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By the time you read this, I will no longer be your Adjutant General.
It has been an unbelievable 30 months serving with the best personnel our nation has to offer.
Whether Airman, Soldier, NY Guard volunteer, Naval Militia or civilian, each one of you should be commended for the job you do each and every day in service to our state and nation.
Although you will have a new Adjutant General - the 54th - and I will be another picture on the fourth floor hallway in Latham, I still get my chance to communicate my thoughts one last time.
I am a strong believer that commanders at any level should be in command for 3-5 years - some shorter, and very few longer. I believe the same holds true for The Adjutant General.
After nine years serving at the state headquarters, four as the Air Guard Chief of Staff, two as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, one year as the Commander of our New York Air Guard and the last two-and-one-half as Adjutant General and Commander of the Air Guard, I have decided it is time for someone else to lead this great organization. As for my future, I will be taking a position in Washington, D.C. and I will continue my service there.
Serving as the Adjutant General and being responsible for the New York Army and Air National Guard, the Naval Militia, the New York Guard and our federal and state civilian workforce has been the capstone to my military career and I have found it incredibly rewarding.
You, the members of our Army and Air National Guard are exceptionally professional and dedicated in everything you do. Whether it is responding to a domestic operation and helping our citizens in need, or deploying to Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North or South America, you accomplished every mission I asked you to do.
I was once asked by a Soldier what my goal as The Adjutant General was. I had not previously thought about it in such a way.
After reflecting on the question for a while, I said I would love to shake every person's hand in the organization, talk to them, and learn about them.
I would also like to thank them for their many sacrifices and the sacrifices of their loved-ones. As with many goals I have set - I failed. I have not yet managed to shake all of your hands, but each of you and your families have been in my thoughts and prayers these past 30 months. It has been an honor for me to get to know so many of you, and your families. Whether it was in a classroom, in the field, or on the flightline, I have cherished each conversation.
New York is a big state and there are a lot of you, and you continue to move around as you train and deploy. So, I am sorry I have not been able to meet each one of you personally. I have been able to see and appreciate, however, the impact that each one of you has had on this great state.
Nothing we do could be-done alone, and it is because of your individual work that we are able to accomplish everything that we do. You are all truly great Americans and it has been a privilege to serve with you as your commander.
The members of our state military forces, the Naval Militia and the New York Guard, have also been impressive to watch in action. All of you Naval Militia members signed on to serve our state, even though most of you already balance a part-time-military career in the Reserves and your civilian workforce.
I appreciate the professionalism Naval Militia members have brought to their missions whether it is running a boat in New York Harbor, filling sandbags on Lake Ontario, or cooking meals at Camp Smith.
Our small force of New York Guard men and women have proven that they are there when we need them. I am grateful for the effort you put into training on your own time - and often your own dime - so you can be there for New York when needed.
Finally, I want to thank our state and federal civilians for the work you do every day that helps support our men and women in uniform as they deploy overseas or go on state active duty.
The New York National Guard and the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs are great organizations with great missions. You get to serve the people of the United States of American, the people of New York State, and the people of your hometowns.
That service is a true privilege. You do things every day that make a difference. You should all be proud of your uniforms, your organizations, and the people you work with every day.
One of the great things about a military organization is that it goes on doing good things no matter who is at the helm.
Commanders come and go and people come and go, but the organization and its traditions remain. The New York National Guard has tremendous history and tradition ranging from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War to the World Wars, and now Iraq and Afghanistan.
I know this great organization, with great people, will keep doing great things.
I would like to leave you with three final thoughts:
Thank you for who you are and I salute each and every one of you...thank you all for a job well done.