LATHAM, NY (10/25/2013)-- New York Army National Guard Col. Michel "Mike" Natali, a Glenville, N.Y. resident, assumes duties as the director of the New York National Guard Counterdrug program in Scotia Nov. 1.
The Counterdrug Task Force provides support through highly skilled National Guard personnel, specialized equipment, and facilities to Law Enforcement Agencies and Community Based Organizations in order to enhance their efforts in response to the changing drug threat.
Through the summer of 2013, the partnership and support for law enforcement and the New York Counterdrug Task Force is credited in the seizure of more than 8,300 pounds of drugs over the fiscal year, running from October 2012 through September 2013. Drugs seized included cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. Of that, 3,036 pounds of cultivated marijuana was destroyed with Counterdrug's help, with a street value of more than $12.5 million.
Natali, an Iraq war veteran, is the former commander of the 106th Regional Training Institute, where he led the New York National Guard's training program at Camp Smith.
A native of Watertown, N.Y., Natali was commissioned into the Military Intelligence Corps in May 1987.
He served on active duty assignments that included command of the 110th Military Intelligence Battalion Headquarters Company and Intelligence Collection Manager for the 10th Mountain Division Intelligence Section at Fort Drum, N.Y. and battalion intelligence officer for the 5th Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division in Mainz, Germany.
After nine years of active service, Natali joined the New York Army National Guard in December 1996. His National Guard assignments include Intelligence Officer of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Intelligence Officer for the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters, Deputy Commander of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and most recently as Commander of the 106th Regional Training Institute.
Natali has deployed to South Florida supporting the military's response to Hurricane Andrew, to Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope, to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy and to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He is a graduate of the Military Intelligence Basic and Advance Courses, the Signals Intelligence Course, the Command and General Staff College as well as the Military Intelligence and Infantry Pre-Command Courses. He is currently enrolled in the United States Army War College.
Natali is a 1987 graduate of Norwich University with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. He also holds a Masters in Public Administration from Marist College.
In his civilian capacity, Natali is an Investigator with the New York State Police and assigned to the New York State Intelligence Center-Counter Terrorism Center.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award), Army Commendation Medal (3rd Award), Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal (2nd Award), Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2nd Award), Humanitarian Service Medal (2nd Award), Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Hourglass and "M" Aperture, the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, the Reserve Component Exercise Support Ribbon (2nd Award) and the Army Parachutist badge.
Natali lives in Glenville with his wife Barbara. They have three sons and two daughters.
Natali replaces Col. Richard Sloma, who retires after some 30 years of military service. Sloma led the New York National Guard Counterdrug program since October 2011.