by Staff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta
138th MPAD FORT POLK, LA Sweat-soaked and filthy, aching with fatigue, dim with sleeplessness, and often tortured by the maddening itch of poison ivy, oak, or sumac, the 27th Brigade Task Force (BTF) soldiers who deployed here in early August fought for the fictional country of Cortina-a battle of ambushes, assaults, and last ditch stands.
On roads made deserts by a scorching, relentless sun, or in the underbrush-choked pine forests where cicadas seemed to snigger at stealth, the soldiers found Cortina's enemies fictional in name only, and their drive, savvy and experience quite real.
And just as the enemy role players brought war's realities home to the soldiers, the soldiers took home the lessons of the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), best expressed by 2nd Lt. Steve Dunlap, C Company, 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry, 27th Brigade. "You have to be highly aggressive. You have to want to win," Dunlap said. "Put it in your mind that you're going to a foreign country, you're going to fight a real war, and you're going to fight as aggressively as possible. You're here to fight."
Fight they did, in a nineteen-day exercise which 27th Brigade Training Officer Lt. Col. Walter Burt said was the culmination of four years' training. "It was a validation of our unit Mission Essential Task List," said Burt.
The 27th Brigade received support from hundreds of other NY Army National Guard troops, who were attached to the Brigade Task Force ir were assigned to the Joint State Task FOrce from teh State Headquarters. More than 4,600 New York troops went to Fort Polk and were joined by mnore than 1,500 troops from other states.
The Superbowl of Infantry Training "This is the superbowl we've been preparing for," Sgt. Paul Stewart, B Company, 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry said before the exercise.
This "superbowl" was played in a Fort Polk training area dubbed the "box"-an approximately 20 square-kilometer life-size sandtable made realistic by citizen and guerilla army roleplayers. The training scenario pitted the Orion task Force against the guerrillas, dubbed the Cortinian Liberation front, or CLF, in the task force's two-fold mission -to help stabilize the Cortinian government and defend against a possible invasion by Cortinia's fictional well-equipped neighbor, Atlantica.
The 27th Brigade was the lead combat force assigned to defeat the CLF, said Burt, and went in first-air landing into a field landing strip (FLS) to create a lodgement for task force troops and supplies. The lightfighters got their first taste of the CLF here.
"The [CLF] were good," said Staff Sgt. John M. Ouellette, A Company, 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry. "They know their techniques." Ambushed soon after their air insertion, Ouellette's said his unit took fire from all directions. Though they broke the ambush, the unit took heavy casualties. "We landed on top of the OPFOR," he said. "They would shoot and move, so it was hard to know what was going on. You had to decide where the ambush was coming from. It was a fantastic technique." "The OPFOR is better," said Burt. "It's their backyard. They're very good at what they do." Nonetheless, the brigade and task force pushed out into this backyard-patrolling and establishing a buffer zone to protect the airstrip from direct assault and indirect fire. The brigade then began the search and attack phase of the operation, targeting CLF command, supply, and indirect fire assets, and attempting to free villages from CLF control. "It started out to be an infantry war, because it took us a while to get our combined arms in sync," said Dunlap. Problems with the air movement led to a key combined arms asset-artillery being deployed late.
The CLF meanwhile, were ambushing convoys and fouling task force supply lines. This brought combat to the support soldiers, said Burt, and validated, to a degree, brigade ambush training. "This is something we've worked on for the last four years. Self-defense is something the CSS soldiers trained on." Burt said that in his opinion, those CSS soldiers without ambush training made deadly mistakes-like stopping in ambush kill zones.
Dunlap said leaders plan for ambushes, but hope they don't happen. He added the CLF's ability to ambush and escape without suffering retaliation was frustrating. "It's tough fighting a war like that," he said. "Vietnam was living proof of that." He added that priorities following an ambush, like getting out of the kill zone due to the danger of CLF indirect fire and casualty evacuation made retaliation a secondary concern. "You have to detach from revenge and worry about your situation right there."
Fighting the Enemy and the Environment Burt said brigade armor assets kept the roads open and supplies flowing, a fact not lost on Sgt. Todd Strelow, a squad leader for A Company, 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry. "It was a pleasant surprise that we ate and never went dry," said Strelow.
Not going dry was a key brigade concern, especially with an almost ceaseless workload, in temperatures over 100 degrees. "It's hotter than New York," Ouellette said. "You walk outside and just start sweating." Ouellette said his unit was at 50 percent security every night, and the soldiers were working on four hours of sleep per day. "That, when combined with the heat, midday, makes you want to take a siesta," he said.
In addition to a gallon of water stored in three canteens, each soldier carried a camelback -an oblong camouflage backpack with a 100- ounce bladder of water inside, and a drinking tube for hands-free hydration. "The camelbacks are lifesavers," Ouellette said. "The drinking tube is right at your lips, so you can drink and keep moving. This is the best piece of equipment they issued me. We probably would have had a lot of heat casualties without it."
Staff Sgt. Dan Clare, B Company, 1st Battalion 108th Infantry, said that while digging a fighting position one day, he felt lethargic. "All the power in my body suddenly decreased," said Clare. The heat injury Clare dreaded turned out to be weakness from not eating, which he attributed to the high operational tempo. He recovered after eating an MRE. "When you're on the move," said Clare, "you have no time to eat."
The soldiers also contended with contact dermatitis from poison ivy, oak, and sumac-a skin ailment which is, said 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry Physician's Assistant 1st Lt. Michael Dollard, "an overwhelming need to scratch." "There's plentiful amounts of poison, ivy, oak, and sumac on Fort Polk," said Dollard. "It is so plentiful it would have been hard for the troops to avoid it." It was especially hard for the lightfighters, who used foliage for concealment and walked, crouched, and crawled through poison plant-laden brush to engage the enemy. Dollard estimated 60 percent of his battalion had some form of contact dermatitis, which surprised him.
"It surprised me because I think we were so focused on trying to minimize heat casualties that we forgot all about poison ivy, oak and sumac." Dollard said topical treatments like calamine lotion and hydrocortisone were in short supply, and ineffective because troops simply sweated them away. So soldiers were given Predison and Benadryl.
Battles for Villages and Civilians
The fight went on, in places like the box's fictional village of Huffton, captured by C Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry. Pfc. Robert Hemsing's platoon was pulling security for the assault, and was overrun in a CLF preemptive strike. The CLF's use of captured American Humvees and .50 caliber machine guns in the strike angered Hemsing.
"We would've had them if it weren't for that," Hemsing said. Actions in villages brought soldiers in contact with Cortinian civilians-roleplayers who played their part to the hilt, harassing and often insulting the already exhausted, sleep-deprived troops. Dunlap, who was mobilized for the Los Angeles riots, recommended a simple weapon for dealing with civilians on the battlefield (COBs)- respect. He found the COB aspect of the exercise interesting. "That was completely different," he said. "We did a lot of training on COB."
Burt said civil affairs units helped COBs understand the role of friendly troops, thus undercutting civilian support of the CLF. "Civil Affairs was a critical piece in this," he said. Later in the exercise, the task force scraped fighting positions out of Louisiana's chalky white and rust-brown soil to defend against the invading Atlantican Army. While some Atlantican armor got through the defenses, other units succeeded in channeling invading forces into kill zones.
Dunlap said the lightfighters were outgunned. "Light infantry against two anti-armor missiles does not win," he said.
Learning from the Rotation
Soldier reaction to the exercise was varied and vocal. Strelow felt micro-management and lack of aggression prevented full victories. He cited a case where his unit, operating in the village of Carnis, was pulled off an objective due to the lack of off follow-on forces, which, Strelow argued, could have searched for CLF intelligence assets while his unit pulled security. "Trial and tribulation brings the team together"
"The maps and other information we could have gotten off the CLF were left behind because of lack of aggressiveness on our leaders' part." Others were disappointed at not making contact with the enemy forces.
"It's kind of disappointing when you go two to three kilometers, and it's hot, it's 100 degrees or more out, you're sweating, and you're watching guys drop all around you from heat exhaustion," said Sgt. Anthony J. Huntington, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry. "You make it to a certain point and you feel like a survivor, and let down because you didn't actually come in contact."
In all, the soldiers were carrying 120 pounds. Huntington estimated that he walked a total of 40 miles during the exercise. Most agreed though, that the OPFOR was formidable."I'd like to bring them up to Fort Drum, in January, in zero-degree weather, where I know every tree and deer trail-and then we could fight," said Dunlap.
Though upset that the OPFOR knew the rules of the wargame better, Dunlap conceded they were a skillful foe. "They're knowledgeable," he said. "They do this 200 days per year."
"That's why it's quality training," said Strelow. "They [the OPFOR] are the bad guys, and you want to kill them. It's easy to get swept up in it."
Command Sgt. Major Febles said soldiers should bring combat and situational awareness to the box at JRTC.
"They should have an attitude of self-preservation. They have to come in here and fight for each other and win."
"JRTC is trying to keep pace with what's going on in the world today," Burt said. "You can't help coming out further ahead in your military career having experienced JRTC."
Some lightfighters participated in a live-fire exercise prior to the field exercise in the box. Spec. Thomas Senter was disappointed that more soldiers couldn't take part in the live fire training, since National Guardsmen don't have many chances to fire their weapons. "You have to be highly aggressive. You have to want to win"
"When we're down here, and we have these kind of resources available to us, we could have done more live fire, and training on individual soldier's familiarity with their weapons," said Senter. They admitted, however, that the field exercise built unit esprit de corps.
"Trial and tribulation brings the team together," said Senter.
Exercise realism gave the troops an idea of what to expect in a real-world situation, and helped leaders identify shortcomings their SOPs and planning, said 2nd Lt. Robert Romano, 1st Battalion, 108th Infantry. "They found out what works and what doesn't work," Romano said.
Strelow put the exercise training value more succinctly. "You can't always be the winner," he said. "Sometimes you lose, look at it, and learn from it."
2002 Defense Budget to Include Fort Drum Projects
WASHINGTON, DC (Congressman John M. McHugh News Release) - Rep. John M. McHugh, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, confirmed that the President's defense budget request for 2002 includes millions of dollars for base enhancement projects for Fort Drum, New York.
The President's budget request will include a total of $63.85 million for various improvements to Fort Drum and its training facilities. They include $17 million for improvements to the New York National Guard Maneuver Training Equipment Sites (MATES) and $9 million for continued upgrades to the post Battle Simulation Center. The first of a three phase project, the New York National Guard's top military construction priority is the construction of a new $48 million MATES. The project will replace existing maintenance facilities on "old post" that are obsolete. The new facility will be adjacent to Wheeler-Sack Airfield. The current MATES facility serves the armored and wheeled vehicles of National Guard units from New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
The Fort Drum Battle Simulation Center (BSC) will progress into its second phase of upgrades to a state-of-the-art facility that supports battle simulations for maneuver and combat support units. The new training complex will replace the eight separate World War II era buildings that provide only half of the necessary training space.
"It is a clear sign that the Bush Administration understands Fort Drum's significance and the need to continue to invest in the installation to ensure that it remains the most modern military facility in the world, McHugh said.
DoD Targets Ecstasy Drug Use
WASHINGTON, DC (DoD News Service) - "Ecstasy" is the fastest growing abused drug in the United States, and the military is taking steps to ensure it doesn't endanger service members.
A drug with no known medical use, Ecstasy abuse has exploded among young people, especially those between 18 and 21. Federal authorities seized 49,000 Ecstasy pills in 1997 - but more than 900,000 just two years later.
DoD officials said 1,070 cases of Ecstasy abuse in fiscal 2000 accounted for 5.6 percent of all positives in the DoD urinalysis program. This puts Ecstasy behind marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine as the most abused drugs in the military.
"This is a problem in the civilian world," said Deborah Rosenblum, principal director for counternarcotics. "Anything that is as popular, in vogue - where there are misconceptions about it - in the civilian world, we certainly take note of it from a recruiting and readiness perspective."
Ecstasy is dangerous. Findings of a primate study announced at a mid-July research conference in Bethesda, Md., indicated monkeys given the human equivalent of four daily doses of Ecstasy showed brain damage and behavioral changes two weeks and 18 months after the "binge." The effects noted are consistent with those observed in humans - memory loss and acute depression, among others.
Abuses in fiscal 2001 have slowed, officials said. Rosenblum said contributing factors are education efforts by the services and members' growing awareness that the urine test can detect Ecstasy use.
Overall, the DoD counterdrug effort has been successful. In 1980, surveys showed 28 percent of service members said they had abused an illegal drug in the last month. The 1998 survey put that number at 2.7 percent. The department currently tests for marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines, which include Ecstasy.
Rumsfield Re-Examines Two Simultaneous Fights
WASHINGTON, DC (American Forces Press Service) - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is mulling a new force strategy that could be likened to a fighter who can totally stomp one enemy while neutralizing a second with a punch in the nose.
"I am saying we can afford to have the ability to win two significant conflicts. With respect to one of them, we can do it on our own terms; we can go all the way (to capture the enemy's capital), if we want to," Rumsfeld told reporters Aug. 17 at the Pentagon. "And, in the other situation, you can defeat" the enemy, but not occupy his capital."
Rumsfeld remarked that the president would have the option of prioritizing either conflict. U.S forces would also be able "to conduct a series of smaller scale contingencies" under the proposed new strategy, he said.
The DoD force-sizing concept since the early 1990s has been for the U.S. military to be able to decisively win two near-simultaneous major regional conflicts. That strategy eventually "took priority over people, it took priority over modernization, it took priority over transformation," Rumsfeld said.
"That has been the construct that has been used for the past decade and it has brought us ... to a point where we don't have the forces to do it," he said.
I wasn't quite sure what this first column would be about. Perhaps I would introduce myself and my family to you as the new TAG and tell you a little about my goals, vision and the like. A few words about personal core values might have been appropriate. Special thanks for the friendship and leadership of my predecessor, Maj.Gen. Jack Fenimore, also would have been the right thing to do.
Certainly, there would be some space dedicated to congratulating the 27th Brigade on their very successful completion of JRTC at Fort Polk La. and all the valuable lessons learned. The last flight and retirement of the awesome AH-IF Cobra from the ranks of the Rainbow Division's 1st Battalion of the 142d Aviation deserved special recognition after decades of service to our country. The 174th Fighter Wing's very recent return from the latest AEF rotation and the current deployment of the Air Rescue folks at the 106th in support of this critical Total Air Force commitment is are noteworthy and deserve sincere words of appreciation.
More Americans lost their lives in the single tragedy of the World Trade Center disaster than on the shores of Normandy on D-Day
However, all those thoughts were scattered to the chaos of 11 September '01. The completely unspeakable horrors of a previously beautiful New York City morning, a beautiful American morning, rained down upon us as the most unholy acts of a pathetic coward ripped at the heart of this Nation-and the World. The images of this obscenity were burned into our collective memories forever.
Thousands of families had their love ones tom from them in a matter of terror filled moments. More Americans lost their lives in the single tragedy of the World Trade Center disaster than on the shores of Normandy on D-Day. There were more than twice the victims than the total number of heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice on 7 December 1941. And the world suffered along with us, as an estimated 2,600 citizens from 65 nations of the world community would never return to their homelands- alive.
Your response at the request of out Governor was immediate, overwhelming and totally from the heart. Our relative inability to communicate during those first few hours didn't stop our "Joint Task Force New York City" from coming on line and performing magnificently. The compassionate arms of thousands of New York Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Naval Militia and New York Guard were extended to meet the desperate needs of countless fellow New Yorkers. We embraced the City within just a matter of hours. An embrace that continues weeks later and will continue for weeks to come as we enhanced and refined the JTF effort at the direction of our state and city leaders.
Our Air National Guard units were immediately tasked to provide missions in concert with DoD as fighter, tanker and airlift aircraft, all proudly carrying New York tail flashes, were launched to support either Homeland Dense missions or OCONUS requirements as they came down from the MACOMS. A very special and most invaluable staging area was set up at the Air Base at Stewart to meter critically needed equipment and people into the stricken area. Camp Smith teemed with hundreds of citizen soldiers awaiting their assignments. The Civil Support Team from Scotia made at least three trips to "Ground Zero due to the demand for their extraordinary capabilities.
Now, we are preparing for a brand new mission for our Guardsmen and women. In response to President Bush's Airport Security initiative we are about to deploy over 300 of our ranks, specially trained by the FAA, to partner with the security and law enforcement forces at 19 New York airports to help provide a sense of security for the traveling American public.
Your response at the request of out Governor was immediate, overwhelming and totally from the heart.
It's very difficult to forecast what other missions might be out there for you and your families. We will be hearing and talking a lot in the months to come about Homeland Defense. It's a mission for which we are well suited and performing from before the birth of our nation. Time will tell. In the interim, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the dedication, professionalism and love that you have provided during these most trying of times. I can't tell you how proud I am to be counted among your ranks. God Bless.
I am writing because I would like to commend Master Sgt. Daniel Jones, 107th Security Forces Squadron, New York Air National Guard, Niagara Falls. Master Sgt. Jones distinguished himself in his superior accomplishment and conduct in his professional duties as a bus driver for the 11th Cadet Corps from the Westland High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) field exercise during the period of 6-13 July, 2001.
His professional skills ensured the safety of twenty - eight students in a safe trip to Washington, DC, and in returning them safely to Columbus, Ohio. I also understand that he did this without pay. After returning the students to Columbus, he then returned the bus to Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
On behalf of myself, Lt. Col. Lee Kennedy, detachment commander and the cadets of the Westland High School JROTC, it has been a pleasure to work with this fine airman. His actions reflect the high standards for himself and the New York National Guard.
Edward L. McDonald
Master Sgt., US Army, (retired)
By Scott Sandman
Guard Times Staff ALBANY Governor George E. Pataki today announced this August the appointment of Brig. General Thomas P. Maguire, Jr, to the position of The Adjutant General of the State of New York. The Adjutant General heads the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs and is commander of the all of the State's military forces, including the New York Air and Army National Guard, New York Naval Militia and volunteer New York Guard.
Maguire succeeds Adjutant General Maj. Gen. John H. "Jack" Fenimore V, who retired from the Air Force June 30. "General Fenimore was one of the most outstanding leaders New York's military forces has ever had," Governor Pataki said. "He not only helped bring about the historic turnaround of the New York Army National Guard, he carried out bold new programs like the Guard's Tuition Incentive Program, and the innovative GuardHELP community support initiative.
"General Tom Maguire has the proven command experience, reputation and qualifications to succeed a commander of General Fenimore's caliber," the Governor said. "Under his command, the New York National 105th Airlift Wing has been one of the best in the entire Air Force, let alone the National Guard. He is a decorated combat veteran and a proven leader who has the right stuff to lead New York's military forces well into the 21st century."
Maguire, 53, previously commanded the New York Air National Guard's 105th Airlift Wing (AW) at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, a position he held since 1994. Maguire, a 32-year Air Force veteran, is a command pilot whose flying experience includes more than 5000 flying hours and more than 250 combat missions during the Vietnam War.
Brig. Gen. Maguire said, "Governor Pataki has been a great supporter of the National Guard, and I am grateful to him for this tremendous opportunity to serve the people of New York State. To the men and women of the 105th and the people of the mid-Hudson Valley, I would like to extend my sincere thanks. I look forward to serving them both well as Adjutant General. I would also like to congratulate General Fenimore on an outstanding career and thank him for his great leadership."
Under Maguire's command, the 105th AW, the nation's only Air National Guard unit to fly the huge C-5 "Galaxy" aircraft, has been widely regarded as one of the Air Force's best flying units. The 105th's most recent Operational Readiness Inspection, conducted by the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, resulted in the highest possible score and achieved an Air Force unit rating of "Outstanding," under his leadership. Maguire, a native of Mt. Vernon and longtime resident of Walden, is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester MA. He began his Air Force career in 1969, commissioned through Holy Cross's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program.
Under Maguire's command, the 105th AW has not only performed its federal military mission with recognized excellence, it has been an integral part of the State's emergency response force and flown many goodwill disaster relief missions to foreign nations and US territories. These include flights to Croatia and the Virgin Islands in 1995, Rwanda and Puerto Rico in 1996, five missions to the Caribbean in 1998, Venezuela in 1999 and El Salvador in March of this year.
General Maguire's military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medals with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, the Expeditionary Service Medal for actions in Panama during Operation Just Cause, the Southwest Asian campaign Medal with battle stars and the Kuwait Liberation Medal for service during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
By Spec. Diane Filak
138th MPAD FORT POLK, LA During the hot and humid three August weeks of the 27th Infantry Brigade's rotation to the Joint Readi ness Training Center (JRTC), supply troops sustained thousands of soldiers in the field.
"Our mission here focuses on logistics, transportation, moving food, fuel and troops as needed," said Lt. Col. Rick Finch, commander, 427th Support Battalion, 27th Brigade.
To prepare for JRTC, the brigade completed three railhead courses, two airload planners courses, two hazardous materials courses, and two slingload courses over the past two years. Not everything runs smoothly in the hostile, tactical environment of JRTC, said Finch during the exercise.
"It's difficult at best," said Finch. "We run into unknown obstacles, not just defense obstacles, but different things that just don't time themselves out correctly. We have quite a few hurdles that we have to get over. It is relatively new terrain and we are learning our way around."
The railhead alone was a big project. Soldiers had to be trained and vehicles had to be prepared for transportation. Safety was a very important factor, said Chief Warrant Officer Robert C. Kirchgessner, 427th Support Battalion. The vehicles came from five states-Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Alabama, New York, and Virginia.
At Fort Drum in late July, five days prior to deployment, 120 soldiers set up the railhead to prepare and load 800 vehicles, said Finch.
Getting things done requires a whole lot of cooperation up and down the chain of command, said Kirchgessner.
Sgt. Major Thomas Armstrong, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry underscored the dramatic importance of the Logistics Task Force to the mission of the soldiers in the field. "No water, no food, no ammo, no supplies, we are dead in the water," said Armstrong, just hours after airlanding.
By Spec. Kathleen A. Edgcomb
138th MPAD FORT POLK, LA Their mission is to support soldiers with potable water, said 1st Lt. John O'Brien, Office in Charge of 704th Quartermasters. Little noticed, theirs is perhaps the most critical support role for the 27th Brigade in the summer heat of Louisiana.
The water purification team is broken down into two groups, the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU) and a bag farm, said Sgt. Brian Morril, 704th Quartermaster, Natick, Massachusetts. The unit also doubles as thier own security force, manning fighting positions and watching the perimeter.
"ROWPU purifies water from the lake," said O'Brien, "but we make sure everything is in place. We have to check filters, fabrication membranes and all the different systems." Basically, what we do is make the system work, O'Brien finished.
The "bag farm" is a 40,000 gallon water storage system that takes water from the ROWPU and stores it here until later on when units come and we distribute it, said Morril. "Raw water is taken from the lake and is made potable and chlorinated then shipped to us by means of a two-inch hose," said Morril. "We store the water here until units bring in their tanks or water buffaloes and we distribute it to them."
Soldiers provide their own assets and security for collecting water for their troops, said O'Brien. Water resupply is a combat mission for the 27th Brigade Task Force, just like any other type of supply moving forward to the combat zone. Most units are escorted by military police, O'Brien said. "It's been tight at times, they've had to vary their schedules so the enemy doesn't discover their routine," said Morril.
"This is a 24 hour operation," said Morril. "We produce during the day, but they can come by any hour to fill up." Water is a prime target for OPFOR. When the water purification site is overrun the whole operation stops.
The unit had two major assaults from OPFOR, Morril said. "The OPFOR infiltrated the compound, but we successfully defended the ROWPU," said O'Brien.
"We won one and lost the other but were able to continue operations," said Morril.
There is a more hostile OPFOR here than at Ft. Drum, said Sgt. Francis H. Vieou, Unit Administrator at the 27th Brigade Headquarters Company, Syracuse, NY, making it more difficult to get supplies. The OPFOR continuously attack friendly logistic resupply operations.
Every sip of water soldiers take is a testament of the hard work of O'Brien and his crew. "We distribute about 7,000 gallons of water a day," said O'Brien. "Our main goal is not to be cut short because water is essential."
Guard Times Staff FORT POLK, LA Heat, wet heat... it hangs like a heavy, oppressive cloud. In the early evening it lingers, making everything and everyone sticky.
Welcome to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). Welcome to Cortina.
The soldiers of the 27th Brigade Task Force (TF Hunter) literally sweat it out as they go about their duties. For some, knowing the exact temperature and heat index doesn't matter-they measure it in different ways. When asked, "how hot is it?", soldiers answered, "It's so hot that..."
"...I wish I had a dozen eggs to fry on top of my hummvee."- Staff Sgt. Todd L. Tally, Red Creek, NY, E Troop 101st Cavalry, New York Army National Guard.
"...I need windshield wipers on my eyebrows." - Sgt. First Class Robert Watson Syacauga, Alabama, E Troop, 31st Cavalry, Alabama National Guard.
"...Your shoes melt to the pavement."- Capt. Thomas Hayduk Bremerton, NY, 427th Forward Support Battalion, New York Army National Guard "...That I'm missing the sand and beaches back home, in Puerto Rico."- Spec. Nelson Melendez, Bayamon, Puerto Rico, 192nd Support Battalion, Puerto Rico National Guard.
"...I'll never complain about Buffalo weather again."- Spec. Gregory Diaz Buffalo, NY, 827th Engineers, New York Army National Guard.
"...I wish it would snow." - Staff Sgt. Douglas Walls Southington, CT, 141 Ground Ambulance, Connecticut Army National Guard.
By Spec. Kathleen Edgcomb
138th MPAD FORT POLK, LA Engineers shape the battlefield, said Sgt. 1st Class David E. Zimmer, 3rd Platoon platoon sergeant, 827th Engineers.
"We channel the enemy into kill zones, deny them access to areas we want to protect and breach obstacles that they [the enemy] put up," Zimmer added.
There are two types of engineers. Light and Heavy.
"Light engineers are typically what you call Sappers, we move primarily on foot and carry everything on our backs," said Zimmer. "Light engineers are often associated with light infantry as opposed to mechanized [infantry]."
During this JRTC rotation, heavy engineers supported the 27th Brigade's mission by digging in vehicle positions, said Cpl. Nathan Benzeo, 827th Engineers.
"We were supporting several different maneuvers," said Benzeo.
The heavy engineers dug fighting positions for the 1st Battalion, 156th Field Artillery as well as vehicle survivability positions for all of the 1st Battalion of the 108th Infantry companies, said Benzeo.
"Survivability of the vehicles and personnel is critical," said Benzeo. "If the positions aren't dug correctly people will die, that's the way it is. It's absolutely critical."
Usually there are three light engineer platoons and one heavy support platoon in a sapper company, said Zimmer.
The light engineers had a different mission.
"Our mission during the rotation was to clear routes through," said Sgt. 1st Class Chris Quiter, First Platoon Sergeant, 827th Engineers. "Our platoon was split between 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry and E Troop, 101st Cavalry. Each group had a different route to clear."
In this situation roads need to be clear to get supply vehicles through, said 1st Sgt. James McCool, First Sergeant, 827th Engineers.
"We were always on the offense to keep the routes open," said McCool. "A defense squad can get called back if a minefield is found."
"We work primarily defense, digging fighting positions and putting in obstacles to slow down the enemy," said McCool.
To do these tasks engineers need various weapons. "There are a number of weapons in our arsenal, though we primarily use minefields and concertina wire to create complex obstacles," said Zimmer. "We design our obstacles in an effort to deplete the enemy's ability to breach our line, based on complexity."
Obstacles are designed using a complex system of wires, mines and road craters - big holes in the road that prevent vehicular traffic, said Zimmer.
"Typically, when we breach enemy obstacles, we breach an initial lane through the entire depth of the obstacle in an effort to get one lane foot traffic through," said Zimmer.
"Once we push the infantry through the hole we will improve the lane to make it wider for one-way vehicular traffic."
Depending on the mission, the lane might be expanded for two-way vehicular traffic, Zimmer added.
Engineers use a technique called SOSR (Secure, Obscure, Suppress, Reduce) to overcome enemy obstacles.
"An obstacle on the ground is useless if no one is watching it," said Zimmer. "If I come up on a wire or mine field and the enemy is not watching, it's really easy for me to bust it apart."
Training for this mission has been difficult. "It's been impossible to train up at home station for this mission," Zimmer said. "We were constantly missing key leaders to conduct important training," said Zimmer. "This has made it very difficult for consistent training."
Despite the challenges Zimmer has confidence in his soldiers.
"I think my guys are going to do outstanding!" Zimmer said. "They are starting to get really ancy now that they are acclimated. I think they will do well."
By Major Richard Goldenberg
HQ, 42d ID (M) FORT DIX, NJ With the resounding echoes of tank fire on the ranges of Fort Dix, the maneuver brigades of the 42nd Infantry Division reached one of the highest goals in the Army: Rainbow tank crews qualified in platoon level livefires, a task normally reserved only for the active duty force.
Begun in 1996 by the 86th Brigade tankers from Vermont, Rainbow gunnery standards have risen over the past five years as Major General George Garrett, the 42d Division Commander, set the unprecedented training standard division-wide.
"This was a matter of laying out the training plans and resources for our Rainbow soldiers and letting them outperform all expectations," said Colonel Mark Heffner, Rainbow Chief of Staff.
Known as Tank Table Twelve, the platoon live-fire qualification requires multiple M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to maneuver on a live-fire range under the control of a platoon leader. The platoon engages numerous targets with their main tank gun and machine guns in a coordinated effort to reach a platoon objective.
The active Army requires its crews to perform this training but exempts the reserve and National Guard due to the complexities and coordination to train individual crews and then platoon and company leaders in the live-fire range.
"In the Rainbow Division, we want to set a higher standard for our soldiers," said General Garrett. "We've implemented this training plan in our brigades to not only improve training, but to improve our allaround readiness. This type of planning and preparation involves the entire brigade leadership and is certainly a big motivation for our soldiers."
"This is simply the best tank training we can offer our crews," said Capt. John Burke, a former company commander in the Rainbow Division's Third Brigade which qualified its first platoons last fall..
"This is the ultimate challenge we can offer our tankers, and they excelled."
Rainbow tank crews from Vermont and New York completed their training and livefire qualifications in the past two years. This spring was the first live-fire from tank crews of New Jersey's 50th Brigade.
Story and Photo By Sgt. Matthew Johnson
HQ, 42nd ID (M) HUDSON Citizens from New York State who appreciate the sounds of jazz, rock, latin and the uplifting beat of a marching tune were treated to a summer concert tour by the 42d Infantry 'Rainbow' Division Band.
The band is comprised of roughly 30 citizen-soldiers from the tri state area. They come from all walks of life, including schoolteachers, police officers, college students and professional musicians. The band rehearses one weekend a month at the Freeport armory on Long Island and their twoweek annual training is spent practicing and performing free concerts across the state.
To prepare for the tour, band members began their annual training at Ft. Dix, NJ and endured seven days of 90 degree weather. Awake at 5:00 a.m. each morning for physical fitness training and breakfast, they practiced until 11:00 a.m. "Because of the heat we had to adjust our training schedule with a break between 11:00 and 3:00 p.m. but we made up for it by practicing until 10:00 p.m. each night" said Chief Warrant Officer Mark L.Kimes, the band conductor.
The following week band members traveled throughout the Capital District performing concerts for public crowds ranging from 60 to 600. While at the 7th Street Park in Hudson the band treated spectators to an afternoon of inspired marching, classical, and show tunes that had the crowd going back in time. For the younger generation, the band performed a jazz medley and included some classic rock and roll.
Mrs. Joann Lugert, a life long resident of Hudson stated, "we really enjoyed the concert. We miss seeing the military," adding, "the only time we see the Guard is during our annual parade or during a snowstorm." Their concert tour included a performance at the Shepard Park bandstand, Lake George in that ended with a standing ovation and fireworks display.
Their annual training concluded a week later as they marched in the New York State Firefighters parade in Merrick .
The concerts closed with a medley salute to all military branch services that brought most veterans to their feet. Standing at attention as their perspective service song played, you could see their pride and honor of serving their country as many stood saluting with tears in their eyes.
The 42d Infantry band is continually on the move with a mixture of new recruits and experienced soldiers, some with more than 20 years of service. Staff Sergeant Peter McDonald has 16 years in the Guard and was formerly with the 552d Air Guard band. "Over the last two years the band has come a long way. The Education Assistance program has helped us attract young players in the band and the future looks good as far as retaining our current members" said McDonald.
Private First Class Cesca Fajardo from Binghamton NY plays the French horn and learned about the band when the music department at the Broome County Community College where she is a student, received an email from the 42d band saying that musicians were needed. After auditioning for the commander in July 2000 she was accepted and joined the Army National Guard, "I joined so I can further my education and because I love to play music."
The band is led with military precision and ease by Chief Warrant Officer Kimes. Kimes has been in the Army Bands programs for over 16 years and took command of the Division band in 1998. He is the choral conductor for the Kings Park High School in Kings Park, NY where his chorus has received top honors at various competitions. "This has been one of the best years so far because our members are open to new things and willing to work hard for the sounds that we want" said Kimes, adding "It makes my job easy, and you can hear it through our music."
The band has a long a history with lineage and honors dating back to federal recognition in 1919. Throughout the years the band has reorganized, disbanded and reconstituted. The unit finally consolidated in 1946 into the Rainbow Division.
The 42d band has performed extensively throughout the tri state area, and has toured overseas in support of WWII veterans. Each year the 42d band is the lead band in the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade supporting the Fighting 69th.
By Staff Sgt. Corine Lombardo
HQ, 42d ID (M) FORT DRUM For a Tank Battalion it is increasingly difficult to conduct real world maneu ver training or improve combat proficiency outside of its Annual Training period. But the tankers of the 1st Battalion, 127th Armor Regiment are taking creative thinking to a new level.
Relatively few M1 Abrams tanks are stationed at local unit armories for mechanics to train with while other tank crewmembers are forced to rely on training manuals, videos of previous training or one of the simulation training aids located in western NY. "Unless we're on a range we have limited opportunities to practice maneuvers and fire with the M1" according to Master Sergeant William Hutley, the operations Sergeant Major for the 127th Armor.
Because of this shortfall the 127th Armor developed a unique method of training when units can't travel to western NY or when drill dates conflict with armory use. It's called the CART-EX and has become a popular training tool. The training involves borrowing flat construction carts from local building supply stores and placing folding chairs on them for crew positions. "While the driver pushes the cart on the drill-shed floor, crew-members practice formation movements while using different radio frequencies to communicate. More importantly, it keeps the troops from getting bored and leaving the unit," according to Command Sgt. Major Hutley, adding "we do what we can to keep training interesting."
Although their training may be unusual, the end result is clear as unit performance continues to exceed the National Guard standards. During this year's annual training, Alpha Company from Dunkirk and Cortlandt's Delta Company traveled to Ft. Drum to master Tank Table XII. Although not a mission essential task for the unit, it has been a goal for many years.
Table XII crew evaluation begins long before arrival at Fort Drum's Range 23 and covers all areas of performance. From assembly area tasks and troop leading procedures to reviewing passage of line procedures. Tank crews review every aspect of platoon operations before tactical operations begin.
Once the Operation Order is reviewed, movement to the range commences with a tactical road march and ends with a platoon of tanks navigating down range, conducting defensive and offensive battle positions and establishing its area of engagement.
Defensive positions require moving the roughly 70-ton tank forward and firing at targets which simulate enemy tanks or personnel carriers and a combination of silhouette targets; three different sizes each getting smaller and more difficult as it progresses down range. To ensure maximum training and prepare for combat, crewmembers encounter simulated systems failures of major tank components throughout the evaluation as well as working in a simulated NBC environment with full protective gear. At the conclusion of the fire mission, evaluators from Ft. Drum's Training Support Battalion and the Guard's 101st Cavalry review crew performance and discuss areas to sustain and improve.
An Abrams M-1 tank company includes a total of 14 tanks. Each platoon is outfitted with 4 tanks and crews and both the company commander and executive officer command their own tank. Individual tanks have four-man crews consisting of the tank commander, usually a Staff Sergeant, a gunner, a loader and a driver. Traditionally, a tanker will start out as a driver or loader and with more rank and experience will move up to gunner and eventually tank commander.
"It can be very stressful and difficult, considering the limited space and the hardships associated with working in close quarters. It is essential that crewmembers learn to work together as a team," said 1st Lieutenant Daniel Fletcher, platoon leader, adding, "we have to train to fight as a crew first then as a platoon". For Sergeant John Phillips and Staff Sgt. Jose Morales, both with Company A in Dunkirk, it has been an easy transition. They have been on the same tank crew team for two years, but their friendship goes back to the 8th grade. "We have known each other for a long time and we work well together" said Phillips. Their crew also includes Spec. Osvalvo Vasquez and Private First Class Erin Inwood.
Unit members are used to exceeding the standards and that is evident in their history of awards and recognition. The unit is the proud recipient of the Draper award, which is a competition within 13 armor regiments competing for highest qualification during both day and night fire. They also hold the Battalion Top Gun(nery) position, top in physical fitness, top recruiting and top pistol.
Although tankers may experience a great deal of frustration with equipment failures, for M-1 Abrams Tank mechanics it's easy to find mission training during Annual Training. Whether it's repairing fire command systems failures or your basic mechanical shut downs, with 20-year old tanks you're sure to have plenty to do.
"This is one of the harder jobs during the AT tour. These old tanks average about 15 breakdowns a day. It can be frustrating for the tankers as well as our mechanics, but everyone stays motivated and works until the job is done," said Capt. Frank Terranova, the Battalion Maintenance Officer.
By Tech. Sgt. Trish Pullar
105th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Manager NEWBURGH The poet Stanley Kunitz wrote, "Deftly they opened the brain of a child, and it was full of flying dreams." After all, what child has not dreamed of flight? In the case of a young Tom Maguire, those flying dreams began right here at Stewart.
As an eight-year-old Cub Scout, Maguire saw his first, powerful-looking F-100 "SuperSabre" fighter-bomber, nicknamed the "Hun," while visiting Stewart Air Force Base here in New Windsor in the 1950s. As a college student on a tour at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, with his Air Force ROTC unit, another jet fanned the flames of his imagination-an F-105 "Thunderchief" or "Thud." Not only did the gleaming machines leave an impression, so did the Air Force men who flew them.
"As a Cub Scout, I was struck by the sincerity the pilot had in taking the time to speak to this group of kids about what he did. When I left Stewart that day, I'd have to say that becoming a pilot had jumped to the top of the 'what I want to do when I grow up' list," he said. Young Maguire not knowing, of course, that his flying dream would someday return him to its point of origin -Stewart-as commander of the 105th Airlift Wing and with the rank of brigadier general.
His focus would broaden through his career though, to more than flying as he assumed command responsibilities. And now, as he leaves the 105th Air Wing and becomes New York State's latest Adjutant General (TAG), his focus broadens once again as he becomes responsible for the command, control and leadership of all the militia forces assigned to New York. Maguire was officially named to the position this August. He replaces Maj. Gen. John H. Fenimore V, who retired June 26. Fenimore, a former member of the 105th from 1981 to 1984, held the TAG position since July 1995.
Maguire, while knowing he wanted to fly, wasn't always so sure that he would be pilot material. "I was a little older, a Boy Scout, on a local campout trip and a former Scout who had graduated from high school and joined the Air Force was home visiting after basic training. Someone in our group asked what it would take to become a pilot. This young man said, 'good teeth.' And there I was thinking, 'I thought it was math,'" said Maguire, laughing. "Our visiting friend told us that if you have cavities, that you can't fly. Well, I took that literally to mean that if I have cavities, life is over. By then I had one or two, so I thought I was no longer a perfect specimen and couldn't fly. I was heartbroken... and I hated our dentist.
"What the young man had misunderstood though was that if you have an open, untreated cavity, you couldn't fly that day. It would have to be filled." But it wasn't until years later when Maguire was a freshman at the College of Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, that a recruiter would fill in that bit of missing information.
For Maguire, who would be graduating in 1969, the revelation couldn't have come at a more opportune time. The Vietnam War was in full swing, as was the draft. The history major wanted a modicum of control over his fate upon entering the war and so decided to join the Air Force ROTC program at Holy Cross with his eyes set on the skies.
After graduation, Maguire studied, flew and was evaluated on his abilities through 53 weeks of flight school at Laredo Air Force Base in Texas. "There was only one fighter position for each class which was usually selected by the top pilot. And as you can now deduce, I was not the top pilot," he said laughing. "But I did do well."
On earning his wings, then-2nd Lt. Maguire chose the forward air control (FAC) mission and the Cessna O-2A "Skymaster," that he would ultimately fly into combat in Vietnam. The Skymaster was very maneuverable and distinguished by twin tail booms and tandem-mounted engines. In late 1966, the U.S. Air Force designated the O- 2 to supplement the O-1 "Bird Dog" FAC aircraft, then operating in Southeast Asia. The O-2A was equipped with wing pylons to carry rockets, flares, and other light ordnance. In the FAC role the O-2A was used for identifying and marking enemy targets with smoke rockets, coordinating air strikes and reporting target damage.
"I chose the forward air control mission because if you weren't the top guy in your class, you were either likely to be assigned as a co-pilot on a big transport aircraft or to stay at Laredo as an instructor. Neither one of those really struck me as very exciting. I thought the forward air control mission was very involved and important."
Maguire left for Vietnam in the early part of 1971. The FAC mission required pilots to fly low and slow over their assigned quadrants. From the cockpit of his O-2, Maguire carefully plucked targets out of the Vietnamese and Cambodian terrain.
He spent three months first at Bien Hoa Air Base, an upgraded old French post, located about 20 miles northeast of Saigon, before transferring to Tan Son Nuhut Air Base for four months. Tan Son Nhut was a huge military installation located just outside of Saigon. It was also the airport for the city of Saigon and could accommodate the largest of airplanes. It was here that he caught his first glimpse of a C- 5 "Galaxy."
"I had just finished a mission and had parked my 'mighty' O-2 when I looked down the taxiway and here comes this thing, this building... and it's moving. I had never seen a C-5-I had read about them, but had never had seen one. I said, 'Man, look at that.' I stood there and watched it park. I watched as the visor opened like a giant mouth and saw the plane kneel. And then, in perhaps what was a precursor to my future... I saw it stay that way for about a week... broke," he said, with a laugh, referring to the aircraft's well-known, high maintenance reputation.
He spent the remainder of his tour at Phan Rang Air Base, located about three miles inland from the South China Sea and 35 miles south of Cam Rahn Bay.
In January 1972, Maguire returned to U.S. soil and was assigned as a T-37 instructor pilot back at Laredo, teaching undergraduate pilot training students the fundamentals of aircraft handling, and instrument, formation and night flying. A year later, however, he was faced with a major decision.
"In 1973, with the war in Vietnam winding down, the Air Force had a much reduced need for pilots. Many pilots, including myself, were told they would have to accept a desk job for at least one tour. In addition to that, Laredo was identified for closure. So rather than accept a non-flying billet, I thought it was time to get out," Maguire said. By 1976, Maguire realized, in the words of Leonardo da Vinci, that "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return"-and he longed to return.
He had joined the Guard in 1974 after returning home, signing on with the then-137th Tactical Air Support Squadron in White Plains, New York, as an O-2 pilot and tactical air control air liaison officer. When two fulltime flight instructor positions opened, he applied and was hired. "The family business was not one that I took to naturally. I enjoyed it, but I missed flying," he said.
Though Maguire entered the unit as the most experienced O-2 pilot, he was still the "new guy" and therefore had to prove himself to the rest of team. His "trial by fire" opportunity came during the unit's evaluation by the Inspector General from Headquarters, Tactical Air Command (TAC), now known as Air Combat Command. "I was a captain and we were about to have our first Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) in our new tactical air support mission. Getting ready for it was extraordinarily tense. Our score would be our diploma showing we could perform our mission.
"Not only did we pass, but we did so well that we established a great relationship with HQ's TAC and kind of became process experts in the O-2A mission. We were typical of a Guard unit, then and now, which is to say we had more experience. The pilots were older than those on active duty. The strength of the Guard has always been our maturity and experience," he said.
Needless to say, his work in helping prepare for the ORI, as well as his enthusiastic assumption of subsequent duties such as tactical operations staff officer, flight commander and brigade air liaison officer earned him credibility. Maguire said he considered the successful ORI to be one of many defining moments in his career.
Another would be the major step of converting the unit's mission to strategic airlift and the C-5, as well as relocating to another base in the early 1980s. "I don't know of another Guard unit that ever had to do such a thing. There are units that have had to convert, but not relocate, and vice versa. No one had ever done both. And I believe no one else has done it since," he said.
Everything changed for the unit. As work began on the modern facilities at Stewart Air National Guard Base, unit members scrambled to prepare for the new mission. Converting to the C-5 meant that not only would the size of the unit increase substantially, but so would the unit's budget. And pilots had to be retrained. "I had seen the C-5 years ago in Vietnam, so seeing it again wasn't as much of a shock," said Maguire. "But I think many of us were somewhat apprehensive at going from the relatively easyto- manage O-2 that had the complexity of a lawnmower, to this huge monster of an airplane.
"Our Air Force transition advisor, Lt. Col. Gene Selby, from day one said to all of us, 'All you have to do is follow the hood ornament.' It's like driving a car-no matter what the size is, whether it's a little MG, an Oldsmobile or a truck, you're still sitting in the cab and following the hood ornament. What he was telling us was that, basically, all airplanes work the same. He really helped put me at ease," Maguire said.
Though piloting the C-5 is a far different experience than piloting the much smaller O-2, Maguire said he appreciates the teamwork aspect of it. "On a C-5, the crew must work together to monitor the C-5's systems and to ensure a successful mission," he said. He believes the teamwork atmosphere that is fostered by the C-5 mission and the challenges that must be overcome are part of the reason why the 105th has been and continues to be a successful unit. "The C-5 is a piece of sheet metal that offers us 'opportunities' because of its unique maintenance, budget and operational requirements and issues. All these differences and unique things have taught us, as a unit, to be successful... they've taught us how to be a team."
Ironically, in accepting New York State's top position, he must leave behind a part of his career that he has loved- flying-which, he said, saddens him. "I enjoy flying very much and it's been satisfying to have worked with so many qualified and competent individuals."
Maguire said he will also miss what he calls his "extended family" here at Stewart. "I think the team process that we've put together here and nurtured over the years, although not perfect, is really what has been the cornerstone of our successes. As the TAG, I hope to bring that team culture with me to the Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
"I'm proud of the accomplishments this unit has achieved through the years. Our outstanding score on the 1996 ORI, for example. The unit's performance put us on the map as a world-class organization and our reputation has stayed with us ever since.
"My time here has been better than a dream come true. I've had the opportunity to be the commander of the greatest unit in the Air National Guard, I've worked with the greatest people, and I'm part of a loving family-both immediate and extended, and I've done it in the part of the world that I grew up in. It doesn't get any better than that."
Guard Times Staff WESTHAMPTON BEACH An HC-130 Hercules and an HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter from the 106th Rescue Wing teamed up to rescue a private pilot from the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, July 24th. The summer mission marks rescue number 289 for the Wing.
On the evening of July 24th, members of the 106th Rescue Wing were performing routine aerial training from their flight facility. At about 9 p.m. the pilot of a Piper Saratoga notified New York Approach Control that he was running low on fuel and was about to ditch in the ocean approximately 50 miles south of Long Island. New York Air Traffic Control radioed an HC-130 from the 106th and informed the crew of the pilot's location.
"This rescue is just a great example of our crews being in the right place and the right time," said Lt. Col. James MacDougall, Community Liaison Officer.
Capt. Frank Ancona, HC-130 aircraft commander, immediately diverted the aircraft to the coordinates. The downed pilot, a Mr. Bill Tubner from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, carried all the necessary survival gear, including a strobe light and flashlight to help locate his position in the Atlantic. Within minutes of arrival, crewmembers were able to locate the pilot.
Once on the scene, the HC-130 dropped illumination flares to light up the location and relayed information back to the unit's home station at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. On board the HC- 130 were First Lt. Kevin Kelly, copilot; Major Christopher Adam, navigator; flight engineers Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Cannet and Tech. Sgt. Craig Connor; Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Elefterion, loadmaster; Tech Sgt. Charles Ramirez, radio operator; and Capt. John White, spotter.
An HH-60 piloted by pilots Lt. Col. Joseph Fanzone and Capt. Lawrence Sullivan, also from the 106th, proceeded to the scene with pararescue specialists Staff Sergeants Jules Roy and Brian Moshier and arrived within twenty minutes. By the time of their arrival, Tubner's aircraft had completely sunk.
Master Sgt. John Krulder, Pavehawk flight engineer, hoisted the pilot to safety and the crew transported him to the Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey, for further medical attention. Tubner was 105th Air Wing Commander Assumes Top Military Position in New York treated and released the next morning. The entire rescue operation lasted approximately 90 minutes.
"This really was a textbook rescue," MacDougall said. "He was a very lucky man."
Guard Times Staff GUILDERLAND Governor George E. Pataki announced that this August, the New York National Guard would give a much-needed facelift to the Albany gravesite of Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States.
"Years of neglect and exposure to the elements have degraded President Arthur's gravesite to a condition not suitable for an American President," Governor Pataki said. "With the help of our National Guard engineers, the gravesite will be returned to a state that preserves the dignity and honor that our 21st President earned and deserves.
"This is just one more way the National Guard is serving the people of New York like never before not just in war or state of emergency, but throughout the year," the Governor said. "Helping to preserve the memory of a former President and a great New Yorker like Chester A. Arthur is yet another example of how our Guard force's mission continues to evolve and expand."
As part of GuardHELP, the New York National Guard's non-emergency community support program launched by the Governor in 1998, Guard soldiers will begin the careful task Monday of removing, shoring up and replacing the collapsed granite steps at the gravesite's entrance. President Arthur, along with his mother and father, are buried at the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands.
Arthur, who was schooled in what is now Greenwich, was a graduate of Union College in Schenectady. Having joined New York's militia forces in 1858, he served as Quartermaster General of the New York Volunteers during the Civil War. It was in this capacity, overseeing the provisioning and housing of hundreds of thousands of New York troops, that he first demonstrated a remarkable proficiency as an administrator. He was a strong supporter of government reform and supported the Civil Service Reform Act of 1883, which established the New York State Civil Service Commission.
The federal government provides for the maintenance and upkeep of only those Presidential gravesites located in US National Parks or Cemeteries. Since the New York National Guard won federal approval for the project as a valid Army training mission, the manpower and fuel costs are paid for out of existing federal training monies with no additional costs to taxpayers.Using a huge "Hemmitt" wrecker, Guard soldiers will
lift out the heavy steps and lateral buttresses. The Guardsmen, from the Binghamton based 204th Engineer Battalion, will then excavate, install and compact a new base. They will then replace the steps and buttresses. The work was expected to be completed within two days.
By Staff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta
138th MPAD YOUNGSTOWN Veteran actor John Amos talked tough about career, success and survival to western re gion Corp of Cadet members recently, affirming that making it takes more than talent and luck. "I'm an ex-garbageman, I'm an ex-streetsweeper from the city of East Orange New Jersey," said Amos, whose credits include the landmark miniseries "Roots", and films such as "Die-Hard 2."
"I've worked on the Ford Motors assembly line, I've worked on the General Motors assembly line. I've had jobs that, by the end of the first week, I had no fingerprints left, because I left them on the assembly line."
Amos spoke to the cadets at Old Fort Niagara in late June, where the cadets gathered for three-day annual training filled with activiities like marching, team-building exercises, rapelling, raft races, boat rides on a U.S. Coast Guard boat, and historic demonstrations. Against the backdrop of ancient cannons, castles, and gray fortress walls, Amos shared his work history, a resume of real-life roles including writer, social worker, and National Guard soldier.
"There are a great, great, many former military people who began their filmmaking careers in the service," said Amos, "as photographers, as military journalists; and then, after coming back into civilian life, took those very skills and transformed them, and carried those skills into the private sector in either the entertainment industry, or some form of advertising."
As a soldier, Amos said he learned a sense of responsibility which he took with him to Hollywood.
"Very often, since I've been in the entertainment industry, I've looked back on those days and those months in the guard, and even in the Boy Scouts, and said 'this is what my sergeant was talking about' or 'this is what my commanding officer was talking about.'" Amos summed up the value of the military and the Corps of Cadets as "discipline, discipline, discipline."
"Again, I am stressing to you every moment you spend here in the program is an investment in your future. I am sharing with you a little bit of advice, because at one point in my life I had mentors who shared advice with me."
Amos said his fame paled next to the cadets' local heros. "So some of your folks, your parents, and your guardians, and your mentors may not be movie stars, but they perform the Herculean task every day of making sure you've got enough food to eat, and putting clean clothes on your back. So as far as I'm concerned, they're the real heros."
After receiving a gift of a black beret, applause and a chorus of rousing hoo-ahs' from the cadets, Amos, with Lt. Col.David Slocum, director of the New York Counter-Drug Program, judged sketches acted out by cadets.
Talent was also on display in the drill and ceremony competition, a regular feature of annual training. With halftime show precision, the cadets strutted their own discipline, teamwork, originality, and sometimes street-wise style. Cadet Capt. Casey Craumer, 127th Regiment, Jamestown, said the competition was hard work, but worth it. "It helps people work together better," Craumer said. "It lets them know they can do things together and not necessarily be individuals." Cadet 2nd Lt. Travis Weiler, 127th Regiment, called annual training a learning experience, and said he enjoyed the boat ride and Old Fort Niagara. He said the Corps of Cadets gives him discipline. "I'm actually staying our of trouble," said Weiler. Western region Corps of Cadets staff chose Old Fort Niagara for annual training to show cadets local history and give them a taste of colonial life. History class began when the cadets arrived at the 300 year-old fort. Fort tour guides, dressed in Revolutionary War clothing, demonstrated cannon and musket firing, and put the cadets through Revolutionary War close order drill. The cadets also prepared their own dinner colonial soldiers' fare of stewed meat and vegetables cooked in black iron cauldrons over blazing wood fires. Cadet Sgt. Tieffany Wilson, 209th Regiment, Rochester, said that even though school was over, it was important for cadets to learn the historic value of Old Fort Niagara and that the varied experiences made this year's annual training better.
"I hope we get more regiments involved in this," Wilson said. Wilson said the truth ladder and trust circle, run by Western New York United Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse, were a basis for this year's annual training.
"Without trust you have nothing. The only important thing in life is being on a team you can trust in," said Wilson. Cadet leadership was emphasized this year as cadets were given rank and responsibility over other cadets. For Wilson, promoted to sergeant just before annual training, leadership was a personal challenge. "It felt like an honor," Wilson said. "I felt good about myself. I wanted to prove I could hold the position without losing it." Cadet Lt. Col. Amanda Cruz, 174th Regiment, Buffalo, also called the Corp of Cadets a learning experience.
"It's definitely hard work, and you have to earn everything you get." A cadet for the last seven years and this year's annual training cadet commander, Cruz recently graduated from high school and will be leaving the program and the 174th Regiment. She said described the regiment as a family, and said she is both happy and sad about leaving. "You need to build from where you finished, said Cruz. Amos spoke about the Young Mariners of America Program, which was founded under the auspices of Amos' Halley's Comet Foundation. Amos said the program provides at-risk youth the advantages and experience of learning how to sail and work on a crew where crew members' lives are interdependent on each other. In July, Halley's Comet Foundation will be starting a resident program at Camp Smith, which will act as a pilot program.
"We'll be giving the kids tutorials in various aspects of sailing, navigation, celestial navigation, weather, that sort of thing," Amos said. He added that Corps of Cadets members will be acting as mentors in the pilot program.
"Kids have a tendency to listen to their own peer group much more than gray-bearded dinosaurs like myself," joked Amos. "I know it is an overused cliche, " Amos said, "but [youth] are the most valuable resource we have. If we don't save the next generation of kids and I say that not just as a parent but as a grandparentthen we're all going to be in big, big trouble."
Amos said he has learned of Corps of Cadets members, once "written off by society," who have gotten a boost of self-esteem and empowerment, and "are thinking about things as exotic as becoming doctors in space medicine." "They'rebeginningtorealizetheirpotentialisunlimited,"hesaid. Amos said he sees the Corp of Cadets being recognized by congressional funders and the private sector as "a viable program that has proven that it can not just save youth, but turns their lives around."
"I would envision the program expanding, succeeding and just getting better as time goes by," said Amos. Part of that expansion will be the formation of a cadet regiment in Niagara Falls, which is to be announced. The Corps of Cadets has been part of the Western New York community since the program's inception in 1991. Western region cadets routinely take part in activities such as memorial day, veterans' day, and community beautification events.
SYRACUSE Governor George E. Pataki announced this August a new State Fair exhibit highlighting the contributions and accomplishments of African American WWI hero Sgt. Henry Johnson and his New York National Guard unit, the 369th Regiment. The state fair exhibit was developed as part of the Governor's continuing efforts to secure overdue military honors for Sgt. Johnson.
"There is no doubt that the actions and valor of Henry Johnson, the man to whom President Theodore Roosevelt referred as 'one of the five bravest Americans,' are clearly deserving of our nation's highest military honor," Governor Pataki said. "His contributions and those of the Harlem Hellfighters of the 369th are something all New Yorkers should be aware of and feel proud about. By bringing their legacy to the forefront, this exhibit will be a tremendous addition to this year's Fair.
Entitled "Heroes are Remembered, Legends Live Forever New York's Own the Harlem Hell Fighters," the exhibit featured a replica WWI style trench, re-enactors in authentic period uniform, music, film and interpretive displays of art, photos, equipment, weapons and documents -all aimed at highlighting Johnson's heroic deeds and the contributions of this storied African American regiment from WWI through Desert Storm.
Due to strict segregation of the US Military at the time, Johnson's 369th Regiment (formerly the 15th New York Infantry), served under French command in the First World War. On May 14, 1918, Johnson single-handedly fought off a superior German raiding party with a rifle and a knife in hand-to-hand combat, rescuing his wounded comrade from capture and actively engaging the enemy until he was overcome by more than 20 wounds. While Johnson's exceptional valor led to his becoming the first American to be awarded France's highest award of gallantry, the Croix de Guerre, his bravery has never been recognized with an American military award appropriate to his actions.
The New York State Military Heritage Institute, the Syracuse Black Leadership Congress, the 369th Veterans Association, the New York State Fair the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs have teamed up to bring a long overdue and sometimes lost piece of New York State history to life. The story of the 369th spans from the critical role that this legendary African American unit played during WWI & WWII, up through their racial integration and significant role in Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War.
Rev. Larry S. Howard, President of the Syracuse Black Leadership Congress and Pastor of Hopps Memorial CME Church said "The legend of the 369th has meaning and depth for today's young people, black or white, because it gives them real heroes. Often our young people think of heroes as wearing short pants and running up and down a sports floor. The Harlem Hellfighters understood that they owed a debt, not just to those who they were defending, but to those were yet to come. They led by heroic example something we don't see very much of today."
Guard Times Staff LATHAM Governor George E. Pataki today announced this summer New York National Guard's elite 22-mem ber terrorism response unit has been certified for duty by the Department of Defense.
The 2nd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST) is among the first three such teams to be certified in the nation. The unit's mission is to augment local and regional terrorism response capabilities in events known or suspected to involve chemical, biological or radiological weapons. The unit's capabilities and hightech equipment will also have applications to a variety of state emergency response missions.
"New York's CST is the best trained, most capable and best-equipped unit of its kind anywhere," Governor Pataki said. "While we hope the expertise and capabilities of this elite National Guard unit will never be needed, the threat of terrorism is regrettably real and one we must be prepared for.
"We are extremely proud that our unit is among the first three to be certified by the Department of Defense, and has distinguished itself nationally by achieving a 'Commendable' rating and perfect scores in every qualification exercise it faced," the Governor said.
One of the original ten federally funded CST's created in 1998, the New York team has been at the forefront of the program's development. New York's 2nd CST, whose members were recruited from across the full spectrum of the US military, has undergone comprehensive training with some of the nation's foremost emergency responders. The federal CST program is comprised of 32 units in various stages of readiness nationwide.
The 2nd CST's detection and communications equipment includes some of the most sophisticated devices available. Its portable gas chromatography mass spectroscopy system, for example, can provide the local incident commander with on-site identification of all known militarized chemical agents and some 85,000 toxic industrial chemicals.
The mission of the unit, headquartered at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, covers several critical areas. Its personnel will be able to assist local responders by measuring and predicting the path and area of a chemical or biological "cloud" and developing consequence management tactics to minimize casualties. The unit's mobile Unified Command Suite provides secure worldwide voice, video and data access to military and federal networks and a skill-bank of technical experts at places like the Pentagon and Centers for Disease Control.
Brig. Gen. William C. Martin, New York's Deputy Adjutant General said, "Throughout their intensive training regimen and their many exercises with New York State's local emergency responders, these 22 National Guard soldiers and airmen have demonstrated a level of skill, motivation and readiness that is a credit not only to our state, but to the entire United States Military.
"That we were able to take this federal requirement and field a team that has emerged as a nationally-recognized leader is further testament to the great leadership of our Commander in Chief, Governor Pataki," Martin said.
The unit serves primarily under the command of Governor Pataki, the State Commander in Chief, but also has a federal responsibility to support localities throughout Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Region II, which along with New York, includes New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The unit is directed to train and align emergency plans with local response organizations such as fire departments, police, HazMat teams, and emergency management offices throughout the FEMA Region. The unit's mission is to support, but not supplant the local incident commander and to work within the standard emergency service "Incident Command System" used throughout the nation.
"The National Guard, especially here in New York, is ideally-suited for this extremely important mission," Governor Pataki said. "More than any other component of the military, the National Guard is accustomed to working in support of local communities. The relationships the Guard has established throughout New York, by virtue of state emergency response and our GuardHELP community support program, make this mission a perfect fit."
In December of 2000, after nearly two years of extensive training, the unit was the first in the nation to test all its equipment in exercises involving live chemical and biological agents at the Department of Defense's Dugway Proving Ground in the Utah desert. The unit achieved a 100-percent detection rate a perfect score.
Unit Commander Lt. Col. Robert Domenici said "The exercise proved beyond a shadow of doubt that this unit, in terms of its training, capabilities and equipment is ready and able to perform its mission as assigned. We are very proud to have earned the confidence and trust of the Department of Defense and Governor Pataki."
In addition, New York's 2nd CST has the very first field installation of the "Virtual Emergency Response Training System (VERTS), a computer-driven virtual reality training simulator in which troops and civilian responders can train in a simulated chemical, biological or radiological environment. The CST's 22 men and women are full-time National Guard members and are on-call 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.
By Major Richard Goldenberg
HQ, 42d ID (M) WITCHITA, KS Amidst one of the busiest training seasons the current Rainbow Division has seen in years, members of the Rainbow Division Veteran's Association (RDVA) Division Headquarters Chapter from Troy, New York traveled to the annual RDVA reunion for a special ceremony this July. On behalf of the Secretary of the Army, Brig. Gen. Joseph Taluto, Deputy Rainbow Command for Maneuver, presented the Presidential Unit Citation to members of the 222d Infantry Regiment for their heroic stand in the Ohlungen Forest in January, 1945.
"In the military," General Taluto said, "we want to ensure that values like honor and valor are forever remembered by young soldiers. I can think of no better way than in the actions of one Rainbow Regiment in one battle - the 222d Infantry and the defense of Alsace in 1945."
Representing the 14,000 men and women who wear the Rainbow Division shoulder patch as members of the Army National Guard, Brig. Gen. Taluto presented the Presidential Unit Citation to the members of the regiment.
In the winter of 1945, one of the coldest on record in Europe, the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes was supported by an attack into the Alsace region of southern France. Called "Operation North Wind", German forces came upon the infantry regiments of the 42d Division in defensive positions for less than three weeks. In a predominant infantry fight, individual rifle companies fought off waves of German armor and mechanized infantry attacks for more than three days.
The citation, which in part, reads that "Fighting back from ice-filled foxholes, the outnumbered defenders fought off wave after wave of enemy attacking all along the regiment's front and infiltrating into friendly positions, well behind the main line of resistance. Despite the loss of 237 officers and men, the 222d Infantry Regiment held its position, exacting a heavy toll of men and equipment on the enemy."
"These men of the Rainbow showed tremendous courage in fighting outnumbered and proved beyond any doubt that the American fighting man, with our without technology or numerical superiority, was a force to be reckoned with," General Taluto said.
The RDVA opened its membership to members of the Army National Guard's 42d Infantry Division to continue their legacy into the new century. The Division Headquarters Chapter in Troy has more than 50 soldiers and retirees from the Rainbow Division.
By Major Richard Goldenberg
HQ, 42d ID (M) TIMES SQUARE, NEW YORK CITY One of New York's most historic figures received national recogni tion this summer when the Father Francis P. Duffy Monument and Duffy Square was named to the National and New York State Register of Historic Places. The monument, located in Times Square, features a marker and bronze memorial statue of Father Duffy, the inspirational Rainbow Division chaplain during World War One.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural locations worthy of preservation for future generations. The Register looks for properties that are of such significance to the heritage and history of the nation, state and community that they merit special attention for protection and preservation. The recognition for Father Duffy's monument also includes a listing for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The drive behind the support rests with the Coalition for Father Duffy, a group comprised of Rainbow Division veterans and other historic-minded New Yorkers. The group was established to insure that the Duffy Monument remains an integral part of the history and life of New York.
During World War One, Father Duffy served bravely as the regimental chaplain to New York's 69th Infantry Regiment, redesignated as the 165th Infantry for federal service. Providing religious support and inspiration to Rainbow soldiers in the field, Duffy ministered to soldiers of all faiths. Recalling Father Duffy's presence in his book "A Doughboy in the Fighting 69th," Al Ettinger remarked that "on the open battlefield, he was everywhere. He would appear from a haze of smoke, undaunted by shell fire or machine gun bullets." Duffy rose to the position of Division Chaplain for the Rainbow before returning to the United States with the "Fighting 69th" in 1918.
"Father Duffy's life recalls the values of courage, compassion and care that motivated ordinary people to do extraordinary things for their country and their fellow man," said Maj. General Joseph A. Healey (Retired), a Coalition Co-Chairman. "By including his monument on the national and state registers, we honor not only this brave man, but all the soldiers of the 69th Regiment and the 42d Infantry Division."
Upon his return to civilian life, Father Duffy left an indelible mark on New York City. He served as parishioner for the Church of the Holy Cross near the center of New York City's theater district until his death in 1932. Five years later the city dedicated a memorial to him by erecting a bronze monument in his honor and renaming a part of Times Square as "Father Duffy Square."
"For myself, I cannot claim any special attribute except that of being fond of people - just people," Duffy wrote about himself. His presence on the streets of the city was so great among New Yorkers that Alexander Woolcott wrote that "Father Duffy was of such dimensions that he made New York into a small town."
By Gerry J. Gilmore
Army News Service WASHINGTON, DC National Guard members starting Oct. 9 can choose to contribute a percentage of their pay to the military's thrift savings and investment program as part of building a nest egg for retirement.
The TSP, administered by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, previously has been available only to federal civilian employees. The fiscal 2001 Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act extended TSP participation to active duty and reserve component members of the military and uniformed members of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
TSP is separate from and in addition to the military retirement system, which is based on years of service and rank.
The first enrollment window for persons who entered military service on or before Dec. 8, 2001, is from Oct. 9, 2001, to Jan. 31, 2002. Persons who enroll during this period will see TSP contributions deducted each month from their pay starting in January 2002. Persons who join the uniformed services after Dec. 8, 2001, will have 60 days after entering service to enroll in the TSP.
After the special first enrollment period, service members may use two "open seasons" each year to join, quit or change the amount of their contributions.
Military members enroll in TSP by completing a TSP election form and submitting it through their local service branch finance office. Enrollment forms are available for download on the TSP Web site, http://www.tsp.gov or can be obtained at local military finance offices. Participants can invest any whole percentage of up to 7 percent of their base pay in any or all of five TSP funds:
The conservative G Fund consists exclusively of investments in short-term, nonmarketable US Treasury securities specially issued to TSP. Since 1991, the fund has earned an annual average of 6.74 percent. o The F Fund is TSP's bond market index fund. Since 1991, the fund has earned an annual average of 7.87 percent - and 12.78 percent in the past 12 months ending July 31.
The C Fund is TSP's large-company US stock index fund. Since 1991, the fund has earned an annual average of 17.43 percent, but it reported a 14.3 percent loss in the past 12 months ending July 31. The S Fund is TSP's medium and small company stock index fund. The I Fund is its international stock index fund. Both funds opened in May, so neither has a long-term track record.
Only G Fund investments and earnings are backed by the U.S. government against loss. TSP participants risk losing some or all their investments and earnings in the F, C, S and I funds - but the funds' earning potential is unlimited.
Service members can contribute as little as 1 percent of their base pay per pay period, up to the 7 percent limit in 2002. The limit increases by 1 percent per year until 2005, after which contributions will be limited by Internal Revenue Code guidelines. Members may also elect to contribute any amount of incentive pay or special pay, to include bonus pay.
Strict rules apply to service members' withdrawal of funds from TSP accounts before they retire. Federal and state income taxes on investments and earnings are deferred so long as the money stays in the TSP account. Withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income, and early withdrawals are penalized under some circumstances.
Military members who already have a civilian TSP account, such as past and present federal civilian employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve, can open an entirely separate, second TSP account.
By Lt. Col. Robert M. Edelman
HQ, 53rd Troop Command VALHALLA As the military continues its downsizing, retention and promotion by Dept. of the Army (DA) boards becomes more difficult. It is important to look for ways to set you above the competition. One way is to earn a master's degree. If you enjoy military history and enjoy reading and completing research about famous military events/personalities throughout history, the American Military University (AMU) may be a school for you.
AMU is located in Arlington, Virginia. It is an accredited college which conducts all enrollment and class requirements through the internet.
The university offers an advanced degree (master of arts) in many military areas of interest. These include land, naval or air warfare, and the civil war, the mid-east crisis, defense management and many others.
The school will award up to 15 credits (out of thirty-six) for previous schooling and/or military assignments you have accomplished. Additionally, if you enroll through the military education (DANTES) program, 75% of the tuition cost may be paid up front (speak to your education office counselor).
While the courses offered are extremely interesting and are taught by professors who are experts in their field, they do require considerable work. In addition to the readings, there are usually book reviews, term papers and written essay finals to accomplish. Papers must be written to graduate school standards.
All the professors are readily available to answer your questions and assist you with the course material. They also realize that as members of the military, you sometimes will not be able to submit a paper on time. They are very flexible and will grant you as much additional time as the school allows. However, you must stay in contact with them on a regular basis.
You can contact the school thru the Internet at www.amunet.edu. You can also call (703) 330-5398 x104. If you have any questions feel free to also contact me at 914-784-8200.
Guard Times Staff UTICA On 1 September 2001 the New York Army National Guard welcomed a new unit into the Guard family. The 369 Water Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Curtis B. Williamson, officially activated at its Rome, New York, armory.
The 369 Water Battalion headquarters, consisting of an authorized strength of 39 soldiers, will have the mission of providing command and control for logistical units in its area of operation. The unit has available a variety of available positions, to include those in the areas of water treatment, logistics, communications, maintenance and personnel and administration.
Lt. Col. Williamson, plans to it the ground running as he is already coordinating training activities with other nearby organizations. He is planning to quickly fill up his vacant positions and get his soldiers trained up as soon as possible. "It is a great honor for me, to be selected as the first commander of the Water Battalion, and I look forward to the challenge," stated Williamson, as he toured the Rome armory for the first time.
Those interested in positions in the battalion can contact Lt. Col. Williamson at 315-772-5177.
By Sgt. Peter Towse
138th MPAD FORT POLK, LA There was general interest at the Joint Readiness Training Center, in the form of visits by several National Guard generals. Distinguished visitors to the 27th Infantry Brigade's successful JRTC rotation included the Chief of National Guard Bureau, Lt. Gen. Russell C. Davis; the Director of the Army National Guard, Lt. General Roger Schultz, New York's new Adjutant General Brig.. Gen. Thomas P. McGuire, the 42d Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Thomas Garrett, and New York Army National Guard's Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Michael Van Patten.
The generals moved about Ft. Polk visiting sweltering troops, shaking hands and giving words of encouragement and their commander's coins, and took the opportunity to speak about JRTC's training and the issues regarding the future of the National Guard force.
"This is a new level of training," said Davis. "The soldiers here get to see the big picture and their job in action. We are moving and doing. Our soldiers are the key to what we are doing in training and real world situations. As a whole, the National Guard is training for real world situations. We are part of the integration into The Army," he said, referring to the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Eric Shinseki's term for the entire Army force.
Schultz commented that the training at Fort Polk was an absolute success. "We are learning, training and picking up a new sense of discipline," Schultz said. "The 27th Brigade is a solid team-a rocksolid team. This (JRTC) is just like going to war...the day to-day stress is tremendous and the soldiers accepted the challenge and never gave up."
"I am looking forward to seeing the troops," said McGuire upon arriving at Ft. Polk, only a few days following his appointment as The Adjutant General (TAG). "This is real time training and I am impressed with the efforts and success of the 27th."
When asked what he, as the new TAG, will do to improve the Guard, McGuire said that he will "keep the soldiers busy! I want to combine the Air with Army National Guard to share training tasks and make it more natural to train together."
"This rotation to the JRTC allows us to exercise the leaders and the entire chain of command," said Van Patten. "The motivation is incredible. It is a credit to the 27th Brigade. Those that came showed great dedication to their unit and the National Guard," he said. "Their families are proud of them, their employers are proud of them and I am proud of them." Van Patten spoke about the recently-announced transition of the New York Army National Guard and 27th Brigade, and supported JRTC as good leadership training which will help Orion soldiers in their future jobs, whether as Military Police, Engineers, Anti-armor infantry, or a dozen of other ocupational specialties. "What we have now, with JRTC, is a strong corps of leaders and soldiers."
"The soldiers are what make it all happens here," said Schultz, "They make everything possible."