WASHINGTON, D.C. - Reserve component members ordered to active duty for more than 30 days in support of a contingency operation (not including the full-time National Guard Duty) are entitled to transitional health care and dental benefits upon separation and their return to civilian life.
Members separated with less than six years of total active federal military service (as indicated on the DD 214) and eligible family members are eligible for 60 days of transitional health care. Members with six years or more of total active military service and their eligible family members are eligible for 120 days of transitional health care.
Reserve component members are eligible for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP) when they lose military health benefits and their transitional health care benefit period has expired. They also may enroll their family members for this coverage. CHCBP provides benefits similar to TRICARE Standard for a specific period of time (up to 18 months for members and their family members). They must enroll within 60 days of the date that their transitional benefit period expires and pay quarterly premiums ($933 per individual, $1966 per family).
For more information about CHCBP, individuals may call toll free: 1-800-444-5445, visit online at www.humana-military.com or write to Humana Military Healthcare Services Inc., Attn: CHCBP, P.O. Box 740072, Louisville, KY 40201.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (American Forces Press Service) - The worst teacher shortage ever is approaching, according to figures compiled by the National Education Association. And National Guard personnel can help alleviate the problem. In January 2002, the Troops to Teachers program expanded to include reserve component service members. Under the program, the U.S. Department of Education and the Defense Department team up to help qualified service members transition from the military to teaching careers.
The Troops to Teachers program is designed to recruit quality teachers for schools serving low-income families and to relieve teacher shortages. The program began in 1994 and since its inception has provided monetary and guidance support to qualified active duty service members.
Guard members who wish to participate in the program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution or have one year of college with six years experience in a vocational or technical field. Reservists qualify under four different options:
Pending availability of funds, eligible individuals may receive up to $5,000 to offset teacher certification expenses and an additional $5,000 bonus if they teach in a school serving a high percentage of students from low- income families.
More than 4,000 Troops to Teachers have been hired since the program began. If you are interested in a new career in teaching, access www.ProudToServeAgain.com, the Troops to Teachers web site, for more information.
Latham (Guard Times Staff) - Members of the New York National Guard will receive a survey this fall regarding their response to the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001 and their support of the emerging missions for homeland security.
Army National Guard soldiers will receive the state's survey through their respective commands. The intent is to have soldiers complete the survey during the December 2003 drill assemblies. Airmen in the New York Air National Guard will receive an email regarding a website link for completion of the survey up until December 15th.
Members of the New York Guard and New York Naval Militia who performed duty in response to the terror attacks will receive the survey through the mail.
The first two parts of the survey will cover general information and measure the effectiveness of the activation and response. The section at the end of the survey is an open-ended opportunity for individuals to express how they felt about their activation. The entire survey should take less than 20 minutes.
The results of the survey are expected to be released back to the field in 2003.
by Master Sgt. Bob Haskell National Guard Bureau LONG BEACH, CA The new U.S. North ern Command will strive to defend the homeland against terrorism in the same spirit the National Guard has dealt with homeland defense, natural disasters and civil disturbances for centuries, the recently appointed commander told Guard leaders.
And there is no way NORTHCOM can perform its new job without the Guard, Gen. Ralph Eberhart told the 1,800 delegates gathered in Long Beach, Calif., for the National Guard Association of the United States' 124th annual conference.
"We can't have a NORTHCOM, we can't provide for the homeland defense and the homeland security of this great nation and this area of responsibility without the National Guard," Eberhart said.
"We will have to continue to do those things that you've done forever, in terms of mitigating the circumstances surrounding floods, fires, hurricanes, and the list goes on," he said. "Yes, mitigate what might happen in terms of a terrorist attack.
"My view is that the Guard is going to play, has played and will continue to play squarely in every mission of our armed forces, from peacekeeping and peacemaking to, God forbid, global war," he added.
It was the first time many of the Guard leaders from the 50 states and four territories heard firsthand how NORTHCOM will function and how much their 460,000 citizen- soldiers and airmen are valued by the general recently named as NORTHCOM's first chief in June.
Eberhart officially assumes his new command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., in October. The 1968 Air Force Academy graduate flew 300 combat missions in Vietnam and is a former Air Force vice chief of staff.
In the meantime, he has done his homework about the Guard's contributions to the nation's defense, at home and abroad, and shaped the NORTHCOM for the task ahead.
Eberhart has already selected Maj. Gen. H. Steven Blum, former commander of the Virginia Army Guard's 29th Infantry Division, as his chief of staff following Blum's successful tour as commander of allied forces in northern Bosnia last winter.
The NORTHCOM in almost every case will support another agency, "in most cases, a lead federal agency that's been asked for help by your governors," Eberhart told the Guard leaders. Those assignments, for instance, could come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FBI or the Coast Guard, he said.
NORTHCOM will provide unified support for civil authorities as well as the president and the secretary of defense, he added. That, in turn, will require improving relations with local law enforcement agencies to detect and deter terrorist acts and to train and work with emergency responders.
"This should not be a sandlot pickup game. I don't know of anything more important to do as we invest our money in equipment, in training, and in exercising," Eberhart said. I'm not satisfied with trying to keep a bad situation from getting worse. I would much rather prevent that situation, and we have to do that together."
Dear Guard Times, I'd like to take one last moment, as we speed along towards our collective and individual futures, to thank the countless Soldiers, Airmen, Naval Militiamen, and New York Guardsmen who toiled along side, and with, the 69th Infantry and Task Force Wolfhound during these last four hundred and fifteen days since the attack. The last of our Homeland Defense service is now at an end and Task Force Wolfhound is a thing of the past. I think it's fitting that I express my humble gratitude to those who made it possible but no longer stand in my formation to hear this from me personally.
To the soldiers who arrived on the first day, I want to say thank you for bearing up under your memories. No greater burden can be yours. You are the "Minute Men" everyone talks about and that's not an exaggeration. I saw the determination on your faces, I saw your fear, and yet you came. Even after you saw what you saw you went back. Many of you saw the planes strike, the buildings burn, people jump, and finally the buildings fall. All of you walked into that madness in complete darkness. That first night is yours alone. Words cannot convey any part of it.
To those who arrived during the first week, I want to say thank you for your valor. The cascading glass, the roaring flames, the rumble from below, and yes, the pitiful fragments of the stricken and the crushing pain on the faces of your friends. This is your burden.
To the thousands who stood the countless icy nights throughout that first winter, I want to say thank you. Some were Air Force or Naval Militia and had no viable field or cold weather gear. Many had nothing but Red Cross poncho's, flapping in the wind. No one but you, and those who stood next to you, will remember the glowing red beams swinging into the air and hissing as the snow made contact. No one but you will remember the forming of honor lines at every hour of the day, but in particular the times at 0200 or 0300, every night, as new body bags came out of the pit in the moonscape glare of a million lights. You get the memories of those horrors. To you also go the happier memories of the "Hoochy Coochie" aid station at Battery Park and Trinity Church.
To the hundreds of unsung heroes of Task Force Death Dealer, Wingfoot, Wolfhound, and now, Orion, I want to say thank you for being there, and maintaining a brilliant standard when the mission lost its luster. When no one came to visit, when the press lost interest, when the temperature rose to killing levels, you stood your posts with dignity and spirit. Few will ever remember your sacrifice and history will not record it. I will remember.
To the two hundred and fifteen men who finished the worst of the first days at "Ground Zero" then deployed onto federal active duty with only three days notice. You were the focus of pride for everyone who wears the "Fighting 69th" crest, and many who don't. Your standard of silent selfless service has become the "Gold Standard" of New York deployments. Your spotless duty performance honors us all!
To the long suffering and genuinely magnificent wives, husbands, children and companions of these great men and women I owe perhaps my most heartfelt thanks and respect. Without your patriotism, love, and devotion there would have never been a "First Response" from the Guard. Much has been said of the pain in families of police, fire, and EMT first responders; little is ever mentioned of your thoughts and pain. I know pain was, and still is, there. More, I'm afraid, will be asked of you tomorrow.
I'm no poet and only a poet can really say what I feel as I write this to you. All of us will share this experience forever and all of us will remember. I hope God looks after you all. I thank you from the depths of my soul. I'll see you on the battlefield!
Sincerely, Geoffrey J. Slack, Lieutenant Colonel 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment New York Army National Guard Commanding Officer
The Officers Association and the Veteran Corps, 69th Regiment jointly ordered a sign which reflects the sentiments of New York City and the nation for the one-year anniversary of September 11th. It was hung on the evening of September 10th, 2002 on the wall of the Lexington Avenue Armory at eye level and immediately received the attention of each passersby.
The plaque reads: "The 69th Regimental Armory was the Family Bereavement Center immediately following the attacks of 9/11/ 01. The Soldiers of this Command were activated and joined their Comrades-in-Arms to serve, protect and defend these United States of America. God Bless America. The Officers, Men and Veterans of The Fighting 69th"
On the morning of the 9/11 commemoration, a brief but moving memorial was held on Lexington Avenue in front of the armory attended by a detail of 20 soldiers from the headquarters company, under the command of Capt. Christopher J. Daniels. The troops were mobilized for state active duty the previous day as part of a special "quick response" team to serve with other soldiers of the New York Army National Guard if the need arose.
Under the direction of Cmd. Sgt. Major Miguel A Cruzado, a new National Color was raised and brought to half-staff, the National Anthem was rendered and the detail saluted south towards the colors and ground zero. At the conclusion of the National Anthem Capt. Daniels spoke softly of the trying day one year ago and thanked the men for what they had endured over the past 12 months. He also reminded them that more would be asked of them in the future. "One day", he commented, "this conflict would be resolved in victory."
This was followed by 90 seconds of personal reflection with bowed heads and in special remembrance of First Lt. Gerard Baptiste, a New York City Fire Fighter killed in the line of duty at the World Trade Center site.
At 8:46 a.m., the time of the first plane attack on the WTC, a green candle was lit in front of the sign and a small floral display was laid at its feet.
The media coverage to the 69th Regimental Armory in the days following 9/11 has been great - although the mention that Lexington Avenue is the home of such a famed Regiment is often overlooked - and we hope that the sign will bring some attention and appreciation for the men of the "Fighting 69th."
The detail was then dismissed and drew weapons as they prepared to participate in the memorials at the World Trade Center and others throughout the city later that day. The sign will remain inside the armory and a candle and fresh flowers will attend it. Hopefully a bronze plaque will eventually be permanently mounted on the armory to recall the service of the soldiers of the 69th.
As our soldiers went about their normal business I watched for a few moments. New Yorkers hurried about their business oblivious to the sign and candle and flowers on the table of this scant Memorial, however, about 25% glanced and read the sign - a few even stopped to reflect a moment - one took pictures.
Over the next few days we can anticipate that people who scurried here after 9/11 desperately looking for their loved ones will return. We hope that this simple dedication will offer solace to them and the comfort of knowing that there are soldiers right in the heart of New York City who have served and will continue to be part of our National Defense.
God Bless America. Sincerely, Vic Olney 69th Infantry Regiment Association New York City
By P.C. "Pete" Kutschera & Ms. Donna M. Halse Photos by Sgt. Matthew Johnson Guard Times Staff LATHAM Guard Times caught up with New York's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Maguire, Jr. for an interview on a typically high caliber November weekday. It was somewhere between welcoming Assistant Secretary of Defense, Reserve Affairs, Tom Hall, to Manhattan, for a tour of National Guard troop sites and greeting just returned Guard members from one of the multiple OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE homeland defense missions.
It's been that character of non-stop, op tempo for Maguire since Sept. 11, 2001 - the day the "world changed" - surely for the National Guard.
Whether it's a video teleconference with top state and federal officials over continental security, a huddle with base commanders following a particularly grueling readiness inspection, or getting "The Scoop" from rank and file soldiers on duty in general, Maguire is always there with a receptive ear.
"I'm buoyed every time I'm with the kids," the boyish, middle-aged Vietnam War vet says of his frequent visits to troops and airmen and women. "Their drive, energy, commitment are infectious," Maguire enthuses, "I'm renewed when I'm with them."
Guard Times: After a year in office, what do you see as a top priority, in the sense of how it may affect the average citizen- soldier?
Answer: For the average soldier, in lieu of the last 13 months of various mobilizations because of the 9-11 attack, it's that there are two truly significantly different pay and benefit schedules for those of our soldiers who are federally mobilized vs. those who are state mobilized. I really don't believe that it's the responsibility of the state, per se, whether it's New York or any other state to try to match all the federal benefits. But, since the state active duty being performed, in my opinion at least, is beneficial to the national interest in almost every case, I would certainly like to see the legislation passed or the rules amended so as to allow our state active duty soldiers to gain retirement points and have the same medical insurance protections that the federally mobilized soldier does.
That's not exactly the case now across the board. In fact, there's actually a possibility you could have a solider who's been on state active duty for almost the entire year and by quirk, would not get credit for a good year for retirement as far as the federal system is concerned. Now, we're working around those issues, but we shouldn't have to work around them. The system should be in place to fully support our soldiers, whether they're on federal or state active duty.
Q: Do you see any proposals in the wind for a legislative remedy?
A: Absolutely. I know that our advocacy groups that represent both the officer, warrant officer and enlisted membership of the Guard have proposals before Congress. I believe Congress is actually crafting legislation right now, that hopefully will be implemented, assuming it gets passed. Also, with the setup of the Northern Command, the new joint command, these issues will have to be addressed and resolved, because the Guard will be playing a significant role in the success of Northern Command.
Q: Candidly, how would you rate National Guard performance in terms of their overall response to the tragic events of 9/11?
A: The answer can only be made in superlatives: outstanding and awesome. I can't think, I really cannot think, of a single time in that 12, 13 month period now - from any quarter - whether it was the federal sector, the Governor, the state, or even our local communities, that the National Guard in New York has said 'no' to any request for help. And that includes the Naval Militia and the New York Guard, too. And I think in no small part, that's why Gov. (George) Pataki, when he issued the first Defense of Liberty Medals at the Park Avenue Armory, we had all four of our components there, with each addressed and thanked profusely by the Governor.
Q: On the Army side, how is the 27th Brigade reorganization (the ADRS) proceeding? There have been some reports, in and out of Washington and Latham, there's been some slippage, that the reorganization has, from timeto- time, hit rocky road?
A: Rocky road may be a little bit strong. Maybe I can quibble about rocky vs. bumpy road, something along those lines. Be assured that the ADRS transformation, as far as the 27th Brigade is concerned, is pressing ahead. We have had reports that with the follow on transformation of some of the other brigades may be in for delays, either for fiscal reasons, or because of DA redesign. But our transformation is on schedule.
Q: You predicted a year ago a considerable unit call-up for the National Guard for Operation Enduring Freedom and the War on Terrorism. And again, although this may be speculative to ask you this, where do you think this all may go in terms of potential war with Iraq?
A: The crystal ball, as far as I can see it, will have us participating to some degree with OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE - the CONUS defense mission. And we will continue to support the scheduled rotations of our National Guard Army overseas to Bosnia, Kosovo, and Southwest Asia, on the Air side. (In the event of an Iraqi contingency) I can foresee us as a state, mobilizing forces up to the extent - possibly of even in greater numbers than we did for Desert Storm. The locales may be different. We may be mobilizing forces for increased defensive posture here in the States, or some kind of force protection status in Europe, or we will go directly into Southwest Asia, as we did back in 1990.
Q. So, in lieu of all of the above, what do you see as the greatest leadership hurdle facing you in the coming months and years?
A: We're putting more and more taskings on our Guard members and, hence, more burdens on their families, employers and their otherwise busy lives while away during service. That being said, we cannot do without the National Guard, not only as a state, but as a federal entity. So, my goal is, at a minimum, to retain the present force structure, and hopefully, actually add to it. But in order to do it, we really are going to have to work family readiness programs, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and Quality of Life programs far harder than we ever have in the past. When a soldier or airman or woman has been mobilized, as some have for up to two years, that is putting an intense demand on relationships that has never been there before. And we really have to start thinking "outside the box" like we've never done it before. The traditional solutions, I don't believe, are going to meet these extraordinary demands.
Q. Well, in a sense, the Guard has been living like that for some time, if you go back a decade or so ago, since the first downsizing began with collapse of the Warsaw Past. The op tempo really seems to start to pick up from the days of OPERATION JUST CAUSE and the liberation of Panama.
A: Very good. And things have come right after each other since. OPERATION JUST CAUSE was in '89, right after we saw the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Then we had DESERT STORM, DESERT SHIELD. And all through the 90s there was a 400 plus percent increase at the rate in which this country was engaged in military contingencies. And that's not to mention the engagement in state activations and community support after Gov. Pataki came on board in 1995.
Q: It's been incredible when you think about it.
A: All we had to do at the 105th (Airlift Wing), to keep track, is to remember the number of times the C-5A Galaxies were gone. Whether it was down to the Caribbean, or eastern coast of Africa; you know, Mogadishu, Somalia; central Africa; Rwanda, Uganda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, not to mention all the hurricanes and humanitarian missions: Gilbert, Andrew, Hugo, so that tempo is real. And it has been at a price. We cannot make believe, that the National Guard, anymore, is a part time work force or a 'weekend warrior' operation. Plain and simple, the 'weekend warrior' is dead.
Story and photos by Maj. Richard Goldenberg HQ, 42nd ID (M) QUEENS, NEW YORK CITY One year following their service together on the streets of New York, soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division's 642nd Aviation Support Battalion came together to honor New York's finest. Members of the battalion presented the NYPD's Patrol Borough of North Queens for their joint effort on the streets of Manhattan in the days and weeks following September 11th, 2001.
Members of the 642nd, like other NYC-based National Guard soldiers, were among the first on the scene in Manhattan following the terror attacks. "For the first few uneasy nights, amid acrid smoke, shattered windows and blacked out buildings - and unsure of the threat from follow-on terrorist attack - soldiers of the 642nd Division Aviation Support Battalion faithfully stood guard at strategic intersections in downtown Manhattan," said Lt. Col. Thomas Bosco, the unit commander.
The military presence in New York made a significant contribution to the security and well-being for New Yorkers. Within weeks, the battalion was assigned a partner for continued operations, the officers of the NYPD's Queens North Patrol Borough.
"Our battalion was then assigned to work with the Patrol Borough Queens North in securing a sector stretching from City Hall to the East River'" Bosco said. " Together, Guardsmen and police officers conducted missions such as guarding key intersections, securing buildings, and escorting people to their homes and businesses. It wasn't real glamorous work, but important nonetheless in restoring civil order and a semblance of normalcy for downtown Manhattan."
The award, presented on October 30th in Queens, reflects the high esteem the soldiers of the 642 developed during their weeks of joint duty with the NYPD. "In working with the NYPD those weeks in September 2001, we came away with a stronger sense of respect and admiration for police officers who consistently demonstrated professionalism and competence for the solemn and often grim tasks we were jointly conducting," Bosco said.
Dozens of officers from the Queens North Patrol Borough stood in formation alongside their 642nd peers to view the presentation. Assistant Police Chief James Tuller and Deputy Police Inspector Salvatore Depace came forward to receive the award, an engraved helicopter tail rotor blade.
"We should be paying homage to the Guard," said Assistant Chief Tuller, receiving the plaque from Lt. Col. Bosco. "I am honored to be here to receive this award on behalf of all the officers in the borough who worked side by side with Guardsmen in that difficult time."
"The award from the 642nd to our brothers and sisters in blue represents the strong bond of fellowship and friendship formed in the aftermath of 9/11," said Chaplain (Maj.) Lawrence Bazar, the 42nd Aviation Brigade Chaplain at the ceremony. "A bond that will always be ready to face whatever challenges might lay ahead. Their actions represented the best of what it means to serve and defend our great nation."
By Colonel Robert M. Edelman HQ, 53rd Troop Command VALHALLA At the October 5th, 2002 Commanders and Command Sergeants Major Briefing for the 53rd Troop Command, the Finance Battalion received the command's first “Excellence in Strength Maintenance” award.
Accepting on behalf of the unit was Lt. Col. Rosa Latorre, the commander, and Cmd. Sgt. Major Michael Good.
“Since 'Manning the Force' remains our number one priority in the New York Army National Guard,” said Colonel Stephen Seiter, Commander of the 53rd Troop Command, “we wanted to bring notoriety to the battalion that enjoyed the greatest success in strength maintenance during this past fiscal year.”
In order to level the competitive playing field between large and small battalions, five strength maintenance categories were utilized to determine the trophy winner. These include percentage of NOVAL soldiers, Overall gains or losses for the year, percentage of enlistments and reenlistments, unit assigned strength versus its authorized strength, and attrition or turnover rate.
The Finance Battalion finished 1st in four of the five categories, thus finishing just ahead of the 56 Personnel Services Battalion, the 1st Battalion, 53rd Troop Command and the 206th Corps Support Battalion. All these units enjoyed strong strength maintenance years.
The Finance Battalion, based in Whitestone, will keep the trophy for display throughout the fiscal year. However, starting October, the award is again up for grabs. Each battalion is formulating plans that they hope will lead to a successful strength maintenance year. It should be another close contest.
Story and photos by Spec. Eric S. Bartelt Army News Service WEST POINT, N.Y. The 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery has officially taken over the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry regiment's post as top security dog at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
The 1-258th was activated Sept. 11, 2001 to perform security and other tasks at Ground Zero at the World Trade Center in New York. and began working security at West Point Oct. 1. The artillery battalion will continue through June 2003. The 1-258th will help with force protection and provide security for community members. The 258th FA will be the quick reaction force in case of an emergency, and they will partner with the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry's Military Police Company to monitor the gates and provide security at football games and special events.
"There are so many real world missions going on right now that our presence here helps free up more active duty soldiers to go do their jobs globally," said Spec. Peter D. Morrison, a cannon crewman for Bravo Battery, 1-258th FA. "This is such an important place to be with our leaders being groomed here-it's important for us to provide the security."
Members of the 258th said that it's critical to provide extra security at West Point so the military can continue to produce leaders of the future.
"The cadets are the future; this is where our military leadership is coming from," said First Sgt. Hartley Barnes. "If something happens here that means somewhere down the line our military will be lacking leadership. We're here to protect them so that the leadership that comes from here will be continuous-and that's the main reason why we're here."
The 258th FA falls under the 42nd Infantry Division out of Troy, N.Y. Before coming to West Point, 258th members were tasked with helping secure downtown Manhattan after Sept. 11, 2001.
"For two weeks we were doing security work at the Trade Center site," said Sgt. Peter M. Antonicelli, fire director center section for C Battery. "After those two weeks, B Battery stayed on to do bridges and tunnels security, plus delivered food and supplies-it was a varied mission."
B Battery worked the docks helping transport supplies. Their jobs also consisted of security work near Wall Street, Grand Central and other sites.
Recalling the days at Ground Zero reminded Antonicelli and Morrison of how edgy it was during those first days after the Twin Towers fell.
"Every time a siren would go by people would ask 'what's going on;" you could see each individual person had that look of anxiety in their eyes,"
Morrison said. "I think it meant a lot to people to have a soldier presence down there during that time period."
Serving in the devastated area elicited strong emotions, soldiers said.
"I wasn't affected until two firefighters uncovered something and filled up one of those orange bags," Morrison said. "I saw one of them with an ax handle, then I noticed the guy behind him holding a crushed firefighter's helmet-that got to me, seeing the firefighter's face, knowing he was devastated. That was rough to see."
By Sgt. First Class Mark J. Pastorek Company D, 1st Battalion, 142nd Aviation ROCHESTER The first stage of the Army Aviation transforma tion process began in the New York Army Na tional Guard early in September when the 53rd Troop Command organized the 249th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) headquarters in Rochester.
Elements of the 1st Battalion, 142nd Attack Aviation Battalion and the 642nd Division Aviation Support Battalion are expected to form a Detachment of the 137th Heavy Helicopter Company (CH-47) and the 142nd Aviation Intermediate Maintenance (AVIM) Battalion Headquarters Detachment later this year.
The 249th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) will have a Forward Medical Support section in Albany and a detachment in Rhode Island. The unit has an authorized strength of 130 personnel between all locations. Currently the 249th employs UH-1V (Huey) aircraft and is anticipating the fielding of the UH-60 Medevac model in the next four years.
The 249th's mission is "provide areomedical evacuation to supported forces". The 249th is finishing the administrative part of the organization and anticipates starting mission critical training in early 2003. One of the collective tasks of the 249th mission is re-supply by sling load operations, and the 249th will be looking for realistic training opportunities.
The First Detachment of the 137th Heavy Helicopter Company is scheduled to include CH-47 helicopters. Their company headquarters is located in Ohio and they are part of the 38th Infantry Division. Their combat service support mission is to provide heavy lift capabilities to supported maneuver forces. They anticipate the stationing of CH-47 helicopters within two years at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in Rochester. In the transition time the unit is operating with UH-1H helicopters to develop and maintain crew proficiency.
The 142nd AVIM Battalion headquarters will manage four Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Support companies. The battalion elements will include an active duty unit in Korea, an Army Reserve unit in Texas and two National Guard units spanning five different states.
This is one of the first steps in transforming Army Aviation today to the Objective Force of tomorrow.
Story and photo by Maj. Richard Goldenberg HQ, 42nd ID (M) ROCHESTER Army transformation is often viewed in sweeping and stra tegic plans and concepts. For the men and women of the 1st Battalion, 142nd Attack Helicopter Battalion here in Rochester, transformation was a far more personal event.
The final formation for a weekend drill on Saturday, November 2nd meant the end of the unit's lineage and colors. When the soldiers of the battalion arrived on Sunday, they would all report to new units, new skills specialties, and new careers.
"Whether you served with the 142nd for decades or whether this was your very first drill weekend, you will remember this day and these colors," said Lt. Col. Chris Holliday, the 1-142nd Battalion Commander.
The formal ceremony to deactivate the battalion included the covering of the unit colors to symbolize the end of the unit's lineage. The battalion sergeant major, Cmd. Sgt. Major Greg Bush presented the colors to Holliday who cased the colors in a plain OD Green covering. The unit colors were then passed to the battalion's most senior and junior soldiers, Chief Warrant Officer John Eiss and Private First Class Benjamin Krystaf.
Soldiers carrying the colors for the battalion's final formation were Staff Sgt. Todd Berardicurti, Corporal Joann Duclos, Spec. Nicole Mainaccio and Private First Class Rahim Bokhari.
The aviation transformation plan for Rochester includes the fielding of the 249th Air Ambulance Medical Company and a heavy lift platoon consisting of CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
"Every one of our soldiers will have a home in the new units formed here in Rochester," said Holliday following the ceremony to retire the battalion colors. "There will definitely be some exciting times ahead, with new missions and new aircraft. But the units here will belong to other parent organizations; no more will this great battalion form up on the drill shed floor."
Guard Times Staff STATEN ISLAND Veteran Hollywood actor and former U.S. Marine R. Lee Ermey visits with tank crews from the 1st Battalion, 101 Cavalry Regiment headquarters on Staten Island this past August. Ermey received instructions on how to drive the M1A1 Abrams Tank as part of his promotion of the new series "Mail Call" which premiered in late August on cable television's History Channel.
Ermey's service in the Marine Corps included one and a half years in Vietnam.
With Ermey on an M1 Abrams are (from left) Sgt. Harry Poon, First Lt. Rick Contreras, Spec. Richard Castro and Spec. Mathew Trudden.
By Tech. Sgt. Melissa Phillips 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Armed Forces Press Network When Tech. Sgt. Keith Winchell's mother told him she was worried about him deploying to a war zone, he responded with a shrug of his shoulders and in a heavy New York accent he said, "Ma, I work in the Bronx. I get bottles thrown at me from rooftops. I'll be fine over there."
Winchell's full-time job is protecting the streets as a New York City patrolman in the 50th Precinct. His part-time job is as a fireman for the 105th Civil Engineer Squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y.
He does not remember sleeping during the first three days after the planes hit the World Trade Center, and he still has a hard time sleeping more than four hours at any given time.
Images race through his mind like seeing a fire truck pounded into a 1-foot deep chunk of twisted metal and picking photos of couples out of the rubble at Ground Zero and knowing that one of the people smiling up at him was probably dead. However, the worst is knowing 343 firefighters and 23 police officers died, two from his precinct.
A year later, he is still searching for ways to deal with the pain of Sept. 11. For him, pulling a tour of duty in Southwest Asia for Operation Enduring Freedom helps.
"It's funny because many Americans want to see Ground Zero for closure," said Winchell. "Cops and firemen who were on scene want to come here."
His orders state he will be here 24 days, which annoys him. One of his co-workers said he would volunteer to do dishes just to stay here longer. Winchell said he would also roll up his sleeves right beside him, if given the opportunity.
Winchell said a tour here is one way for him and many others to take back power from the terrorists.
"I've seen the devastation (at Ground Zero)," he said. "I had to carry caskets of some of my friends. You realize something has to be done or it will happen again if we don't."
The 23-year veteran said sometimes he sees people around base who do not believe that they personally matter to fighting the war on terrorism. He disagrees.
"We are fighting terrorism from here," Winchell said. "The tankers refuel the aircraft that go to the front lines, and they can't do their mission without all of us. It takes the guys turning wrenches on the planes to the guys making our tents comfortable.
"Everyone can't be the star of the team; you've got to have support people as well," he said. "I can't be the special forces unit smoking the enemy out of their holes, and I may be here for a short time, but I can help out."
A year ago, he spent four days at Ground Zero on leave without pay to help clear the endless tons of rubble in the hopes of helping someone. The destruction he saw there still haunts him.
"I stepped through a window in a building into another world," Winchell said. "There were fires burning in different spots. You would be crawling around and under steel beams...scraping in the dirt with your hands trying to find survivors because there weren't enough tools."
Whenever he feels his resolve slip, he remembers the stories of the people whose lives were affected by the tragedy. Stories like the one about Stephen Driscoll, a 38-year-old officer assigned to Winchell's precinct who was buried alive under tons of rubble while trying to rescue victims after the planes hit the Twin Towers.
One story starts with Driscoll and his partner driving by a post office in an emergency vehicle, when he spotted a flag that was wrapped around the flagpole. Driscoll stopped, took out a ladder and unfurled the flag. Then he went inside and told them he would be back again if he saw the flag was not waving freely. Described by Winchell as one of the most patriotic American citizens he ever met, Driscoll is survived by his wife, Ann, and their 15-year-old son, Barry.
It is a true account that makes Winchell laugh, not just a small chuckle but a deep belly laugh. The father of two children, Kaitlin, 13, and Ian, 11, he believes laughter is the best medicine.
"You have to find the humor in it," Winchell said. "Some guys here are miserable. You have to find ways to cope and entertain yourself."
Winchell believes closure will not come until those who are responsible are brought to justice.
"The terrorists are criminals, not soldiers," said Winchell. "They just killed more than an average criminal does. They committed the crime, so we have to go after them."
Armed Forces Press Network WASHINGTON, D.C. The Air Force's service dress uniform welcomed back an old friend Oct. 1: the nametag.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper and other senior leaders selected a new nametag for the uniform at the 2002 Corona Top conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The new service dress nametag has a brushed satin finish and blue letters. It is slightly larger and heavier than the blue plastic nametag worn on the blue shirt and medical white uniform. It will only feature the wearer's last name and will only be worn on the service dress, on the right side parallel to the ribbons and medals.
Air Force officials decided last year that a nametag was needed on the service dress uniform. Several proposals were reviewed and feedback was gathered from across the Air Force during several wear-tests.
The new nametags will be available in Army and Air Force Exchange Service military clothing sales stores at a future date when stocks become available.
By Tech Sgt. Trish Pullar HQ, 105th AW NEWBURGH New York State Medals of Valor were presented October 2nd posthumously to the families of two 105th members killed in the line duty after responding to the World Trade Center terrorist attacks last September. The Medal of Valor is awarded for conspicuous acts of valor, heroism, courage or gallantry.
Brigadier General Dana B. Demand, commander of the 105th Airlift Wing, presented the decorations to the family of Staff Sergeant Andrew Brunn of Fresh Meadows, N.Y. and to the family of Staff Sergeant Jerome Dominguez of Throgs Neck, N.Y. during a brief ceremony at the Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh on Saturday, September 7th.
Brunn, a firefighter with Ladder Company 5 in lower Manhattan and former sergeant in the New York Police Department, died while evacuating civilians from the North Tower. He was above the 37th floor attempting to reach victims when the tower collapsed. Brunn was a guardsman in the unit's 213th Engineering and Installation Squadron.
Dominguez, a member of the New York Police Department's elite Emergency Services Unit, died while attempting to evacuate civilians and reach victims, also in the North Tower, when the building collapsed. Dominguez was a guardsman in the 105th Security Forces Squadron.
Directly following the presentation of the decorations, representatives from the 105th will unveiled a memorial honoring Brunn and Dominguez and all the victims lost on September 11th, 2001. The four-foot-high granite memorial was funded by personal donations from members of the 105th Airlift Wing.
By Tech. Sgt. Scott Elliott Air Force Print News WASHINGTON, D.C. Based on his organization's perfor mance following the Sept. 11 terror ist attacks, Lt. Gen. Daniel James III says the Air National Guard is needed "now, more than ever."
James, director of the Air National Guard (ANG), made his comments Sept. 18 during a speech at the 2002 Air Force Association National Convention here.
According to James, Air Guard aircrews have flown the lion's share of Operation Noble Eagle homeland defense fighter and tanker missions, at 74 percent and 62 percent, respectively, as of Sept. 12. Guard crews have also flown 37 percent of Opertaion Noble Eagle airlift missions.
Since the terrorist attacks, 6,697 guardsmen have been mobilized for the AEF and another 11,251 for Noble Eagle.
Guardsmen have flown 42 percent of fighter missions, 29 percent of tanker missions and 40 percent of airlift as part of the air expeditionary force.
James said his motto, "now, more than ever," was derived from three key words: ready, reliable and relevant.
"Ready. Certainly readiness is important to us and will continue to be important to us," he said. "We've been challenged to continue to participate in AEFs while we're flying (combat air patrols).
"Reliable. The National Guard is accessible. Can we rely upon them to be there? Since (Sept. 11), and even before that, whenever there was a contingency, whenever there was an emergency, whenever there was a need, the National Guard was there," James said.
"Relevant. That speaks to our involvement in modernization," he said. "The Guard must remain relevant to remain an active player. My (feeling) about modernization is we don't have to be first, but we certainly should not be last."
According to James, the next four years may be the most challenging and demanding for the ANG.
"Very clearly the ANG will be a part of the transformation of this great Air Force," he said. "The key factor in transformation is we have to work within the end-strength cap, and we have to work within the constraints of the budget.
"We need to consider our involvement in the full spectrum of missions. New missions have to be looked at," James said.
Those include space, information warfare, information management and unmanned aerial vehicles, he said. Another mission involves the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, which the ANG will formally begin Sept. 30.
"(The JSTARS unit is) a blended unit, with active-duty and Air National Guard command and control personnel working side-by-side," James said. "The mission is going very well. It's the first of many to come, I believe."
The ANG has to come up with innovative ways to do the new missions, or will risk losing its relevancy, he added.
"We recognize there's a key role for the ANG in homeland security, as part of the total force," he said. "We must, and should, always be engaged in the full spectrum of missions."
"Ready, reliable and relevant," the general said. "This country needs the ANG now, more than ever."
By Senior Airman Ann-Marie Santa HQ, 105th AW NEWBURGH On August 19, the 105th Airlift Wing honored 17 local children during the Wing's fourth annual Young Champions ceremony.
105th Commander, Brig. Gen. Dana B. Demand and Wing Command Chief Master.Sgt. Hardy Pierce presented the children with certificates and medals in recognition of their efforts to overcome adversity.
"It is an uplifting experience to have a little piece of those children and their families in our lives and be given the opportunity to brighten their day. I've had a lot of great days here, but none greater that that," said Demand.
The Young Champions Program began in 1998 to recognize the achievements of children who struggle with life-threatening illnesses or disabilities. Master Sgt. Susan Sommerlad from the Logistics Support Flight, whom Demand calls "the Young Champions' champion," heads the program.
"I love seeing the joy and excitement they experience when receiving their medals," Sommerlad said. "It means so much to them, and they are so proud. This program also means a lot to the families."
Because of the Sept. 11 attacks, last year's ceremony was postponed. However, all the children were invited back this year to receive their awards and honors.
The ceremony began with a welcome from Demand and a speech from guest speaker Donna Ponessa who was diagnosed at the age of 20 with Multiple Sclerosis. Having Ponessa speak, several parents remarked, was "exciting and uplifting because she is everything that these kids strive to be." Ponessa, who has been using a wheelchair for the past 16 years, works as an Independent Nurse Consultant and is active in various sports.
One of the Young Champion's sponsors, Staff Sgt. John Sileno, member of the 105th Security Forces Squadron, said that he just loved seeing the reactions from all the Young Champions and their families.
"It's making me happy to represent the unit and my squadron to someone so deserving," Sileno said. The children, however, had their own favorite parts of the day.
"My favorite part was the planes!" said 10-year-old Tyler Carrol of Poughkeepsie. Tyler's mom, Catherine, explained that his father was in the Air Force for years and had regaled Tyler with stories of how big some of the planes were.
"He knew that they got that big, but he'd never been able to get so close to one before. He's very excited," said Catherine.
Tyler suffers from a rare metabolic disease called Mitochondrial Myopathy, which is characterized by muscle weakness and muscle pain, though you'd never guess it from the way he excitedly wheeled himself through the aircraft, played with the police dog and other children around him.
Twelve-year-old Miles Fountain, who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, said that he didn't really have a favorite part because the whole day was exciting. His sponsor, Sr. Airman Gisela Guerra, an information management specialist for the 105th SFS, said that though she and Miles were matched up randomly, it was a perfect match. "We're a lot alike. He's easy-going, down to earth, and always happy," said Guerra. "He's also got a lot of inner strength, faith and hope."
Miles said that his hopes extend to one day becoming a lawyer because, he said with a grin, he "wants to make a lot of money!" Part of his inspiration, he said, is Judge Judy, whom he watches every day.
Also among this year's honorees was 8-year-old Mitchell Perrego, the nephew of Tech. Sgt. Doug Hajdinak, of the 105th Communications Flight. Mitchell was born with severe heart and lung damage and requires an infusion pump to administer medication to him 24 hours a day. His mother, Loraine, said that she was thrilled that her son was invited to the ceremony because "He's such a brave and courageous little boy." The credit for making it happen, she said, really goes to her brother.
"I knew that Mitchell had gone through a lot, and I felt that he was deserving. I got a hold of Sue Sommerlad and though there was a full line-up of kids already, she made an exception. She doesn't say no to anyone. She's been tremendous," Hajdinak said.
The ceremony was followed by a reception for the families and sponsors. All a child's favorite food groups were represented: hot dogs, potato chips and sodas.
Demand said the day was inspirational for the families, children and unit members.
"Few of us ever sit back and realize how good we have it. We only see the tough things that happen in our lives. Then we see these kids and families who face challenges that we never dreamed of make full use of their talents and opportunities. It's a great opportunity for a lot of people to be linked with these families in this way. It's very inspiring for everyone here," said Demand.
Photos and Story by Staff Sgt. Tracy Cain HQ, 107th ARW TEL AVIV, ISRAEL Training is vital to the success of the Air Force mission. Many times training is done in a work center, other times at a technical school. The 107th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) recently returned from a unique training experience. It wasn't held at their work centers, and in some cases, it didn't involve their Air Force Specialty Code.
In a hot, dry and dusty land about 150 miles south of Tel Aviv, Israel, the group of 32 guardsmen had a training experience unlike any they've known before. It was a trip of learning how to adapt, adjust and overcome obstacles.
"We had to learn to utilize what is available in that country versus what is readily available in this country," said Tech. Sgt. Ricardo Flores, 107th ARW CE electrician. "For instance, something as simple as a grommet (a cap used in electrical work). We didn't have any available to show the Israelis, so we tried to draw diagrams and explain what it was used for. It was very difficult because the terms used there are very different compared to ours."
Another facet of the deployment was the chance to work in different career fields. Senior Airman Andrew J. Rodgers, 107th ARW CE utilities systems apprentice and plumber, did many different jobs.
"We worked together and we were all laborers," he said. We poured concrete, put up drywall and removed asbestos." Rodgers recalled the challenge of removing asbestos in a desert environment.
"It was tough. We had to wear protective suits and respirators, in 120 degree temperatures."
Staff Sgt. Elizabeth M. VanDyke, 107th ARW CE environmental control specialist, also worked as a laborer and said that she enjoyed the experience and the work.
"I did a little bit of everything," she said. "It's one thing to hear people talk about what they've done and where they've been, but it's another to actually be there and really doing it."
There was a lot of "doing" going on during the exercise. One part of the mission was to start construction on a KSpan building, similar to a Quonset hut.
The first step was to survey the land. Once the survey was completed the next task was to drill 30 feet into the hard desert ground. These holes would be used as the Kspan caissons, or pilings -the foundation of the structure. When the drilling was finished, steel re-bar was added for strength before the concrete was poured.
Each caisson required more than 8 cubic yards of concrete. The concrete placement took 5 hours in 128 degree temperatures. With 21 cement pilings poured, the team had completed that part of its mission. However, there were other tasks to be accomplished.
"We ran power cables for one existing building and for three more that will go up in the future," said Chief Master Sgt. Richard A. Seman Sr., 107th ARW CE force management superintendent. "We installed skylights and hung air-conditioning units in another building."
Semen said the training was good for the guardsmen because it taught them skills in adapting to a different environment while learning to use the materials and equipment on hand.
He said training on drill weekends, in addition to regular upgrade training, is one way to maintain proficiency, but there is nothing like experiencing the sense of hard work, camaraderie, and satisfaction you get from physically doing the work and seeing a job well done.
This was the 11th TDY to Israel in the past five years for the 107th CES.
By Staff Sgt. Tracy Cain HQ, 107th ARW NIAGARA FALLS A top performer from the 107th Air Refueling Wing's Security Forces Squadron was nominated for the Federal Woman of the Year Award by her commander and a supervisor.
Senior Airman Michelle L. Elmer has already received the Air National Guard Outstanding Performance Coin and a national academic award. She is active in the community through the Civil Air Patrol and volunteer work at a nursing home and as a Cub Scout leader.
Although she did not win the award, Elmer was invited to a luncheon at the Buffalo Convention Center honoring all nominees and award recipients.
"Michelle is a great asset to our squadron," said Maj. Michael A. Messina, 107th ARW Security Forces commander. "Everyone who meets her is immediately impressed with her military bearing and positive attitude. But it's not superficial with her, every task she takes on she genuinely tries to complete with the highest degree of professionalism. She is dedicated to her job and it shows in everything she does."
"I was really surprised and humbled when I found out that Maj. Messina and Tech. Sgt. [Don] Blady nominated me for this award," said Elmer. "I am honored that they think so much of my character to nominate me for that kind of award."
According to her supervisors, character is not something Elmer is short on. Like the rest of the security forces squadron, she has been on active-duty for the last year. While on a temporary duty assignment at Andrews AFB, Md., fellow security forces member Master Sgt. Joe Rubin suffered a heart attack in June and was hospitalized there until his transfer to the Buffalo VA medical center in September. Elmer spent many of her off-duty hours at the hospital in Bethesda, Md., providing comfort to the Rubin family.
Not surprised by her compassion, Master Sgt. Steve J. Kockler, 107th Security Forces Squadron's awards and decorations monitor, said that these selfless acts are indicative of her character.
"She's unique because of her dedication to her job and her commitment to her community," Kockler said. "I don't think that's a common trait in many young adults."
Messina refused to let Elmer walk away from this experience empty-handed. He had a special certificate made to honor her nomination and coupled it with the letter he'd sent to her parents, which commended them on the outstanding job they have done in raising, what he called "such an honorable young person."
By Capt. Andrea Bauer HQ, 107th ARW NIAGARA FALLS A sea of red, white, and blue flooded the grounds in front of Barker El ementary School, as children and teachers headed outside to take part in a flag presentation ceremony Sept. 12.
Students at the school wrote cards and letters showing their support of 107th Air Refueling Wing troops deployed over the past year. In addition to the many cards and letters, the children and staff members also sent holiday decorations to 107th ARW Security Forces members who deployed to Andrews AFB, Md., and videos to those deployed to Oman.
107th Family Support volunteer, Toby Hefferon, spent many hours helping to coordinate this effort.
Members of the 107th ARW gathered at the school as Maj. Pat Roemer presented Sandra Klimas, principal of the school, with an American flag, which was flown during a refueling mission over Afghanistan.
"This flag is presented to Barker Elementary School to express our appreciation for your support during our recent deployments," said Roemer. "These cards and letters were great morale boosters, and it makes it easier to do our job when we know that we have the support of the community."
The flag was then raised on the school's flagpole by Cub Scout Pack 26, under the direction of their leader Ann Hinton, as Klimas led the school in the Pledge of Allegiance. Staff Sgts. Kevin Smith and Peter Krangel from the 107th Security Forces Squadron also participated in the flag-raising ceremony.
The flag will be framed and displayed in a case in the school.
"It was a special honor for our school to receive the flag from the men and women of the 107th. The fact that our children were able to thank [in person] the service men and women from our area for their efforts and dedication in preserving freedom made for a very special moment that we will never forget," said Klimas.
Dennis Kenny, Barker High School principal, also attended the ceremony and was presented with a similar flag by Lt. Col. Pat Ginavan, as Pat's son, a student at the high school, looked on from the crowd.
Children had a chance to ask the men and women from the 107th questions following the ceremony. They were interested in sleeping arrangements, food, weather, and if the members had seen any fighting. The flag raising event was organized on behalf of the Cub Scouts by Sue Benoit and assistant school superintendent Gerald Stuitje.
MASTER SERGEANT JOSEPH D. RUBIN March 22, 1951 - September 20, 2002 by Master Sgt. Paul Wiencek HQ, 107th ARW NIAGARA FALLS Master Sergeant Joseph D. Rubin served for 31 honorable years in the United States military. Rubin was assigned to the 107th Security Forces Squadron at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station as an Active Guard Reserve member. He rose to the rank of Master Sergeant. Most recently, Rubin was assigned to Andrews Air Force base in support of Operation Noble Eagle until he was stricken ill. He succumbed to this illness on September 20, 2002.
This assignment was a selectively manned assignment in direct support of the President of the United States. He was assigned to provide security for Special Air Mission Aircraft, visiting Foreign Heads of State aircraft and Air Force One. He participated in arrival and departure security details for the President, Vice President, other Senior Government Officials, and numerous Foreign Heads of State transiting Andrews AFB.
Rubin was a full time AGR with the 107th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) and wore many hats: flight sergeant, squad leader and vehicle control officer. More importantly, he was known in the squadron as the "grill sergeant," according to Master Sgt. Paul Wiencek, 107th SFS NCOIC of Training. "Whenever there was an air show, or a lot of security personnel together, (Rubin) mans the grill. He was an excellent cook, especially sausage, peppers and onions that always kept the troops satisfied. His passing will have many effects on the 107th." Rubin was defined by his team approach, and would do anything for the unit. He was truly a master of all trades. He was a role model for new members to the squadron. "[Rubin]" likes to get a hold of them first. He likes to make sure they learn the right way. the Joe way.
His career started with the United States Army in 1970, where he was a Drill Instructor. Over his 31 years career, Rubin was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Army Components Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with 5 devices, National Defense Service Medal with 1 device, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Air Force Longevity Award with 6 devices, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Hourglass and M device, Air Force Training Ribbon and the New York State Long and Faithful Service Award.
By Staff Sgt. Tracy Cain HQ, 107th ARW NIAGARA FALLS A mother giving guidance to her daughter turned into a wonderful opportunity, and has brought two more patriots to Team Niagara.
Maureen Fitzpatrick got a double bonus when she visited 107th Air Refueling Wing Recruiter Master Sgt. Bryan Lange with her daughter, Amber Justice.
Since she had previous military experience in the Army, Fitzpatrick knew that the military would help her daughter achieve her goals of going to college and then becoming a police officer. What she didn't expect was to leave Lange's office with a new job of her own.
"I brought Amber in to see Bryan about enlisting in the service," Fitzpatrick said. "When I told him about my previous experience in the military, he asked me if I wanted to go back in."
Fitzpatrick said she had thought about returning to military service, but she thought that her nearly 10-year break in service would prevent it.
"I thought I was out for too long to go back," she said. As luck would have it, she was not out too long. Lange helped her explore job opportunities and career options. She chose civil engineering and will specialize in heavy equipment operation.
But the real reason Fitzpatrick came in was to find out about opportunities for Justice. So, after Lange helped Fitzpatrick find a job that suited her, he turned his attention to Justice, who didn't really need much help.
"She came to me already knowing that she wanted to go into security forces," Lange said. "With Amber it was just a matter of getting her qualified and putting the paperwork together."
Justice is a senior at Pioneer High School in Arcade, N.Y.; she will leave for basic training sometime next summer.
"After I come back from training, I want to go to Hilbert [College] for criminal justice," she said. "I'd like to go K-9, I love animals."
Justice hopes to use her military training and experience, along with her college education, to secure a civilian law enforcement position. She said she thinks that having the military experience will be a plus for her when she tries to find a job.
"I think this will be good training and experience for me. I think that when I apply for a civilian police job, I will stand out because of my military training," she said.
Justice's goal is clear; to get law enforcement experience to get a civilian police job.
Fitzpatrick is happy to be back in uniform and, with almost 10 years served, she plans to stick out the next 10 and retire. This mother and daughter duo have teamed up many times before, so enlisting together was no big deal. "Amber has been playing soccer since she was six, and I coached one of her teams," said Fitzpatrick.
In addition to soccer, the pair have run several 5K runs together, including the Mother's Day 5K Run for Breast Cancer Awareness, which they have done twice, and Sheriff Galivan's Run for Integrity 5K.
By Capt. Andrea Bauer 107th ARW Public Affairs Office NIAGARA FALLS A member of the 107th Air Refueling Wing nominated each of her co-workers for an award sponsored by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) organization.
107th ARW Intelligence Officer Capt. Tracey Robinson is employed by HSBC Bank USA. She thanked several people at the company with a "My Boss is a Patriot Award" for their support during her recent deployment to Southwest Asia.
"HSBC has always been very supportive of my military commitments," said Robinson in the narrative which accompanied the awards. "I have received more than financial piece of mind. It is a great relief that with all of the things I have to worry about, my civilian job is not one of them."
Eight members of the information technology night shift at HSBC received awards Sept. 20. Fred Dentinger, local ESGR chairman and 107th ARW Commander Col. James W. Kwiatkowski were on hand to present them.
During the presentation Kwiatkowski expressed his appreciation to the bank for their support, especially to those who work directly with Robinson. "These are the people who really provide support, where the rubber meets the road, they are the true patriots -picking up the slack while the others were serving," said Kwiatkowski.
HSBC Bank revamped their military leave policies following the events of Sept. 11 to include providing their military members with differential pay for up to one year while they are serving on military duty. An announcement during the presentation enhances this already generous policy - adding an additional 12 months of coverage.
Many members of the 107th ARW have been called to duty over the last year; there have been many employers making sacrifices in support of our efforts. It is important to the future success of the unit that employers are recognized for their contributions.
Nomination forms for the "My Boss is a Patriot" award can be found online at www.esgr.org.
Guard Times Staff SARATOGA SPRINGS Governor George E. Pataki officially opened the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs on October 16th , fulfilling a promise made to New York's veterans over a century ago. The museum is the first facility dedicated expressly to the preservation and public display of New York State's priceless collection of 10,000 military artifacts, some of which date to before the American Revolution.
"In 1865 the State Legislature passed a law establishing the State's collection of military memorabilia and pledged to create a museum to honor its veterans and their contributions to their State and nation. Today we do what others were either unable or unwilling to do - honor that longneglected promise," Governor Pataki said. "From this moment forward, the State of New York will have a permanent museum dedicated to telling the story of its veterans and educating future generations about their patriotism, courage and sacrifice."
"From the militiamen who shed blood a few miles from here to win our nation's independence, to New York's many soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines currently waging the war on terrorism, New Yorkers have always led the way to keep our great nation free. They deserve this living tribute to their service," the Governor said.
The initial phase of the museum consists of six display areas, as well as the library and archives of the Veterans Research Center. With a full-time staff of nine and over two-dozen volunteer guides, the museum will be open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum will also feature a gift shop, operated by the New York State Military Heritage Institute, a volunteer citizens group dedicated to supporting the museum. The Institute also recruits and trains museum volunteers and raises funds.
Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Maguire, Jr., The Adjutant General of the State of New York said, "Simply put, this day would have never arrived without the vision and leadership of Governor Pataki. We at DMNA are proud to have helped him achieve this worthy objective. As the commander of New York's 24,000 Guard and Militia members and a combat veteran, it is extremely heartening to serve under a Commander in Chief with such an acute appreciation for the contributions made by men and women of the military, past and present."
The museum currently features six displays, including: 7 An introduction to the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center; 7 The Origins of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center; 7 Revolutionary War Relics and the Creation of an American Identity; 7 Castles in Our Cities: Armories and the Communities; 7 On all Fronts: NY National Guard Units in WWII; 7 Art and Photography from the Collections of DMNA.
The museum's library and archive holdings include a 2000-volume library of military and New York State history, over 6,000 photographs, unit history files, scrapbooks, letters and maps. Highlights of the library and archives material include over 2,300 Civil War photographs, a collection of Civil War era newspaper clippings arranged by New York units and New York National Guard service records dating from the 1880's to 1965.
The Veterans Research Center also administers the New York State Veteran Oral History Program and the Veteran Questionnaire Program. The Oral History Program conducts and videotapes interviews of New York State veterans from all eras. The largest part of this collection is of World War II veteran interviews. The Veteran Questionnaire, similar to the Oral History Program, solicits and preserves the written and photographic record of the state's veterans and their experiences.
New York State's military history collection is the largest military artifact collection of any state. Over the course of many decades however, the collection, formerly housed at the State Capitol and various other locations around the state, fell 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. Accountability and record keeping for the collection have been brought up to accepted US Army museum standards, not only ensuring the availability of this information to educators, researchers and historians, but also making the museum eligible for federal support.
By Maj. Richard Goldenberg HQ, 42nd ID (M) CAMP SMITH The Army has selected Brigadier Gen eral Joseph J. Taluto as the new commander for the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division. The appointment comes just one year after Taluto commanded all National Guard forces responding to the terror attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City.
On the parade field here at Camp Smith, unit colors carried by soldiers from every Rainbow unit from every participating state of the Rainbow Division came together on October 6th to honor the outgoing and incoming division commanders. Hundreds of 42nd Division soldiers from every state were represented in the change of command ceremony. During the ceremony, Taluto received the division's colors, an old Army tradition signifying the assumption of command responsibilities.
A 1968 graduate of the New York National Guard's Officer Candidate School, Taluto is a 30-year veteran of the New York National Guard and has served at nearly every level of command. He has led Guard troops through some of their most significant state emergency response deployments including the devastating 1998 North Country ice storm and the 1998 Stillwater/Mechanicville tornado, and played a key role in the Guard's unprecedented response to the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack.
From September 18th through November 2, 2001, Taluto served as the Joint Task Force Commander for all the state's military forces performing New York City-based state missions in response to the World Trade Center attack. While in command of nearly 2,000 National Guard troops in Manhattan, Taluto led military efforts to secure ground zero, assist law enforcement credentialing recovery personnel, administer and operate relief supply warehouses, and provide additional security to key bridges, tunnels and rail stations throughout New York City.
"Everything the Rainbow Division achieved in New York City is a direct result of the hard work and tireless efforts of the men and women who willingly serve their communities in peace and their nation in war," Taluto said. "I am honored to take command of the Rainbow Division and am committed to continuing the Division's legacy of excellence dating back to World War I."
Most recently, Brig. Gen. Taluto was federally mobilized for Operation Noble Eagle and was assigned to the Army's Forces Command as Director of Mobilization Forces from March 23rd until June 30, 2002.
Taluto assumes command from current division commander Maj. Gen. George T. Garrett, who retires this fall after 36 years of military service in the New Jersey and New York Army National Guards. Garrett has served as the 42nd's division commander since 1999. In his civilian career, Garrett will continue to serve as the Director of Homeland Security for the State of New Jersey's Division of Military and Veteran's Affairs.
The 42nd Infantry Division is one of only 18 combat divisions in the entire Army, both active and reserve. Rainbow soldiers have the distinction of simultaneously performing duties supporting the Army in the nation's War on Terror while supporting its home state communities to assist in homeland security missions and disaster response preparedness.
The division is an multi-state force of more than 14,000 soldiers, including troops from New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Illinois, Connecticut and Delaware.
By Corporal David Konig HQ, 56th Brigade, NY Guard CAMP SMITH Under heightened security at Camp Smith, New York the 42nd Infantry "Rainbow" Division staged an elaborate and solemn ceremony marking the change of command from the outgoing commander, Major General George T Garrett to the incoming commander, Brigadier General Joseph J. Taluto. Hundreds of Rainbow Division soldiers, veterans, and friends of the 42nd came to mark the occasion. It was an impressive and colorful affair, marking a tradition of leadership dating back to one of the 42nd's earliest commanders, General Douglas MacArthur.
On the main parade field, the general officers reviewed the troops, including Rainbow soldiers from nine different states. Meanwhile, behind the bleachers, a first lieutenant in the New York Guard was racing for her vehicle. "Can't talk right now," said First Lt. Sophia Scarpelli, "We've got a fainter."
Sophia Scarpelli is a registered nurse at New York City's Roosevelt Hospital. As the Army National Guard solders rehearsed for three days in preparation for the ceremony, Scarpelli has been on duty as a soldier in the New York Guard's 244th Medical Clinic.
Working with the Army Guard as a member of the healthcare team, she helped the young National Guard soldier into her car and whisked him off to the Camp Smith Dispensary. Later she explained, "He'll be all right. It's easy to go down in a prolonged formation, he had a small case of knee lock. It happens, but you won't find it in any Army medical manual."
Leading up to and during the ceremony the New York Guard provided a staging area and command center for the Army Guard medical team, making the resources of the Camp Smith Dispensary available. These included exam and treatment rooms, pharmaceutical stores, and "human resources" such as chiropractic services.
The New York Guard's 244th Medical Clinic is the first unit in the military to have commissioned officer chiropractors on staff. Lt. Col. Patrick Delamere, a licensed chiropractor with thirty years experience, treated several National Guard soldiers over the weekend for neck and shoulder ailments. "It reminded me a little of the 9-11 activation," he said. "During those months we had six New York Guard chiropractors activated and they treated over six hundred soldiers from the National Guard, the regular Army and the Naval Reserves here at the Dispensary. We make good use of our Chiropractic Treatment Table, - it's state of the art and this is the only military installation in the country that has one."
Captain Theresa Meltz of the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters medical team had high praise for the New York Guard. "They've been very helpful and their facility made our life a lot easier. They're great people and it's been a great experience working with the New York Guard team."
Scarpelli agreed that the spirit of camaraderie and cooperation between the New York Guard volunteers and the Army National Guard was alive and well. "We (the New York Guard) had the chance this weekend to do exactly what we should be doing, support the National Guard. They were great to work with - professional and focused."
How did the two teams complement each other at Camp Smith to work as one? "They were pretty self-sufficient in terms of personnel and equipment, and we had the facilities to support them," Scarpelli said after the change of command ceremony.
"We were also able to supply additional emergency medications and defibrillation if needed. It's kind of like Thanksgiving dinner - they were invited to our house and they brought the turkey, stuffing and potatoes. We set the table and brought out the gravy."
Guard Times Staff SCOTIA Joined by top officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York National Guard's Counterdrug Taskforce unveiled its new headquarters building on October 7th, 2002 at Stratton Air National Guard base in Scotia.
The 162-member Counterdrug Taskforce is a full-time joint Air/Army National Guard taskforce dedicated to fighting the war on drugs on both the direct interdiction and drug demand reduction fronts. Counterdrug personnel provide direct support to state and federal law enforcement agencies and operate dozens of community-based youth programs across the state aimed at steering young people away from illegal drug use.
"Even as the New York National Guard continues its unprecedented support to homeland security operations and the nation's military objectives around the word, the Counterdrug Taskforce continues to fight a battle that is no less important to future generations of New Yorkers - the war on illegal drugs," said Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Maguire, The Adjutant General of New York State.
Gen. Maguire said that since Sept. 11, 2002, the direct interdiction support the taskforce provides to federal agencies at airports, seaports and border crossings in New York State has provided a double-edged benefit.
"In addition to their ability to detect contraband drugs and cash, our Counterdrug personnel's expertise and hightech detection equipment are also ideally suited to detecting instruments of terrorism," Gen. Maguire said. 'Their work in support of Border Patrol, Customs, and other federal agencies has been outstanding and continues to significantly enhance the security of New York State and our nation."
Counterdrug support to law enforcement agencies includes intelligence analysis, case support, and cargo and mail scanning support. Counterdrug provides these agencies with a variety of equipment and associated skilled operators, such as ion scan, night vision, thermal scan, and Mobile Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (MVACIS), a device capable of quickly scanning entire containers, trucks and other vehicles. In 2000, New York's was the first state National Guard to field the MVACIS device.
The agencies supported by the Counterdrug Taskforce include the New York State Police's drug taskforces across New York, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Customs, Immigration and Naturalization Service, US Border Patrol, US Marshals, and other federal agencies. Counterdrug's work at the international border also provides support to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ontario Provincial Police.
Soldiers and Airmen of the Counterdrug Taskforce also operate several community-based youth programs across the state, including the Corps of Cadets, the Galaxy program, the Brainstorm Program, and the newest initiative, the Young Mariners.
The Corps of Cadets challenges members through activities ranging from drill and ceremony to water survival and rappelling to community service and training in leadership and drug avoidance strategies. There are currently 20 Corps of Cadets detachments across New York including Schenectady, Albany, Gloversville and Saratoga Springs.
The Galaxy youth program focuses on science, math, technology, goal setting skills and drug demand reduction. Galaxy is for grades four, five, and six. The program is operated by four New York Air National Guard units across New York: 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart ANGB, Newburgh; 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton ANGB, Scotia; 106th Rescue Wing, Gabreski Airport, Westhampton Beach; and 174th Fighter Wing, Hancock Field, Syracuse.
The New York National Guard's Brainstorm Program is an in-class program for grades 4-6, run in conjunction with schools across New York State. The instruction, by trained National Guard personnel, includes a scientific examination of the health-related effects of illegal drug use, especially on the Brain and nervous system.
The newest Counterdrug youth initiative is the Young Mariners Program, which is directed at at-risk youth ages 10-17. The program, currently in its pilot phase, is modeled after the Corps of Cadets, yet incorporates seamanship, navigation, and the opportunity to sail.
Photos and story by Lt. Col. Paul Fanning Guard Times Staff ARMY COMMUNITY SERVICES CENTER, FORT DRUM "We are the busiest division in the Army, but without your help and support, we can't do our job for America," said Maj. Gen. F. L. Hagenbeck, the Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and of Fort Drum.
It was a gathering of nearly two-dozen Army spouses, installation staff and officials and community leaders as part of a unique graduation ceremony at the Army Community Services Center at Fort Drum. Twenty volunteer spouses, including two New York Army National Guard spouses and one New York Naval Militia volunteer had just completed the Army Family Team Building Instructor Training. These graduates are now able to lead and train other military family members so that military families, active and reserve, are just as ready for the impact of deployment as their Army loved one.
"The Army is changing thanks to volunteers like you," said Command Sgt. Maj. Quinton Ward from the Fort Drum garrison. "It used to be the Army was comprised of 60 percent single soldiers and 40 percent married. Today it is more like 65 percent married. As family program volunteers, you are one of the most important assets available to a rear detachment commander of a deployed unit. Because you and the family program are embedded with our units, you are here and you are a part of us. You are trusted," he said.
"Now as leaders, you will be helping other families so soldiers can continue to do the right thing on duty," said Col. Ray Helton, the Fort Drum Garrison Commander. Col. Helton congratulated the graduates and the Army Family Team Building staff that ran the training. As if to echo comments from the division commander, Helton also praised the National Guard participants and in particular, Sgt. Maj. Charles Steele for being a part of the effort. Sgt. Maj. Steele serves as the state Family Program Coordinator for the New York National Guard at state headquarters, and is also a qualified AFTB Master Trainer.
"This program is a direct result of lessons learned during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. AFTB is a critical piece of the Army's Family Readiness Program," said Steele. "It makes sense to prepare military families for separation and this approach serves the family well. It enhances the unit's effectiveness when soldiers know that their families are self-sufficient and that there is a support network in place to assist them," he added.
That means training - family training. Through the AFTB network and Fort Drum, volunteer military spouses can attend training workshops to learn about the Army and how it operates, and to develop skills to help other military family members. There are workshops on military terms and acronyms, customs and courtesy. Concepts of the military chain of command, the Army mission and military family expectations are also covered. The military benefits, pay and compensation program are taught and participants learn things like how to read the military leave and earnings statement.
But there is much more: like learning how to listen better, build self esteem, support a child's education, managing and coping skills, adapting to change - more than 40 topics through all three instructor training levels. The trainers are spouses.
AFTB is a four level program. Levels I and II are available on-line at www.aftb.org. Follow the instructions to register and start immediately. Level III must be taken in a "resident" mode. Currently Level III is given only at Fort Drum and NY's Family Program Office is hoping to present Level III at locations throughout the state sometime during the current training year. Level IV is an Instructor Training Course.
"We are looking for other volunteers," said Patti Jensen, a lead volunteer in a unit family program, who now works full-time with Sgt. Maj. Steele in the State Family Program Office in Latham. Her husband is a member of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry in Utica. Patti completed the training with this class and is now focused on helping others.
Patti Jensen was joined at the recent Fort Drum training by Tammy Hart, lead volunteer with the family program of Company C, 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry from Gloversville and Bob Trozzo, a New York Naval Militia and American Red Cross volunteer.
"Every unit needs a Family Program. Now that I have been certified, I plan to help units and families set up their programs so that our Guard families can be ready for what lies ahead," said Jensen.
For more information on Army Family Team Building, contact your unit Family Program Coordinator.
Guard Times Staff LATHAM Members of the New York National Guard are en couraged to apply for the 2003 Scholarships for Military Children program.
The program, which begins November 1st, offers scholarships of $1,500 to family members of the military. The essay topic for 2003 is "How has being the child of a military service member influenced your educational goals?"
The Scholarships for Military Children program has awarded 920 scholarships and nearly $1.5 million in its first two years.
Applications and instructions for the 2003 program can be downloaded from http://www.commissaries.com or fisherhouse.org. They can also be picked up at any commissary. The deadline for returning applications by hand or mail to a commissary is February 21, 2003.
The scholarship program is open to dependent unmarried children (under the age of 23) of active duty personnel, Guard, Reserve, and retired military. Eligibility will be determined using the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) database.
Applicants should ensure they, as well as their sponsor, are currently enrolled in the DEERS database and they have a current ID card. All applicants must be citizens of the United States.
Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and must be planning to attend, or already attending, an accredited college or university full-time in the fall term of 2003.
Students attending a community or junior college must be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program. See instruction sheets for additional criteria.
by Master Sgt. Bob Haskell National Guard Bureau WASHINGTON, D.C. Brig. Gen. Julia Cleckley vowed to make it possible for others to follow in her footsteps after becoming one of the first African-American woman to be promoted from full colonel to flag officer in the Army National Guard Sept. 3.
"Being (among) the first in anything is not worthwhile if you don't open doors for others," said Cleckley during her promotion ceremony that was punctuated with humor and humility at the Army Guard's Readiness Center in Arlington, Va.
Lt. Gen. Roger Schultz, the Army Guard's director, promoted the pioneering career officer from New York to one-star rank during the National Guard's Year of Diversity. Cleckley will now serve as Schultz's special assistant for human resources readiness.
"We're not recognizing what Julia Cleckley has done. We're recognizing what she is going to do," Schultz said. "That's about her potential. That's about the future. That's about what the Army Guard isn't yet but is going to be."
Cleckley is now the third onestar general among the 42,000 women serving in the Army Guard.
Her accomplishments include being the first minority woman to become a branch chief at the National Guard Bureau; the first African-American woman to be promoted to colonel in the Army National Guard's Active Guard and Reserve program; and the first woman and minority member to serve on the Army Guard director's special staff as chief of Human Resources. She has also been a professor of military science at Hampton University's ROTC program in Virginia.
Cleckley has also nurtured her two daughters to adulthood during the two decades she has been a widow. She has helped numerous college-bound students at the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington obtain tuition assistance. She has been honored by the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People for excellence in mentorship and community service.
Cleckley enlisted in the Women's Army Corps after finishing high school. She then joined the New York Army National Guard and received her commission in the Adjutant General Corps with the 42nd Infantry Division in 1976 while she was a schoolteacher. She has served full-time with the National Guard Bureau in northern Virginia since 1987.
She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and education from Hunter College in New York City and a master's in human resource management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She was selected for the U.S. Army War College in 1992 and studied at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston.
Cleckley acknowledged many people - sergeants and civilians and general officers including recently retired Lt. Gen. Russell Davis, the former chief of the National Guard Bureau - for helping her to obtain her own silver stars.
"I am humbled by how other people have made a difference in my life," she said.
"I am certainly honored to be a general officer. I realize what a select group I have become a part of," said Cleckley who pledged to "continue my work at the next level; to look at where we are and to be part of a team that will get us to where we need to be."
"We must give diversity more than just lip service, and we're doing that by establishing methods to achieve acceptance for all people, regardless of race and gender," added Cleckley who recalled the early days of her career when white males dominated the Army National Guard.
"Today, more women and minorities are advancing to key leadership positions throughout the National Guard," she said. "We've got a long way to go, but we're moving in the right direction."
Editor's Note: Brig. Gen. Cleckley is the second female African-American New York Army National Guard Officer. She follows Brig. Gen. Rosetta Burke, who served as the state's assistant Adjutant General. Burke received her one-star promotion in 1995.
By Lt. Col. Paul Fanning Guard Times Staff LATHAM The New York Army National Guard Officer Person nel Management Branch is hitting the road with a series of career management presentations designed to help both the individual and the force plan for the future. Presentations have already been made in Buffalo and Syracuse, and at press time additional briefings were scheduled for Latham, Valhalla and in New York City on December 14 at the Park Avenue Armory.
"We actively manage careers," said Lt. Col. Robert Rokjer, OPM Branch Chief, who came to state headquarters in 2002, after years of service as the Headquarters 27th Brigade personnel and administration officer or S1. Together with Capt. Kathy Poynton, Rokjer is determined to help NYARNG officers get a handle on their military futures by getting the facts on what is expected and needed from them, and about how to move their career in a direction of their choice.
"We try to put square pegs in square holes because it is in the interest of the individual and our units to have the right officer in the right job at the right time," said Rokjer. "Part of our job in this office is to provide mentoring, help lay out the military schools that an officer needs for advancement and the various 'gates' (types of assignments and qualifiers) that officers need to clear on their way up," he said.
"On the flip side, we are also the givers of bad news, when officers are not selected because another officer was, and that an officer's personnel file somehow doesn't measure up," he added. "We won't get a second chance to get an officer's career set up right. If we goof, it affects a name, a face and a career. I want my shop to set people up for success, and that's why we are going on the road."
"Our presentation is mainly based on the frequently asked-type questions we get over the phone in our office," said Capt Poynton. "We are also prepared to further tailor our presentation based on feedback," she added.
The key regulation that governs officer personnel management is NYARNG Regulation 611-7 Assignments and Promotions. OPM is conducting 2-hour formal briefings followed by "one on one" mentoring sessions with attending officers. According to Rokjer, the OPM section pulls the file of each officer who signs up in advance for the briefings and the files are brought along for the sessions. Following the presentation, each officer gets a chance to see the file and get input and feedback from either the branch chief himself or Capt. Poynton. On the spot corrections can be made, and the officer can get the kind of information he may really need to help shape his or her future.
"The briefings are going very well. This is an overwhelming success, and at this point, I don't want to limit us to just five of these presentations through the year. We are prepared to do more," said Rokjer.
"There are more than 900 officers in the NYARNG. Even though the presentations are well received by those who attend, there are still many more officers who need to take advantage of this opportunity for their own peace of mind, on how the process works," said Poynton.
Officers are selected for future assignments from the state database, said Rokjer. When units have a vacant officer position, they apply to OPM for a list of eligible officers. The database draws its data from career information forms, NYARNG Form 11, that each officer submits. Unless officers have a current form on file they risk missing a chance for an assignment they may really want.
"If you don't have the form in, we don't know that you want to be considered for a particular assignment," said Rokjer. "In other words, we don't know what we don't know about you."
Therefore, according to Rokjer, the basic OPM tenets for every officer are: -- Each officer has to take active interest in, and action for their own career; -- Officers should not assume that their records are complete or accurate - "come and see for yourself" (at state headquarters) and provide any documentation needed for changes if needed; -- Complete a NYARNG Form 11 annually or anytime that the officer wants to make a change in their career consideration options; -- It starts with you!
"Right now, we are looking for unit commanders who will think outside of the box on behalf of their junior officers and invite us to come and make a presentation to them," said Rokjer. "Ask us to come and support your unit's officer professional development training requirements. Call us. We are available to help and we will come," he said.
"From second lieutenant on up, each officer has to take some ownership for their own career. An officer simply can't afford to be blind to this, or assume that others are doing the career managing for them," said Poynton.
"I bring a field perspective to this process," said Rokjer. "I know what will be good for our young officers because I have been there. I know what makes sense and what doesn't as far as OPM is concerned. But everything begins with the troop. Take some initiative," he concluded.
OPM Branch at state headquarters can be reached at (518) 786-4933.
By Command Chief Warrant Officer Charles Amoroso HQ, State Area Command LATHAM The New York Army National Guard has more than sixty vacant warrant officer positions in a variety of military occupational specialities located across the state. In addition, the warrant officer population the entire Army National Guard, including New York, has an extremely high average age which means there will be even more career opportunities in the next three to five years.
The definition of a warrant officer is an officer appointed by warrant by the secretary of the army, based on a sound level of technical and tactical competence. The warrant officer is the highly specialized expert and trainer who, by gaining progressive levels of expertise and leadership, operates, maintains, administers and manages the Army's equipment, support activities, or technical systems for an entire career.
Today, warrant officers are indispensable players in the Army National Guard's unique mission or serving country, state, and community. As the Army National Guard becomes increasingly technical and specialized, the need for Warrant Officers is increasing. Warrant Officer service, today, requires outstanding leadership qualities, managerial ability, and continuing training and education to keep up with technological developments.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 46, score 110 or above on the General Aptitude Area Test, are a high school graduate (or GED), able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test, and meet selected mandatory technical qualifications for a warrant officer military occupational speciality (MOS), you may be eligible to apply. The process requires the submission of an application packet with a resume and supporting documentation, which must be forwarded to the Department of the Army MOS proponent for review. If the packet receives approval, then the applicant is appointed as a Warrant Officer Candidate (WOC) and authorized to attend the two, two week Phase, Warrant Officer Candidate School.
It is important to note that applicants may apply for a warrant officer career against a future vacancy for a retirement or upcoming transfer of an on-board warrant officer.
Warrant Officer MOS Vacancies exist in Data Processing, Supply, Food Service, Field Artillery, Intelligence, Maintenance, Engineer, Administration and Aviation.
Information concerning a warrant officer career and a comprehensive vacancy listing is located on the Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) web site, at dmna.ny.gov. Once in the site click on "NYARNG" and then on "WOPM".
For more information contact the State Command Chief Warrant Officer Office, at 518-786-4936/4625/4660.
By Col. Robert M. Edelman HQ, 53rd Troop Command VALHALLA In order to take better care of the soldiers assigned and attached to the 53rd troop com mand, a new "help hotline" has been initiated.
All 53rd Troop Command soldiers have been informed that if their chain of command has failed to address their pay, personnel, logistical or training (school) problems, they can call the 53rd Troop Command headquarters and an accurate answer to their dilemma will be provided.
Calls will be takenTuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The initiative is part of the commander's "quantum leap" forward policy for the new fiscal year which requires additional attention, throughout the command, for the innovative and interesting training of soldiers, their care and mentoring, and the formation of involved family support programs.
Inquiries can be directed to their areas of specialty. Soldiers with personnel or pay issues can telephone the personnel section at (914) 784-8203, clothing or equipment concerns to the supply section at (914) 784-8208, training or school issues to the operations section at (914) 784-8215. Other soldier concerns can be directed to the 53rd Troop Command Chief of Staff at (914) 784-8200.
The program intends to boost soldier retention by addressing the most basic of Army Guard soldier frustration, problems of pay, schools, or other administrative actions.
Guard Times Staff Dozens of 27th Brigade infantry sol diers from Central New York got to drive their humvees over one the nation's hottest National Stock Car Race tracks and get up close to some of their favorite race drivers last August.
Members of the 1st Battalion 108th Infantry, assigned to nine different communities including Auburn, Hornell, Syracuse, Ithaca and Geneseo, took a break from training to perform a special mission and in the process take a bow for their months of service guarding the state's airports and power plants. Race officials from the world-famous Watkins Glen International Race Track invited the New York National Guard to help them kick off a nationally televised race last August 11.
It was an invitation to the Guard to support the state's race fans while also getting public recognition for the hard work and long hours the troops had performed over the many previous months.
The 108th provided 23 trucks and drivers and drove the 46 race drivers around the track in front of 150,000 fans and a national NBC television audience numbering in the millions during the introduction pace lap. Then the soldiers were invited to stay and enjoy the race. Each soldier chosen to participate had performed airport security duty in either New York City or at one of the other 20 airports statewide. In addition, each was a diehard racing fan. NASCAR racing comes to New York State only once a year and these soldiers had lost the opportunity to attend over the last three years due to the preparatory training and deployment of the 27th Brigade in August 2001 to the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA.
During the opening ceremony, a public address announcer introduced the unit and described the soldiers' service during its JRTC rotation and all its work as part of the nation's War on Terror.
Fans roared in appreciation, not just for the drivers, but for the troops as well. For the soldiers, it was a moment to treasure and to long remember. An over flight by a formation of F-16s from the 174th Fighter Wing, New York Air National Guard in Syracuse added to the excitement.
By Colonel Robert M. Edelman HQ, 53rd Troop Command VALHALLA The latest winner of the 53rd Troop Command Full Time Manning (FTM) Achievement Award is Sgt. First Class Thomas Hunter. Hunter, assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment (HHD) of the 206th Corps Support Battalion has been a member of the full-time force for over 20 years.
Hunter was nominated and selected for his accomplishments as a Unit Readiness NCO in the corps support battalion headquarters. He is recognized for his outstanding commitment to get the job accomplished, no matter the challenge. He is highly regarded as a true professional that takes great pride in his work. Hunter is a results-oriented NCO whose take charge approach has improved the quality of training, not only in his unit, but the battalion as a whole.
"There are very few soldiers who have his demonstrated work ethic," said Major Scott Doust, his supervisor. "He is one of the finest NCOs I have worked with; the Troop Command is fortunate to have someone of his ability."
Hunter's efforts have contributed in large part to his unit's success during weekend training activities, Annual Training, and various evaluations and inspections.
As winner of the FTS Achievement award, Hunter will receive an inscribed personal desk coin holder, a giftcertificate to Blockbuster Video and a personal framed thank-you note from the Commander. Additionally, his name was affixed to a permanent plaque at the Valhalla Armory.
Guard Times Staff NEW YORK CITY Joined by hundreds of New York National Guard and state militia members, Governor Pataki presented the newly-created New York State Defense of Liberty Medal on September 8th to a representative group of about 20 members of the state's military forces in recognition of their service in defense of the State of New York.
The medal, created at the direction of the Governor, is intended to convey the State of New York's appreciation for military service to the people of New York State following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Members of the New York Army and Air National Guard, Naval Militia and state Guard who served seven or more days in the borough of Manhattan, are eligible for the World Trade Center device in addition to the medal.
"Over the last year, thousands of men and women of New York's National Guard, have worked tirelessly and courageously to keep our state safe and secure," said Governor Pataki. "I could not be prouder of the highly competent, professional job they've done or more grateful for their personal sacrifice and dedication on behalf of the people of New York."
Since September 11th, 2001, over 15,000 members of the New York National Guard and state militia have been called to active duty. Immediately after the World Trade Center attacks, the Governor mobilized troops from across the state to provide security and other support to the City of New York. By the evening of September 11, 1,500 National Guard troops had reported to New York City armories and another 1,500 troops from upstate were headed for New York City. As many as 5,000 troops were on duty at one time in the New York City area.
The Governor also deployed troops for extended security duty at Ground Zero, New York City bridges, tunnels and train stations, as well as airports and nuclear power facilities throughout the state. In addition, thousands more New York Air and Army National Guard troops have been called to federal active duty supporting Noble Eagle homeland security missions including those at the Canadian border, and at military installations including West Point, and Ft. Drum and Air bases across the state. Fighter aircraft of the New York Air National Guard have also supported Combat Air Patrols over New York City and the North East Air Defense sector has been continuously monitoring the skies over New York for unauthorized air traffic. Thousands more New York National Guard troops have served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom both within the US and overseas.
"We have asked more of our state's Guard and militia forces than ever before, and they have risen to that challenge, meeting every mission assigned to them. No state's military has done more over the last year to keep their fellow citizens secure and support our nation's military objectives overseas. The Defense of Liberty Medal is intended to convey our admiration, support and appreciation for this great service and personal sacrifice," the Governor said.
The Adjutant General of the State of New York, Major General Thomas P. Maguire, Jr. said, "Over the last year, our troops have proven that professionalism, discipline and excellence are not adjectives reserved only for the active duty military. On behalf of our troops, I would like to thank their families and employers, and our Commander in Chief, for all they have done to allowing us the opportunity to serve the people of our nation and the Great State of New York. Their support has played no small part in making our largest sustained deployment since World War II such a success."