, "oh yeah," when I remind them that our Opposing Force units at the National Training Center, Joint Readiness Training Center and Combat Maneuver Training Center have worn black berets for years. Further, more than a few eyebrows go up when I explain to soldiers that armor and cavalry units throughout the Army were authorized black berets from 1973-1979.
A few months back, one old cavalryman even told me that when Chief of Staff Gen. Bernard Rogers decided in 1979 that only special operations and airborne units would be authorized berets, tankers in his unit objected to the decision and burned "their" black berets in protest.
Thus far in talking to literally thousands of soldiers about the black beret, only one person - a sergeant at Fort Gordon, Ga. - knew that the Army's leadership had considered transitioning the entire force to black berets for more than a dozen years. Each time, the decision was deferred because of other priorities.
During his first year as Chief of Staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki concentrated on building up momentum for our ongoing transformation. Only in his second year as chief did he decide the time was right for us to wear black berets.
At the end of my beret quiz, I ask soldiers to tell me what they know about the Army and our ongoing transformation. I'm proud to say most of us show a better grasp of transformation than we do the history of the black beret.
As I explain it, Gen. Shinseki's intent with transformation is to prepare the Army for the diverse missions our country is now asking us to perform.
Prior to Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein overran Kuwait in a matter of days and stopped his forces at the border north of oil-rich eastern Saudi Arabia. Mysteriously, he then sat for six months as we reinforced our rapid deploying airborne units. In the end, the mass of our combat power allowed us to achieve a quick, decisive victory.
Nobody will ever know for certain why Saddam stopped when he had our forces outgunned and outnumbered. Far more certain is the fact that the next dictator to challenge us won't repeat Saddam's mistakes. When future foes mobilize their forces, they will likely move quickly while hoping they can achieve their objectives before we can deploy our forces.
To be ready for that kind of showdown and to better prepare us for missions like those in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, Gen. Shinseki is transforming the Army into a force that's more agile, deployable and lethal.
It may be something of oversimplification, but I tell soldiers that - in the end - transformation will result in heavy units that are more deployable and agile and light units that are more lethal and survivable. The result will be warfighting formations that can deploy about as fast as today's light units but pack a lot more firepower and mobility.
So, as we move toward that goal, I ask groups to name the one uniform item that could symbolize that transformation . . . one item that has, over the years, been associated with both heavy armor units as well as the best light infantry unit in the world. Bingo . . . the light starts to come on as they connect the intent and importance of transformation with the diverse and historic heritage of the black beret.
Change is never easy, I tell soldiers, and I understand that. It's especially difficult in an organization as large and grounded in history and tradition as the Army. But, I also understand that we must change if we are to be ready for the challenges that await us in this new century.
I tell people that, for the most part, our military has done a poor job of envisioning and preparing for the next war. Typically, we have trained and equipped our military based on what was true in the last war while failing to see the coming of a different conflict that was often less than a decade or two away.
These mistakes have been costly - they have been paid for in the lives of our soldiers we lost in early battles in a number of wars. It is a testament to the greatness of our country and our military that we learned quickly in these conflicts and adjusted our equipment, training and tactics and achieved victory in the end.
But, it makes sense to me to begin changing with the world and design formations that are better suited for future conflicts. Not only could this make the difference in these yet-to-be battles, but it might let us avoid them entirely as future enemies gauge our capabilities and decide their best course of action is to avoid a fight with us at all costs.
The last question I typically ask soldiers is, "how many of you have ever celebrated the Army's birthday?" Sadly, I would tell you that maybe 25 percent indicate that they have.
That, I tell them, is about to change. In the future, we're going to take pride in the Army's heritage to the point that if there's two soldiers in a fighting position on June 14, I expect them to put a match in a piece of MRE pound cake, blow it out and then sing "Happy Birthday" to the Army.
I would hope that these thoughts would add a bit to soldiers' understanding of both the Army's transformation and the change to the black beret.
Thank you for listening and have a great Army day.
By Master Sgt. Bob Haskell National Guard Bureau FORT MEYER, VA It was Flag Day. It was the U.S. Army's 226th birthday. It was beret day.
Thursday, June 14, was a landmark day for the nation's soldiers - in the active Army and the Army National Guard and Reserve - because of the black berets with the distinctive blue flashes that became their official headgear during formations and cakecutting ceremonies around the world.
It is more than a new hat, and Army Guard officials embraced the significance for citizensoldiers in the eastern part of the country who began wearing their tightlyshaped berets on June's second Thursday and for those who will put them on as they are issued across the nation throughout the year.
"The black beret is a symbol of excellence. It's a symbol of the future for the Army," said newly promoted Lt. Gen. Roger Schultz, Director of the Army National Guard. "The beret is about a lighter, faster, stronger Army. The beret is about transformation. The beret is about an attitude that we share with fellow soldiers."
The black berets have stimulated patriotic and practical considerations since it was announced last October that the Rangers' distinctive headgear would become part of the Army's universal uniform except for paratroopers and Special Forces soldiers. They will keep their maroon and green berets. The Rangers are expected to begin wearing new tan berets in late July.
"For 25 years it has symbolized the speed and agility of Army Rangers. Before that, the black beret represented the lethality and power of tankers, armored cavalrymen, and mechanized infantrymen who wore it in the 1970s," said Gen. Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the Army.
"On the Army's 226th birthday, we extend the beret's legacy to the entire Army as we change to create a 21st Century Army that is more responsive, deployable, agile, versatile, lethal, survivable and sustainable than we are today," Shinseki added. The berets have also brought soldiers together, observed Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Lever III, the Army Guard's ranking enlisted soldier.
"They have gotten everyone talking about how to wear the entire uniform," said Lever before an early-morning birthday formation at Fort Myer, Va., on June 14. "People have gotten together to shape their berets properly, and they have exercised their chains of command to find out about wearing berets in garrison and wearing soft caps in the field. "I have been amazed to hear how excited our soldiers are about wearing the new berets," Lever said.
It's really not an issue, remarked one of the Army Guard's six outstanding soldiers of the year who, coincidentally, were honored in Washington, D.C., during the week of the Army's birthday and beret day. "Once I learned the true history of the black beret, that it has been worn by tankers as well as by Rangers, I understood the significance for all soldiers," said New York Army Guard infantry Sgt. Steven Scott, the recent First Army NCO of the year.
"I think it looks good on soldiers in other armies, and I think it looks good on us," Scott added. "Besides, if the Chief of Staff of the Army says the black beret will be part of the uniform, you put it on. What's so hard to understand about that?"
The Army Guard's director understands that the beret is one more indication that citizen-soldiers are part of the Army's big picture.
"When you qualify to be a soldier, you recognize that you're part of something greater than yourself. You're part of a team that is unlike any other," Schultz observed. "We are donning our berets with tremendous pride."
By Staff Sergeant Corine Lombardo HQ, 42nd ID (M) LATHAM With experience comes institu tional knowledge, and it's that knowledge of the field and more specifically our soldiers that will enable Command Sgt. Major Robert Van Pelt, recently selected New York's State Command Sergeant Major (CSM) to stand out as an effective representative for the enlisted soldiers of the New York Army National Guard.
With over 10 years serving as the Command Sergeant Major of the 53rd Troop Command, 187th Signal Brigade, 1-101st Cavalry and most recently the 42nd 'Rainbow' Division, VanPelt comes to the position with a great deal of experience dealing with soldiers' issues.
VanPelt is an outstanding choice for State Command Sergeant Major. He is highly committed to the Guard and the NCO Corps. He deeply cares about what he's doing and will do an excellent job for the enlisted force New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Major Robert Van Pelt in New York, said Brigadier General Joseph Taluto, 42nd ID Deputy Commander for Maneuver, adding "his commitment, hard work and ability to communicate made him a very successful Division CSM and will make him a highly successful State CSM."
As the senior enlisted advisor to the command, his primary responsibility is to keep both the Adjutant General and Army Guard Commander fully informed on regulations and policy changes pertaining to the enlisted force. Keeping them appraised of soldier issues brought to his attention through direct interaction with the soldiers of the Guard is his primary goal. "I will make myself available, whether by face to face meetings, telephone, mail, or email to everyone I serve. I am here for soldiers, not the other way around" said Van Pelt of his new responsibilities.
In addition to day to day problems, Van Pelt plans to concentrate his efforts on strength maintenance, Army Division realignment in regards to the 27th Bde and the College Tuition program. According to Van Pelt, "our strength maintenance issue has been a constant battle since the early 1980's. We have constantly tried to tailor or force to fit New York. We need to concentrate on increasing tuition assistance funding, which will give our recruiting force the one tool that has proven to be invaluable in increasing the strength posture of the state."
"I know the transformation of the 27th Bde is an emotional issue from speaking to many of our Brigade soldiers. What New York has done by stepping up and 'volunteering' to take such a measure is to insure that we stay a viable force into the future and open up the recruiting base needed to maintain our force. On the positive side, this transformation will enhance our posture. The diversity of the career fields that become available to our soldiers will provide training in jobs that can translate into civilian professions," declared Van Pelt.
"The one thing I would like to pass on to soldiers is that the easiest thing to lose is your integrity and this is also the hardest thing to recover. As we go through our careers, we need to do so with honor." Just remember, 'you can't lie to the standards.' We have too many soldiers sent home from schools for APFT failure or failing to meet weight standards. Leaders do not do their soldiers any favors by cutting corners or allowing them to get by when preparing to attend school. It is the soldier's responsibility to know where he actually stands prior to leaving for school," said Van Pelt. "Army Core Values. Learn them and live by them."
Story and photos by Rob Schuette Fort McCoy Public Affairs FORT McCOY WI A New York Army National Guard field artillery unit conducting its first annual training (AT) at Fort McCoy found challenging training that encouraged its members to further develop and fine-tune their warfighting skills this spring, according to the battalion commander.
Lt. Col. Frank Candiano, the battalion commander for the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery of Jamaica, NY, said the 1/258th was looking for a new place to conduct training and heard about Fort McCoy. The unit deployed to Wisconsin for training from May 26-June 9.
The new location allowed unit members to use their M- 109A5 self-propelled howitzers in a "shoot, move and communicate" mission, he said.
"The training here was based on if we were to be deployed to a Bosnian-type peacekeeping mission," Candiano said. "During the training, we were aggressed and had to react to that scenario. Bringing the unit here is very good as a retention tool."
Candiano said the mission also was successful because of the excellent training support by many Fort McCoy organizations, as well as joint efforts by Fort McCoy and some area Army National Guard units to help the 1/258th acquire necessary equipment.
"We were very happy to get the support we received and wouldn't have been able to do our mission without it," he said. "I hope we can come back here to train some day." Observer/controllers from the Fort Drum, NY, 3rd Battalion, 314th Regiment Training Support Battalion (TSB) provided important support and feedback to soldiers during their training and coordinated opposing forces actions.
Sgt. 1st Class Angel Lucas, an observer/controller for the TSB, said the soldiers were learning the soldier skills necessary to survive in a contingency environment.
"The soldiers are quickly grasping the information and learning fighting techniques from tactical configurations," he said. "They're learning how to build fighting positions and how to prove security (for an area) and force protection (for the whole battalion)."
Spc. Hiram Bonet of Headquarters Battery of the 1/258th said it was the second year of the exercise, which began last year at Fort Drum, NY.
"I'm building on what I learned last year and using it this year," Bonet said. "We built a tactical operations center last year, and this year I learned a lot more about how it operates."
Bonet said the unit usually trains at Fort Drum so unit members could improve their mapreading skills at Fort McCoy.
Sgt. Carlos Herrera, the C Battery NCOIC of an M-109A5 howitzer, said the variety of terrain features at Fort McCoy provided for outstanding training. The installation also has a lot of sandy areas, which helped the unit members become familiar with conditions they would encounter in desert duty, he said.
Spc. Roland Chouloute, an A Battery member assigned to C Battery, said the firing areas provided good cover and shelter for the weapons, as well as good clear areas for firing.
"We prepared for the mission as if we were going to be deployed, and it feels like we're being deployed," Chouloute said. Several members of A Battery were assigned to C Battery for the AT.
Capt. Clifford Cotten, the C Battery commander, said the mix of C and A battery personnel also might be similar to a deployment where soldiers may have to work with other unfamiliar personnel.
"The soldiers might know each other and perhaps compete against each other, but they hadn't worked together," Cotten said. "This training helps them work together as a team, and also is good for cross-training purposes."
History of the Washington Greys
The 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, which also is called the Washington Greys, can trace its lineage to the era of President George Washington. The unit was involved in many major wars, including the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The 1st of the 258th also served as an infantry unit from 1847 to 1908 before being converted and redesignated as an artillery unit.
Today, the Washington Greys, with batteries located Jamaica, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, provides fire support to the maneuver brigade's of the Army National Guard's 42d Infantry Division, known as the Rainbow Division.
Photos and story by Maj. Richard Goldenberg Guard Times Staff FORT DRUM A rainy weekend in early June for soldiers of the 27th Brigade Task Force (BTF) culminated more than two years of training to prepare for the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) this summer at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The weekend at Fort Drum was another opportunity to bring together the variety of combat and combat support units that will work together in the fictitious nation of Cortina to deter the aggression of insurgents and if necessary, defeat the regular forces of the neighboring nation of Atlantica. It is a scenario drilled into nearly every soldier of the task force.
On hand for the field training exerciser were elements from the Puerto Rican Army National Guard. Infantry soldiers and artillerymen helped to roundout the Orion task force. Soldiers from Puerto Rico will more likely welcome the climate at Fort Polk this summer than the chilly North Country temperatures of Fort Drum this June.
"This training is a once in a lifetime chance for me, no matter what the weather," said First Lt. Elban Rodriguez, planning the artillery's defensive fires of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry regiment's soldiers in the field. "Back in Puerto Rico, I work as a battery executive officer. Here is my chance to really get out to the field as a Fire Support Officer (FSO) with front-line troops. It's just great," he exclaimed.
The teaming concept for the Orion is at the heart of the task force training over the past two years. Along the brigade's defensive lines, soldiers can be found from all three infantry battalions with their Puerto Rican infantry brethren, their associated engineers, anti-armor, artillery, military police, and even 10th Mountain Division's armed reconnaissance helicopters providing an aerial screen to the Orion soldiers on the ground.
Orion soldiers and all their attached units have developed plans and contingencies for nearly every combat situation, enemy capability and weather hazard. Whether facing insurgents or mechanized forces, offensive or defensive operations, or icy wintry conditions versus the scorching temperature of the tropics, troops of the 27th BTF are primed and ready to execute JRTC rotation 01-09.
When looked at in total, the 27th Brigade Task Force will deploy nearly 6,000 soldiers to the JRTC this summer. National Guard, Army Reserve, and Active Army soldiers from more than 20 states will support the Task Force training with more than 1,500 vehicles and their equipment.
The rotation to Fort Polk is expected to run from July 30th through August 17th , one of the largest in New York's military history.
"This training is a once in a lifetime chance for me, no matter what the weather."
By Lt. Col. Paul Fanning Guard Times Staff SYRACUSE Junior enlisted personnel assigned to units of the 27th Brigade will be able to draw free government comput ers for personal use following the conclusion of the 2001 Annual Training season.
That is the word from the state headquarters recruiting and retention directorate, thanks to a new National Guard program launched from Washington, D.C. The "LINK" program (Learn, Invest, New and Keep) is providing computers nationwide to eligible enlisted soldiers in the grades E1 to E4 assigned to high priority units like National Guard "Enhanced" brigades. With a catch phrase of "Our LINK to Readiness, Communications and Soldier Success," National Guard Bureau officials view the effort as more than just a new benefits program, but as a journey into the future and a means to build a better and more capable Army National Guard.
The New York Army National Guard continues to receive its shipment of 630 desktop computers over the summer exclusively for 27th Brigade units. They will be delivered to the companies for issuance to soldiers sometime after the completion of the Joint Readiness Training Center rotation, which will be completed before the end of August.
The computers come with a 733 Mhz processor, 128 megabytes of RAM, a 17-inch monitor and a 56K modem. The computers also come with "Windows" and Microsoft Office software. The deserving soldier also gets free internet service. There is a technical help desk, program office and many dedicated full-time LINK employees to assist the soldier through any problems encountered.
What's the catch? The soldier must remain a member in good standing with a unit of the 27th Brigade and be MOS qualified for the position he or she holds. National Guard Bureau officials expect the free computer program will be an added incentive for young soldiers to remain in units that often suffer high rates of attrition. And, the internet service will enable these troops to connect to a world of computerbased training and distance learning through the Guard's "Virtual Armory" site (http://www.virtualarmory.com). Each user gets an email account, access to chat rooms and user groups. Personal use is expected and encouraged. The LINK system is not designed for official communication, however the computers and the email accounts are expected to enhance communication between unit members during non-duty periods.
"The troop gets to keep the computer as long as they remain a member of the brigade," said Maj. Edward Smith, Operations Officer for the recruiting and retention directorate. "Each unit commander will approve the issuance of a computer to a member of his or her unit. The commander, readiness NCO and recruiter are expected to review the unit roster to identify eligible enlisted soldiers in their unit and then select the troops to get the equipment," he said.
"Not too many years ago, it was a novelty to have a computer in the home. Today computers, cell phones, 'handhelds' and more, are taken for granted," wrote Maj. Craig Ekman from the National Guard Bureau LINK project team. "LINK is part of the National Guard moving towards the future. LINK is an investment in the success of our young people. These young people are the Guard's LINK to continued success," he added.
Guard Times Staff LATHAM The Senior Army Advisor to state headquarters retired early in June, and subsequently accepted a state position at the Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
Lt. Col. Charles Phillips completed more than 20 years of active duty with the US Army, culminating with his assignment as the Senior Army Advisor to the Adjutant General at state headquarters. During his tenure Phillips resurrected the Army Guard's company commanders training courses and was heavily involved in planning for the forthcoming 27th Brigade rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center this August. During a brief retirement ceremony at Guard headquarters, Phillips received the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal from the Adjutant General.
Major General Jack Fenimore praised Phillips for his dedication and achievements in helping the NY Army National Guard attain higher readiness levels and improved overall relationships with the active duty force. When it was his turn to address the gathering, Phillips talked about "faith, family and friends," and expressed his gratitude for the support and friendship he enjoyed while serving in Latham. "During my career I have served with many fine officers and NCOs on many staffs. The quality of the leadership at this headquarters is second to none," said Phillips.
After a brief family vacation, Phillips donned a suit and tie and reported back to the Division of Military and Naval Affairs to begin serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff for State Operations.
Guard Times Staff ALBANIA A leadership team from the Headquarters New York Army National Guard traveled to Eastern Europe in May to further a growing relationship with an emerging democracy.
Colonel Paul Duttge, Army National Guard Chief of Staff and Major David Martinez operations officer conducted a week-long visit to the Republic of Albania under the auspices of the National Guard "Partnership for Peace Program," which matches National Guard states with former eastern-block nations. The purpose is to expose these new democracies to the emergency response capabilities of America's National Guard and the value of a communitybased, reserve, citizen-soldier force.
The NY National Guard obtained approval from National Guard Bureau back in January to officially become an associate partner with the Republic of Albania, along with the New Jersey Army National Guard, Albania's primary partner. The United States European Command (EUCOM) then authorized an official visit by NY National Guard leaders to Albania. The trip was conducted May 20-26.
Col. Duttge and Major Martinez met with the Albanian Ambassador, and were then introduced to senior leaders of the Albanian military. This included Brig. Gen. Pleeumb Qazimi, Chief of Staff of the Albanian Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Kostaq Karoli, commander of the Albanian Land Forces and other officials of the general Staff, civil protection base, commando brigade and military liaison team.
The program is expected to continue with official visits and tours of facilities and lead to joint training events organized through diplomatic channels and in coordination with the Albanian military and the joint military liaison team. The NY Army National Guard will assist New Jersey and EUCOM with these events. New York hosted a fiveperson Albanian delegation visit to the NY Air National Guard's 106th Air Rescue Wing during the week preceding the visit to Albania. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the Albanians on Air Rescue operations.
In addition to supporting Albania, the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters contributed a three-soldier team in June to support the Vermont National Guard partnership with the Republic of Macedonia. This team provided briefings on U.S. military staff organizations and their functions.
By Staff Sgt. Martin Bannan HQ, 109th Airlift Wing THE NORTH POLE, ARCTIC Aiding scientific research at the top of the world, a 109th C-130 airdropped needed materials and sup plies, near the geographic North Pole on April 5, for a temporary sea-ice camp being built there to facilitate construction of a long-term climate observatory (LTO).
The observatory, according to Tom Quinn, Greenland logistics manager for Value Engineering Corporation (VECO, The National Science Foundation's Arctic science support contractor), will be anchored to the ocean floor and provide data regarding sea temperature, salinity, ice thickness, etc. The observatory will be part of a large network that is being established to monitor and validate possible global warming trends.
Flying out of Thule Air Base, the 109th crew prepared twelve container delivery system (CDS) bundles consisting of jet fuel, gasoline, and mooring chain over a several day period, Quinn said. "The jet fuel was critical to support Twin Otter operations to/from the North Pole," he explained. "The gasoline was required to power the generators that would deploy the experiments and the mooring chain would ultimately be used to tether a buoy with the experiments to the ocean floor. All of this material was critical to ensure the success of the program."
"A lot of planning went into this drop, starting last October at the Arctic Planning Conference, explained Mission Commander Lt. Col. Ernest Grey. "Aerial Port had to purchase the materials and pre-deploy to Thule to prepare the loads."
Prior to departure, Maj. Linda Dills, 109th Greenland Coordinator, worked out the logistics of getting the people to Alert, Canada's northern most ice station on Ellesmere Island, in time to establish their camp near the North Pole. Maj. Walt Clark, lead navigator for the mission, arranged the drop zone markings with the receiver before deploying. Other crewmembers were Maj. Gary James, Aircraft Commander, Capt. David LaFrance, Co-pilot, Maj. Marty Phillips, Radar Navigator, Tech. Sgt. Maurice Huard, Flight Engineer, Master Sgt. Mike Peck, Evaluator Loadmaster, Tech. Sgt. Karl Hilbert and Tech. Sergeant Aaron Lancaster, Loadmasters In all, 43 drums of aviation diesel, two drums of gasoline and three drums of mooring anchors were dropped successfully, Quinn reported. "The drop technique used is called "high-velocity" drop," he said. "Four drums are positioned on top of several layers of cardboard honeycomb all enclosed in a canvas container, and a 26 foot ring slot chute is attached on chute does not slow the descent much, but it serves the purpose of stabilizing the load so it lands right side up. The honeycomb cushions the impact. It is impressive when the bundles hit because it sounds like rapid gun fire." Quinn expressed gratitude on behalf of both the LTO program and VECO saying, "We wish to extend our sincere thanks to the 109th AW for the outstanding support in making this difficult mission happen with 100% success."
By Tech. Sgt. Trish Pullar and Airman First Class Ann-Marie Santa HQ, 105th Air Wing NEWBURGH Aircrew members of the 105th Air WIng say training in the unit's new C-5 flight simulator is the best way to be prepared for unexpected situations.
"I've been more anxious about my former road trips to LaGuardia Airport when I worked for Eastern Airlines than I ever have in the air," said Col. Mark White, 105th Operations Group commander. White, who has 32 years of experience as a pilot, said, "Flying is very safe-there aren't as many 'drivers on the road,' so-to-speak. But as a pilot and aircrew member, you still want to train for those unexpected incidences. There are scenarios that we train for over and over again, so when and if they do happen, everyone knows what to do."
The 105th's new C-5 simulator officially came on line last month. The state-of-the-art simulator, built by CAE Inc, a Canadian company and a subcontractor of FlightSafety International, will be used for pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and maintenance engine run training. Personnel from FlightSafety Services Corporation, a subsidiary of FlightSafety International, will administer the simulator training. FlightSafety has provided aircrew training for pilots, flight engineers, loadmasters and maintenance technicians since 1989.
Paul Godfrey, FlightSafety site manager said there are many benefits to having a simulator here at Stewart. "Having the sim located here gives us more training flexibility since the aircrews no longer have to drive out to Westover Air Force Base (Massachusetts)."
137th pilot Maj. Ed Krafft said the simulator is "a great tool" for aircrew members. "We'll have more opportunities to perform 'on-demand' training. This is more reliable, for training purposes, than an actual aircraft. I can fail two engines in a simulator-which I obviously can't do in an actual aircraft-and practice emergency procedures. I can change the weather so that we have to practice landing in a hurricane. Any weather we want to simulate flying in can be reproduced. It makes our training more efficient," he said.
Inside the fully-enclosed cab, which is nearly identical to the cockpit of the C-5, are two on-board instructor/operator stations that allow pilot and flight engineer instructors to control and monitor all aspects of training either as a team or separately in the independent-crew training mode. Using touch screen technology, the instructors plan and lead the training exercises. "This (touch screen technology) allows the instructors to change conditions on the pilots easily and quickly," said Jean-Pascal Deschaies, an integrations specialist with CAE, Inc.
According to Col. Mark White, Operations Group commander, local training missions will be significantly reduced. "We currently run about 15 locals a month or about four a week. It costs $10 thousand per hour to fly the C-5 and each mission lasts about four hours. This means that it costs about $4 thousand per training mission. The simulator costs about $3 hundred per hour to operate with all the power and hydraulics, and so forth. At four hours per mission, that's $12 hundred for each training session. The savings are enormous," he said.
By Maj. Bob Bullock HQ, NYANG LATHAM When Maj. Gen. John H. Fenimore, V stepped behind the bagpiper at the conclusion of his retirement ceremony, June 26th,and walked off the drill shed floor for the last time, he brought to a close a distinguished 38-year Air Force and Air National Guard career. That career was marked by an acclaimed sense of dignity and an innate sense of commitment to the betterment of conditions for the men and women who comprise New York State's military forces.
There were many factors that enabled this professional to succeed in his decades of service. He has been described as possessing unimpeachable character, an insatiable thirst for knowledge, a belief in the inherent goodness of mankind and a sense of nobility that was part of his makeup, no doubt, a carry over from his ancestors including famed 18th century American author James Fenimore Cooper.
To the general, the position he was leaving represented the optimum. Not only was it service, it was an opportunity to care for the needs of others who served. In a personal interview for this publication, General Fenimore reflected on this concept of duty and his career as a lifetime of memories were being filed away into boxes.
For Fenimore, the ascent to the TAG position began with the position of interim adjutant generalin1995. "IwasalittlesurprisedwhenIinitially received the call asking me to be interim," the general said. "I had not applied for the job and knew there were others eligible. Several weeks later, in July, the (permanent) appointment was confirmed."
From the outset, the Air National Guard general placed a priority on strength and readiness in the Army National Guard, perhaps the agency and the forces' greatest challenge of the time. In addition, said Fenimore, significant attention was placed on the creation of an aggressive tuition assistance program as a tool for recruiting and retention, and increasing the role of the New York National Guard in state emergencies.
"As I viewed the challenges facing the agency, I focused on things that I knew we could do better," Fenimore said. "We were like a new business in an entrepreneurial phase," he continued, pointing to the tuition program, guardHELP and expanded support to communities after emergencies as examples of the new agency priorities which would ultimately assist in taking the division to a more mature phase. At the same time, the general energized the public and government affairs departments to assist in telling the public-at-large about what the New York National Guard was starting to do.
Once the agency passed into a more mature phase of development, the management could concentrate on more day-to-day operations, the general said. This, he commented, would have to, one day, be followed with another entrepreneurial phase for the New York military forces to remain relevant.
As he closed out his tenure as the adjutant general, just how did Fenimore feel that he and the agency had done in realizing an ambitious vision during some of the most challenging times for the military in the modern era? He recounted the victories force by force.
Fenimore pointed to the success the NY Army National Guard had achieved in going from last to first in the nation in recruiting. The general feels that the 27th Separate Infantry Brigade's eventual shift from enhanced combat brigade status to a combat support role, as part of the Army Division Redesign Study program, will be key to future Guard success both federally and as a tool for future state emergencies.
"I am confident that this change to combat support will work for the 27th," the general said w regarding the conversion. "It is difficult for people to undertake change at this level. Yet, for the 27th, it will make them more useful to the people of New York coping with the aftermath of natural and manmade disasters. They will also be more relevant to the Army. With the completion of the transition, they will realize the satisfaction from the greater demand for their services," he said.
As for the New York Air National Guard, Fenimore pointed with pride to the ability of the nation's largest state Air National Guard force to maintain its unprecedented diversity of missions. "As the largest state Air Force, we are more vulnerable than the smaller states to cuts," he stated. "It is a credit to leadership and support at all levels that we have been able to maintain our missions and create others that have added to our relevance. In addition, we have done well at recruiting and retaining good people who have come through time after time in Air Force inspections." It is these inspection results, he suggested, that have assured the security of New York's missions for the future.
The general went on to point with pride at the accomplishments of the New York Naval Militia, a force with few rivals nationally. "The New York Naval Militia was transformed by its leadership and its people, from a seldom used organization to one that is active in responding to state emergencies. Through its successes, it has become a model for other states seeking to form state Naval Militias.
The general also pointed to the success of the Naval Militia in adding the Coast Guard to its ranks. "It is a very professional force rivaling the Army and Air National Guard in the up-to-date way it conducts its business, he said.
The general offered comparable praise to another somewhat unconventional force: the New York Guard. "They, like the Naval Militia, deserve credit for integrating their forces into ours during state emergencies," the general commented.
Throughout his tenure as adjutant general, Fenimore had developed a national reputation for his work in conceiving and implementing the National Guard's response force for homeland defense. Through his unflagging support of the creation of the Civil Support Teams-Weapons of Mass Destruction, New York was given one of the first teams and the adjutant general was selected to sit on several national steering groups for homeland defense. This, others reflected, would be one of his most significant achievements while in office.
"Our Civil Support Team is the best in action today," he said with pride regarding the group he helped establish. "By virtue of its leadership and the strength of its people, New York can proclaim that it continues to have the premier CST team in the nation."
As he continued, reciting a litany of formidable achievements in each of the state military forces, one obvious question arose: What has enabled New York's military forces to accomplish so much at a time of program constraints that are realized annually in virtually every federal military force? The answer, according to the general, lies with the people of the state forces themselves, the leadership of the headquarters and the unwavering support of the Commander-in- Chief, Governor George E. Pataki.
Of the people, the general said, "I am encouraged that so many people put value on the soft worth of military service over net worth. Their recognized objective is to protect the people of New York and the United States should there be conflict at home or overseas. I am amazed and heartened that we have as many people like that."
On the role of the Governor, the general was unequivocal in his praise. "I have served four governors in appointed positions, he said. "Of the four, Governor Pataki's intensity, level of support and determination to use his Guard forces in state emergencies far exceeds that of any of his predecessors. This is something the Guard hasn't seen in generations," he said with gratitude.
In the days following his retirement, the adjutant general indicated that he would take a brief pause from a life of accomplishment and duty. Then it is on to the future, possibly consulting or teaching. And, he stated, "I will continue to help New York in those areas where I have been active."
What will he miss? "The people," he said without hesitation. "I will miss the people and if I were to pass on a parting message, it would be: 'stay positive. The future for the New York National Guard is bright.'"
by Paul Morando Army News Service NEW YORK CITY Cold and rainy conditions didn't stop the Army from kicking off Fleet Week May 23 in New York City with a bang from its salute guns battery.
Through the thickening fog, soldiers of the Fort Hamilton Garrison battery fired salutes to the passing ships that included two foreign vessels, Britain's HMS Marlborough and the Dominican Republic's Juan Alajandro Acosta.
Both foreign ships were honored with a 21-gun salute by the battery, which was armed with four 150mm Howitzers. Positioned along the stretch of water known as the Narrows in Brooklyn, historic Fort Hamilton is one of five installations designated to return salutes to foreign vessels of war.
Only eight of the 14 American ships made it under the Verrazano Bridge into New York Harbor to complete the 'Parade of Ships' program. The USS Shreveport, USSS Kaufman, USS Carney, USS Barry, USS Roberts, USS Mahan, USS Laboon, USCGC Tahoma, US Coast Guard Cutter Willow were rendered a one-gun salute by the battery comprised of military policemen of the 152nd detachment.
The remaining six eventually trudged their way into the harbor to begin the weeklong celebration in New York City
Commanding the USS Carney, Cmdr. Mike Jacobsen, who's originally from Brooklyn, got a chance to guide his ship home.
"It has to be particularly exciting for Commander Jacobsen to be saluted by his birthplace," said MEPS Commander Tim Garrold, as he watched the USS Carney slowly stroll into the harbor.
"It's awe inspiring to see these ships come in and I feel really proud to be an American."
The last American ship to enter the city was the USS John F. Kennedy. The mast just cleared the underbelly of the Verrazano Bridge as the battery fired a 21-gun salute to the giant Aircraft carrier. The parade of ships was delayed due to inclement weather and the order of the ships was based according to the commanders' discretion. But the weather didn't deter Garrold, who came out to witness the event.
"For the sailors on the ships to see people standing in the rain makes them feel like what they do is appreciated." Brooklyn resident, Tom Trombone agreed. "It's awe inspiring to see these ships come in and I feel really proud to be an American."
People from all over the country came to observe the ships. "It's such an awesome site," said Andrew Ryan, visiting from New Mexico. "To witness this century-old tradition of saluting between the services is just impressive."
"As the only active military installation in the metropolitan area, our mission reaches across all services," said Fort Hamilton commander, Lt. Col. Rodney Gettig. "It's more than just an Army mission. We have a Department of Defense mission and it is an honor for my soldiers to lead the way for Fleet Week 2001."
Story and photos by Major Richard Goldenberg Guard Times Staff WEST POINT Members of New York's 2d Civil Support Detachment for Weap ons of Mass Destruction (CSDWMD) deployed to the lower Hudson Valley this May to support an antiterrorism exercise on the grounds of the Army's Military Academy at West Point.
The U.S. Military Academy regularly conducts exercises to evaluate the ability of the federal installation to respond to a terrorist threat or a mass casualty incident. The inclusion of the CSD added even more realism and valuable training for the incident responders.
The training scenario focused on a potential terrorist incident at a West Point football game, intending to use a chemical agent to inflict mass civilian casualties. The use of the CSD to respond to the crisis was a natural fit for the team, which trains to detect, identify and mitigate the potential use of weapons of mass destruction on U.S. soil. The detachment, based in Scotia, is deployable by air or ground within four hours of notification.
"It just so happens that our team is part of the federal support package to West Point for antiterrorism operations," said Lt. Col. Robert Dominici, commander of the CSD. "We've spent so much time working with local and state agencies that we were really looking forward to teaming up with West Point officials for their exercise," he said.
For a federal training exercise, West Point included nearly every item of realism. Local emergency responders worked side by side witlh the Army installation's Provost Marshall office and Fire Fighters while military medical personnel coordinated the needs for casualty evacuation ant treatment at local civilian hospitals.
By Sgt. Steve Petibone Guard Times Staff CAMP SMITH Heat, humidity and young mothers keeping infants quite capped the annual graduation ceremony of 41second lieutenants.
"Be where the action is, be with your soldiers," said guest speaker Maj. Gen. Michael Van Patten, commanding general of the New York Army National Guard. "It isn't officers that make an Army, it takes soldiers." After addressing the candidates, Van Patten and Col. Frank Ombres, commander of the 106th Regional Training Institute, presented awards to graduates for achievements during their training.
The Erikson trophy for first distinguished honor graduate went to Second Lt. Robin Hille while Second Lt. Michael Alfano was named second distinguished honor graduate. After taking the oath of office and allowing family members to pin on the rank of Second Lieutenant, Van Patten issued the new officers their first order by dismissing them, to which they responded with black berets flying into the mid-afternoon sky.
"We are representatives of each other," said Second Lt. Mathew Burkert, "To get through officer basic training is a team effort from every soldier." "I'm still trying to get used to the sensation of being an officer," stated Second Lt. Julie Nogle.
Officer candidate school is an on-going process of selecting and training soldiers that meet Army standards as well as being approved by their battalion commander.
"Besides being recommended by their battalion commander, a soldier also has to have a minimum of 60 college credits to get in and 90 credits to graduate," said Lt. Col Charles Donaghey, executive officer, 106th RTI. "They also must have a secret security clearance and a chapter two type physical, which has a higher standard than an enlisted physical."
The OCS training schedule is separated into four phases. Phase zero is a preliminary to getting started in the OCS program at Camp Smith. Its purpose is to evaluate the mentality, skills and leadership abilities of each officer candidate and to get him or her into the mind-set of becoming an officer.
Phase one includes training conducted at Camp Rowland in Niantic, Connecticut. The training in Phase one consists of candidates from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Candidates are assessed on leadership skills, use of the chain of command, training management and a field-training exercise.
Phase two is conducted at Camp Smith. This is the basic core of candidates training. Classes range the entire spectrum of leadership considerations, from combat operations to supply and logistics for the potential officers.
The third and final phase is conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia. This is the "polishing" phase right before graduation. Candidates hone their leadership abilities in team building programs such as tactical field training maneuvers and negotiating through the leadership development (obstacle) course.
The graduating class concluded their ceremony with a luncheon with distinguished guests and their families in the officers quarters at Camp Smith.
Story and photos by Master Sgt. Jeannine M. Mannarino New York National Guard Counterdrug Program CAMP BOYHAVEN, SARATOGA COUNTY As 161 young members of the New York National Guard Corps of Cadets assembled at the amphithe ater of Camp Boyhaven in the town of Middle Grove, one thing was evident. They were anxious to kick off the Northeastern Region's annual summer camp and were ready for the challenges the next four days had in store. By day, the Cadets participated in archery, team-building exercises, swimming, ropes course, land navigation and competed in the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge and the rafting event. By night, the five Regimental Corps, including the 1st Battalion 105th Regiment from Schenectady; the 3rd Battalion 108th Regiment from Gloversville; the 93rd Regiment from Glens Falls; the 10th Regiment from Albany; and the 13th Regiment from Saratoga Springs, retreated to their own campgrounds. The cadets sat around the campfire singing songs, playing games, roasting marshmallows and snacking.
Each event, physical exercise, team competition or social gathering, was designed for the Cadets to learn how to work together as a team, and how to overcome personal issues and leadership challenges as part of the process. Which, according several cadets, are often found rewarding and disappointing at various times.
During this year's camp, the cadets had a very special visitor. Someone who believes that learning to lead is critical for themselves and their own future. "Leadership is the most important gift that we can provide to these young people and yet is one of the most difficult. Our children all too often choose the wrong heroes or the entertainment heroes or icon heroes. Instead of the real heroes, the silent heroes, like they're own parents, or the person right in front of them," said award-winning television and movie actor John Amos.
Amos came to camp to be with the young members of the Guard's program, to fulfill a promise he made late last year to the New York National Guard. That promise included visits to cadet summer camps across the state this year. Amos said he is deeply concerned about all youth and especially those considered "at risk," and is now partnering with New York's Counterdrug Program to foster the cadet program and launch a new youth program he is presently developing through his own Halley's Comet Foundation.
To be a good leader "You have to be responsible, dedicated, strong minded, loyal and you have to have heart" added Cadet First Sgt. Teensha "Bug" Constantopoulos. Cadets Shameika Constantopoulos (Bug's sister), Crystal Wilson and Amanda Fennicks from Schenectady's 105th Regiment agree. "You have to have pride. You have to be able to put your body and mind into being a leader. Just like when we're at home we practice; calling out cadences, preparatory commands, saluting and facing movements in front of our bedroom mirrors so we can look as sharp as possible," said Wilson.
"Bug is the one who taught me how to march when I first joined the Corps of Cadets one year ago. Bug always takes care of us. She's like an angel, she calms us down when we need it," Wilson said. All four girls said that "it is very difficult learning how to become a good leader. First of all, you have to be able to follow directions, understand, and you need to be able to communicate with the cadets. As a leader, if the Cadets don't come up to us with their problems then we don't know what's going on. It makes you feel really good when they do approach you." Wilson said. "There are always obstacles when you try to be a good leader. Sometimes you feel really low to the ground because you make a mistake that's when you really need your friends here in the regiment. Because they are always there to build you back up again." Wilson said.
Learning to be a good leader is very difficult and demanding, as Cadet Lieutenant Melissa Fischler, 93rd Regiment, found out over the past few years. Fischler found that doubting and being too critical of oneself wasn't the best way for her to deal with leadership issues effectively.
"I learned that it's not worth stressing out over the little things and that you have to listen to orders." Fischler will never forget the lessons that she learned at last year's summer camp when she expected too much from herself and her Cadets. "I had a lot of fun, but I expected too much. I doubted myself and I yelled at the cadets all the time. It's really not me. I made myself mad, I was afraid that no one would like me, but this year I got over it. I realized that I need to cope with my feelings of not being good enough." Fischler said. "Fischler's overall attitude is what makes her special. If there's a problem, instead of whining about it she steps up and brings the issues to the table. She sets and excellent example. The Cadets use her as a confidant, she can be trusted" said 93rd Regiment, Parent's Association members, Polly Booska and Shelly Buckley.
"Patience is what's important in helping other cadets get through and making sure things are done right and on time. Trust is important with the cadets, without trust you don't have anything. I also have to have courage to be able to tell someone to do something." Cadet Staff Sgt. Kristain Brooker, 3/108th Regiment said.
Brooker joined the Corps of Cadets a few years ago, but due to family problems he had to leave the program. Brooker rejoined his fellow comrades two years later and jumped back in with the help of the other cadets. "I owe a lot to Cadet First Sgt. Spraker because of all the teaching and rehabilitation that I needed to get me back as a leader once again." Ten years after the inception of the New York National Guard Corps of Cadets program, another sign of success for the nationally recognized youth program is evident - past graduates of the anti-drug program coming back in significant numbers to serve as cadre.
Assistant Cadre Rebecca Johnston, Adam Coonradt, Alison Stark and Ashlee Coonradt agree that they missed the program so much, that they felt as though they needed to come back in a different capacity. "We were in the same boat years ago, as graduates of the program we now have the middle ground as Assistant Cadre. The Cadets can come to us and we can work with them. " Johnston said.
"I learned so much about leadership from the 10th Corps. I learned how to use different types of authority. I learned how to balance some of the cadets that have anger management problems. I also learned over the years how to pull the best out of the Cadets." Stark said.
By Lt. Col. Paul Fanning Guard Times Staff PEEKSKILL The New York National Guard ChalleNGe Youth Op portunity Program for high school dropouts gradu ated its 16th iteration at its home base at Camp Smith in Cortlandt Manor on June 22nd. More than eleven hundred young people have now completed the program since it began in 1993.
Lieutenant Governor Mary O. Donohue delivered the keynote address to the graduates and the hundreds of family members and friends who attended the ceremony at Camp Smith's parade field. "New York State's eightyear ChalleNGe Program not only serves as one of the best in the entire country, but it has changed the individual lives of 1,150 young adults," said the Lt. Governor. ChalleNGe put these graduates on a new and better course that helps make graduates better citizens, she added.
"Your progress during the course of the past six months has shown your willingness to grow, to develop yourself," she said to the graduates, adding that it is never just the program that makes the difference, but "It's you, the graduates that make the difference."
"Many of you graduating today may have learned a lot about character here, or through your homes," said Lieutenant Governor Donohue, who spoke of the Governor's efforts to bring character development to public education statewide. "We hope that the ChalleNGe Program was an important ingredient in what I see here today. Look at this discipline and character. An outstanding example," she added. "It's good to see it here at Camp Smith."
Joining the Lt. Governor was New York Giants standout full back Charles Way, who now serves as the team's Director of Player Programs. The Philadelphia native and University of Virginia graduate came to represent the National Football League Alumni Association's "Caring for Kids" program, which supports numerous youth-oriented organizations and charities. Way is ranked seventh on Virginia's all-time career list with 20 touchdowns and joined the Giants in 1995. He became the team's first rookie since 1989 to get a starting position by the first game of his first year with the team, and was named 1997 Offensive Player of the Year.
"After you leave here and where ever you may go, you are going to have to teach other young kids and give back to your community, so they won't make the same mistakes you've made," said Way to the class. Referring to his own struggles growing up, Way then said "I've been there and done that and now it's up to you. It's time for me to pass the torch to you. You can come up here next year or the year after that and give the same speech, saying 'I've been there and done that. I've struggled, but I've overcome.' The difference between winners and losers - A winner who falls, guess what? He gets back up," said Way.
Eighty-one young men and women from across New York received certificates of completion for the 22-week residential phase of ChalleNGe in front of family and friends. Many also received academics, leadership and physical fitness awards as well. This class averaged 68 hours of community service per corps member, exceeding requirements by 28 hours per member.
Twenty-five Corps members had already passed the GED examination during early testing, and ChalleNGe is awaiting the test results for the rest of the class. During the months following graduation, ChalleNGe alumni are expected to enter college or trade schools, begin jobs in their home communities or enter the military. More than 20 graduates were sworn into various military branches as a part of the ceremony, including six new members of the New York Army National Guard.
This was the first graduating class for the program's new director Bob Reed, the former ChalleNGe Program recruiter who was named director in January. Reed, a former Minnesota Viking, is the president of the upstate New York Chapter of the National Football League Alumni Association and has brought the association closer to the ChalleNGe Program. "We came, we conquered and you are here," said Reed to the class he brought to the program and then led through the 22-week residential phase. "It is about business," he told the corps members to emphasize the seriousness of what they had achieved and what was now to come. "What you do from now on depends upon you, as we have been saying to you. Come back and see us. We love you, as we always tell you," he added.
The National Guard launched the federally funded ChalleNGe program in 1993 and New York was among the original ten charter states. Since then, the program has grown and today there are 25 states with ChalleNGe programs. New York graduated its 1000th corps member last June during its 14th class . More than 20,000 young people nationwide have completed National Guard ChalleNGe.
The ChalleNGe program is designed to help high school dropouts get their life back on a productive track. The Phase I residential program is held at the National Guard's Camp Smith training site, near Peekskill. Separate classes of men and women are immersed in militarystyle discipline within a highly structured environment. It includes a rigorous regimen of classroom instruction, team-building, leadership, physical fitness, community service and military drills.
Corps members live in barracks, get up early for morning exercises, eat in a mess hall and attend classes, which ready them for the GED examination. Corps members are supported at ChalleNGe by a combined staff of dedicated military and civilian professionals, who nurture, teach and prepare them for the future. The goal is to teach important life skills to assist these at-risk youth develop positive values that will help them grow and succeed.
Corps members who complete the first phase enter a 12- month mentoring phase, where community volunteers help guide young people as they pursue a college education or a job in the community. ChalleNGe graduates and their families are typically the program's greatest supporters and often encourage other disconnected young people from their communities to enroll and get back on track.
ChalleNGe gives young people a second chance, but only if they are prepared to earn it. For many, attending ChalleNGe is proving to be a life-changing decision and a path from failure to success. For more information on ChalleNGe, call 1-800-NY-YOUTH.
By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, DC Military food has had a bad rap through the ages. In the Revolutionary War, the menu at Valley Forge, Pa., left much to be desired. During the Civil War, many Union soldiers received rancid pork and corn meal as their only issued rations. During the Spanish- American War, soldiers and Marines called desiccated rations-essentially dried vegetables - "desecrated rations."
More recently, service members called the initial Meals, Ready-to-Eat menus "Meals Rejected by Everybody." Anyone who has gone to the field lately will admit that military chow has gotten much better. The folks behind the effort to improve rations are in the DoD Combat Feeding Program. The scientific and technological focus lately has been on reducing the weight and volume of the rations and the fuel needed to heat them," said Gerald Darsch, joint program director.
The Combat Feeding Program is for all services but comes under the Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in Natick, Mass.
One new meal is the first-strike ration. Its intent is to allow service members to eat on the move. "Warfighters won't have to stop to use even a spoon," Darsch said. The ration prototype consists of shelf-stable pocket sandwiches, and pouches of carbohydrate-enhanced "Zapplesauce" product and Ergo high-energy drink powder.
"What we envision is the Zapplesauce being consumed directly from the pouch using a nozzle," he said. A fitting on the Ergo pouch would connect to a troop's 'camelback' water carrier-soldiers would fill the bag with water, shake it and then drink from a nozzle.
"Everything would be complete to 'eat on the go.' They wouldn't have to stop in a (mobile operations in urban terrain) environment and eat in a stairway or roof when there are snipers around," Darsch said. The ration is about half the weight and volume of a typical MRE, he said.
New rations don't mean that DoD is forgetting the old. "Our combat ration improvements are as aggressive as ever," he said. "Everything that goes into our rations is warrior-tested, warrior-selected and warrior-approved."
New items are being added to the MRE ration line for 2001. Service members will start seeing seafood jambalaya, beef enchiladas and mashed potatoes. Pork chow mein and "smoky franks" are toast.
In 2002, service members will see beefsteak with mushroom gravy, multigrain cereal, cappuccino and hamburger patties. Beefsteak and chicken with rice will disappear. Darsch said Natick's future test menus include a vegetarian manicotti and clam chowder. "My condolences to the folks from Manhattan, there's no tomato sauce in it-it's New England style," he said in his broad Massachusetts accent.
Another technology the program is examining is compressed entrees. The menu of 25 different entrees would cut the current weight of rations by 66 percent and their volume by 75 percent. "Compressed entrees also cost 75 percent less to make than freeze-dried items, and you get an A-ration quality product in 4 percent of the time," Darsch said.
The Natick crew is also examining improving the quality of regular food. Regular canned food is steamed until it is sterile. All that cooking changes the taste and texture of the food.
Researchers have found that pressure will sterilize food- packers can kill pathogens by exposing unsealed pouches, cans and other primary containers of food to 120,000 pounds per square inch of atmospheric pressure. The pressure only affects living organisms, Darsch said, leaving the food fine. Because there's no high heat, the chow tastes closer to fresh.
Cooks will also benefit. Recently introduced unitized group rations allow the services to feed troops A-ration quality food anywhere. "Among our recent developments is a polymeric tray to replace metal 'traycans,'" Darsch said. "Now, the cooks don't have to call the Red Cross for blood transfusions after they try opening the cans. We're also expanding the number and variety of menus available." "We'll continue working in all aspects of rations to ensure service members get the best, most nutritious food they can," Darsch said. "Stand by. We always have something cooking."
By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, DC Private First Class Shaun Ratcliff could only assess the new Army Light Armored Vehicle III with "It drives like a Caddy." The new vehicle was displayed at the Pentagon May 17.
Ratcliff, an infantryman with the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry at Fort Lewis, Wash., said the eight-wheeled armored vehicle handles well and would be perfect for combat in the cities.
If all goes well with the system, the Army hopes to buy 2,131 of the vehicles to outfit six brigades. Officials said the first brigade could be operational by spring 2003 with initial operating capability by November 2003.
The 37,000-pound vehicle has a 350-horsepower diesel engine and will go 60 miles per hour with a full combat load. It's small and light enough to fit into a C-130 transport. As an infantry carrier, it has room for a nineman squad and a crew of two. Its 14.5mm of armor can stop small-arms fire. Additional ceramic armor will stop rocket-propelled grenades.
The vehicle will serve as the basis for other specialized carriers. The basic version has a mount for a 40 mm grenade launcher, a .50-caliber machine gun or an M-240 7.62mm machine gun. The Army intends to mount an auto-loading 105 mm gun on one version. Other versions will be tailored to operate as engineer vehicles, mortar vehicles, medical evacuation vehicles, chemical warfare detection vehicles and anti-tank vehicles.
The Army has borrowed similar vehicles from the Canadian armed forces. Two battalions at Fort Lewis, the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry, and the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry, are working on doctrine and techniques. Army officials said that this head start on training and doctrine will save time in the long run by allowing battalions and brigades to form that much faster.
The Army will announce the name of the new class of vehicles in October.
By Lt. Col. Robert M. Edelman HQ, 53rd Troop Command BROOKLYN On May 27th 2001, Colonel Tom Principe, 53d troop command, rep resenting the Governor of New York and The Adjutant General, spoke at the rededication of the grave of Color Sergeant Benjamin B. Levy at the Cypress Hills Cemetary. Levy was one of the first American soldiers to receive the nation's highest military combat award, the Medal of Honor.
Sgt. Levy was awarded the distinguished medal for bravery in action when serving with Company G, First New York infantry during the battle of Charles City crossroads, Virginia, on June 30th 1862. Sgt. Levy was only 17 years of age at the time when he received the medal directly from General Ulysses S. Grant.
Sergeant levy was cited for bravery when during the battle he threw down his drum and took up his unit's colors and saved them from capture, thus rallying the soldiers of his unit and saving the battle.
During the Civil War, securing a unit's colors was extremely important. Soldiers of a unit looked for their regimental colors on the battlefield to rally around amidst the excessive noise and confusion. Battles were often considered lost if the colors were captured. The protection of the unit colors was deemed so important that soldiers assigned to this important task were promoted to "Color Sergeant." Their code of conduct called for them to part with their lives before parting with the colors.
The gravesite rededication ceremony was attended by over 200 individuals. Colonel Principe's speech, which highlighted Sergeant Levy's accomplishments was the climax of the ceremony. He ended his tribute with the following quote from Sir Walter Scott's poem, "Lochinvar."
"Soldier, rest! Thy warfare over, sleep the sleep that knows not breaking, dream of battled fields no more, days of danger, nights of waking."
By Lt. Col. Robert M. Edelman HQ, 53rd Troop Commmand VALHALLA The winner of the latest Full-Time Staff Achievement award in the 53d Troop Com mand is Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Brady, from the Headquarters Company of the 204th Engineer Battalion. Mr. Brady was selected from a group of eight nominees received at the Troop Command's Valhalla headquarters this spring.
Chief Warrant Officer Brady was selected for his outstanding efforts in reducing the 204th Engineer Battalion's excess equipment to a near zero balance. The Full-Time Staff Achievement Award recognizes his tireless efforts and significant amount of personal time spent preparing the battalion to support the upcoming deployment of the battalion's Charlie Company to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA.
Despite logistics personnel shortages in the battalion, Mr. Brady's dedicated efforts resulted in the 204th Engineer Battalion meeting all logistical readiness requirements during recent command inspections. Chief Warrant Officer Brady will receive a gift certificate to a local restaurant and his name will be added to the full-time support staff award plaque at the Troop Command headquarters.
Nominations from Troop Command units are welcomed each quarter.
Photo and Story by Maj. Richard Goldenberg Guard Times Staff Members of the Hudson Valley Community College GRIT Detachment arrived at the local 42d Division Headquarters armory for a drill weekend this May to conduct hands-on familiarization training with the M16 rifle.GRIT, which stands for Guard Recruits in Transition, aims to better prepare new Guard recruits for their Basic and Advanced Individual Training before the new soldiers arrive at their National Guard units. "Its important to bring creative training to these recruits and get them off campus and out to the armories," said Capt. Tino DeMarco, the detachment commander. "These soldiers are thrilled at the chance
to receive actual weapons training," he said.
On hand for the GRIT training were instructors from both the 106th Regional Training and the Army Reserve's 98th Training Division.
By Lt. Col. Paul Fanning Guard Times Staff CENTRAL PARK, NEW YORK CITY More than 450 Regular Army soldiers conducted a formal Military Tattoo in the "Big Apple" in June to salute the thousands of Guard and Reserve troops who serve in the New York City Police Department or in other positions with the City of New York.
Participants included the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own," and key elements of the Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry "The Old Guard." The band, the U.S. Army Drill Team and the Continental Color Guard from the Military District of Washington, D.C. marched, played and performed on the Great Lawn in Central Park on Friday afternoon, June 8.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani declared the day "Citizen Soldier Day" in New York City, to help celebrate the founding of the NYPD Army Association, comprised of police officers who also serve in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. More than 260 officers of the New York City Police Department are members of the New York Army National Guard. More than three thousand police professionals in New York City are members of the military's various reserve components, roughly ten percent of the total police force.
The formal pageant was open to the public and was intended to remind Americans of the sacrifices made by millions of soldiers in the Army's active, Guard and Reserve for the nation's defense. During the tattoo, soldiers dressed in period uniforms and brought Army history to life by telling the story of the Army's past while bridging to the present and future.
"We plan to make this an annual event," said Officer Sam Bonilla, the President of the NYPD Army Association and a New York Army National Guard alumnus. "We are just starting this association and expect the membership to grow steadily. I expect the tattoo in the park to grow in popularity, too."
Guard Times Staff SARATOGA SPRINGS Governor George E. Pataki announced June 19th that the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center will be located at the National Guard Armory in Saratoga Springs. The museum will house New York State's vast collection of 10,000 military artifacts some of which date to before the American Revolution as well the State's impressive collection of 1,800 historic battle flags.
"From the American Revolution to Desert Storm, New York State has played an important role in our nation's military history," Governor Pataki said. "After conducting a statewide search for the best possible site, we have selected Saratoga Springs as the future home of a new museum that will celebrate our rich military heritage and pay tribute to the courageous New Yorkers who have defended our nation throughout its history.
"Saratoga's prominent place in our nation's history, its central location in our State and its proximity to both the Saratoga National Historic Park and the Saratoga National Cemetery make it the ideal location for New York's military museum," the Governor said.
The collection, which includes uniforms, artwork, weapons, equipment, photographs, documents and other pieces of priceless memorabilia, is the largest of any state. The Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) has been responsible for the care of the state's collection of military artifacts since 1863. Over the course of many decades, however, the collection had fallen into disarray, due to theft, poor record keeping and lack of concern.
In 1995, Governor Pataki ordered the first comprehensive inventory of the collection. This effort reassembled most of the collection to a secure location at the Watervliet Arsenal where each item was carefully identified, registered, cataloged, marked and photographed.
For the first time ever, accountability and record keeping for the collection has been brought up to accepted US Army museum standards, ensuring that it can be made readily available to educators, researchers and historians. DMNA's military history staff of seven will be relocated to the new Museum and assume responsibility for both its operation and the continued care of the collection.
Maj. Gen. Jack Fenimore, Adjutant General of New York said, "Under the Governor's leadership we've done more in the past six years to protect and preserve New York's military heritage than had been done in the entire previous century."
The museum's establishment will also ensure the continued preservation of the historic armory, which is listed on both the State and National Historic Registers. The 31,000 square foot armory was built in 1889 and remodeled in 1902. Since the Armory will continue to operate as a National Guard installation, there will be no significant additional operating costs to the museum - the state already budgets for these expenses. The costs of future improvements and upgrades to facilitate the museum will be funded through a public and private partnership.
The first phase of the museum is expected to open to the public in late Spring of 2002.