|Personnel||Adjutant General's Biography||Command Message||TAG Policies|
Hello everyone. Today, as I write this note, it is June 15, 2020 and day 100 of our COVID-19 response efforts. By the time you read these remarks, it will be well into summer. I hope that things across the state and nation will have improved significantly by then. New York is reopening and moving forward. The governor's New York Forward plan is working and allowing regions to reopen in phases. The response of our service members and civilian employees is nothing short of astounding.
2020 will be a historic year by all accounts - it certainly will be a year none of us will soon forget.
Starting back in March, the New York Military Forces were called into State Active Duty (SAD) to assist with the COVID-19 crisis - initially in New Rochelle, but then rapidly expanding into New York City, Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley, and then eventually across the entire State. We then received presidential approval to place the Army and Air National Guard on federal Title 32 502(f) orders starting on 28 March 2020.
Then on May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd. His death sparked massive civil unrest unseen in our country since the 1960s. Combined with the needless death of George Floyd, the COVID crisis, and the resulting economic downturn in our economy, 2020 is a year like no other.
I want to reiterate that we are an organization that lives by and practices our respective service's core values. Racist, hateful, violent, and hurtful conduct or comments, which discredits the reputation of our military services, are not acceptable. We have no room in our ranks for people who do not abide by their sworn oath of service to protect and defend the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New York and to live by our military values. It is that simple.
When violations are reported, commanders have an inherent responsibility to investigate. Commanders have the full spectrum of administrative and/or disciplinary actions at their disposal.
The safety and well-being of our service members is our highest priority. To that end, we are working with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Warrior Resilience (WRAIR) and Fitness Division of the National Guard Bureau to conduct two studies of our personnel to assess the force's wellness and resilience.
For all those Soldiers and Airmen who participated in the decedent recovery and transportation missions with New York City, Westchester County, and Orange County Office of Chief Medical Examiner, the WRAIR has developed a tool to assess service members at regular intervals to determine their psychological health. The entire leadership team strongly encourages participation in this study.
The other assessment run by the National Guard Bureau's Warrior Resilience and Fitness Division looks at the entire force to look at stressors associated with deploying for the COVID-19 response, those not deploying, and the impacts of family and community stressors associated with dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Senior leaders will use the results of this study across the country to inform programs regarding resiliency. Both of these efforts will help the total force and improve resiliency programs.
Keeping on the theme of safety and summer vacations, I ask everyone to refocus on keeping themselves, their families, and their units safe. It is also motorcycle season; wear the required reflective vests and required personnel protective equipment when riding. Water and fire safety is especially important for young children. When training, remember military vehicle speed is 50 MPH unless the road's speed limit is lower. Everyone is a safety Officer or NCO when training. If you see something unsafe, stop the action and make immediate corrections.
Thank you again for everything you do. You are fantastic service members and civilian employees. We simply could not do what we do without each one of you. Stay safe and healthy!