Story and Photos by Lt. Col. Paul Fanning Guard Times Staff LATHAM Members of New York's Army and Air National Guard continue to serve on state and federal duty at record levels, at home and abroad more than six months after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center last September 11th.
With more than 2,400 troops still on duty, in numbers divided almost equally between the Army and Air National Guard, New York men and women in uniform continue to push the service envelope in a variety of ways. Troops continue to guard the state's four nuclear power sites, provide security assistance to the New York Police Department at various Manhattan locations and help secure Fort Drum and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Troops are also assisting the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Border Patrol along the northern border with Canada and are serving on active duty at military installations around the world including Southwest Asia.
At press time, members of the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery are being activated to replace members of the Fighting 69th Infantry who have been performing federal duty at West Point. Also at press time, the National Guard airport security mission is coming to a close after almost seven months of continuous duty at 20 airports statewide.
Last fall, President George Bush asked the nation's governors to activate Guard troops at federal expense to quickly reinforce airport security measures across the nation. The intent was to help the crippled civilian airline industry regain the public confidence that was badly shaken last September when terrorists hijacked airliners and turned them into suicide weapons against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Government and airport officials have praised New York National Guard troops for their efforts and have described the Guard airport security program an overwhelming success. Now, new employees of the Transportation Safety Administration and other law enforcement and security agencies are standing up as the Guard hands the mission off to them.
"For more than seven months, the soldiers of the 27th Brigade have put their lives on hold to bolster security at 20 airports across the state of New York, said Governor George E. Pataki. "During difficult times, their presence helped restore confidence in air travel, and provided an effective deterrent against possible wrong doing," he said. "On behalf of the people of New York State, I would like to thank the soldiers of the 27th Brigade for their dedication, sacrifice and professionalism, the Governor said. "They accepted an extraordinary mission and did an extraordinary job."
"We could not have done this job without the Guard," said Lieutenant Daniel Carbonaro, Community Affairs Officer with the New York Port Authority Police Department based at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens. "The troops and the leaders have been fantastic. To a soldier, they have done their job very well and both our organizations worked extremely well together. I am glad for them that they will be able to go home and get on with their lives, but I am sorry to see them leave. They were really needed and they came through for us," he said.
"Before 9-11 if you had asked me whether our two organizations could work together this way and whether I thought the Guard could handle this kind of law enforcement mission, I probably would have said 'no way,'" said Lieutenant Kevin Hassett. "But now I know better. It has been a real pleasure to have the Guard here with us. This partnership has worked. There is no doubt in my mind security missions like this, need to be a National Guard responsibility. Where else can organizations like the PAPD go when we need help like we needed following 9-11? The answer is no where else," he said.
The troops efforts and the sacrifices and hardships being experienced by families and civilian employers across the state are not lost on New York's Adjutant General. "Never in our history have so many troops performed so many different missions for so long a period," said Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Maguire, Jr., during an address at state headquarters. "This is extraordinary. It is not normal, and we all need to realize that. We can't afford to become complacent or to accept this as the new normal. Our nation is at war. It is clearly not business as usual," he said.
ST. AUGISTINE, FL (Florida National Guard Public Affairs) - The National Guard is in a lot of places nowadays. Soldiers and airmen are in airports safeguarding travelers, at seaports protecting U.S. shores, above the United States flying protective missions and posted along the nation's borders. And on Feb. 24, they were in yet another place: the funny pages.
"Blondie," one of the world's most popular comic strips, published since 1930, included in its Sunday comic strip a character wearing fatigues, carrying a weapon and observing travelers as they waited to board their planes. National Guard soldiers guarding airports were now a part of Americana.
"It's a fixture. They're there," Blondie artist Denis Lebrun said. "It's the modern look of what airports look like now."
Lebrun has been drawing the comic strip for the past 20 years. "One of the things that stuck out in my head was that the National Guard is there," Lebrun said. "When I draw it, I try to get the newest things in the strips. I try to keep it fresh and up to date," he said. After traveling and seeing the Guardsmen in the airports he knew he, "Needed a Guardsman in there."
Lebrun searched the Internet and modeled the cartoon soldier from photographs he saw on various National Guard web sites. The Guardsman, a military policeman who appears in the last frame of the strip, is alertly watching a group of travelers in a lounge - specifically, Dagwood Bumstead, Blondie's husband, who often delivers the strip's punch lines. The comic strip is built around its primary character, Blondie, and her life as a wife with her family.
The Feb. 24 strip places Dagwood in a post Sept. 11 scenario familiar to many Americans: he is on a business trip and his flight has been delayed three hours. The airline offers Dagwood complementary food coupons and the rest is classic Blondie.
"It could have been something that happened at anytime," Lebrun said of the Feb. 24 strip. By including a National Guardsman in the comic strip, Lebrun said that his readers would "know that it's now."
Blondie appears in more than 2,300 newspapers and is read daily by an estimated 250 million people in 55 countries and in more than 33 languages, according to King Features Syndicate.
Lebrun lives in Tampa, a military town that is home to the U.S. Central Command, the unit directing the war on terror overseas. But for Lebrun, the military is more than just people he passes in airports or the neighbors he interacts with in his town.
"My dad was in the Air Force: a lifer. I'm an Air Force brat," Lebrun, the son of a senior master sergeant said.
Lebrun lauded the National Guard's presence in more than 400 airports throughout the country and added that he thinks "it's great" that the citizen soldiers and airmen are there.
WASHINGTON DC (Army News Service) - Soldiers worldwide are now invited to submit stories, commentaries and other articles to the Army News Service under a new program called "Soldiers Forum."
The best of the articles will be posted on the "ArmyLINK News" Web page at the end of each week and they will also be sent to Army newspaper editors at installations and commands across the globe for use on their commentary pages.
The purpose of the program is to "give soldiers a voice on ArmyLINK," said Col. Stephen Campbell, chief of Command Information at Department of the Army.
The articles should be more than just "complaint columns" Campbell said. He explained that if problems are brought up, suggested solutions should be included in the article.
On the other hand, Campbell said the letters "can't just be peaches and cream either." He explained that the forum is not just looking for laudatory comments, but insightful discourse on subjects of interest to the entire Army.
First-person accounts of combat in Afghanistan or duty in the Philippines are examples of articles that would be considered for publication, Campbell said. But those are the exceptions, rather than the norm. He said the column is looking for reflections and recommendations regarding everyday Army life.
Observations about Family Team Building programs, the NCO Education System, or Common Task Training are just a few examples of relevant topics.
More controversial topics affecting soldiers and their families might also be discussed, such as: drug abuse, domestic violence, street gangs, suicide prevention, retention, single-parent soldiering, OPTEMPO and PERSTEMPO.
Letters and articles should be sent to the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, ATTN: SAPA-CI (Soldiers Forum), Rm 2B720, 1500 Army Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20310- 1500 or better yet, e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Time of War: Illusions & Reality "Make no mistake about it - we are at war!"
Though not my original words, they are as prophetic today as they were in 1964, when their author, U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater, uttered them while accepting the Republican Party nomination for president at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.
The Arizona conservative, who went on to craft the monumentally forward-reaching Goldwater-Nichols Pentagon Reorganization Act of 1986, was referring to the Vietnam War - then just heating up. The conflict, a distant 8,500 miles from the California coast, was still remote and foreign to the consciousness of the American publicat- large.
Yet the nasty, hot war to contain the scourge of communism in Southeast Asia, would expand, surge and, ultimately, languish for nine more years. Even at its height, during the 1968 "Tet" offensive - as now, in the new War on Terrorism - civilians would be hard pressed, living in the midst of a healthy U.S. economy, to feel or experience psychological, much less material impact of war.
That is unless you had a son, daughter, father or mother, friend or neighbor, who was called to war service. And unless, tragically, you had a loved one maimed, lost or killed in action, or while in the active service.
Sgt. Gene Arden Vance Jr., 38, a newly wed West Virginia Army National Guard (WVARNG) member from Morgantown, was just such a service member. While on combat patrol May 19, with the WVARNG's 19th Special Forces Unit in Afghanistan, Vance's unit came under attack by al Quada or Taliban forces. He was mortally wounded by small arms fire.
Associates described Vance, who cancelled his honeymoon when the 19th was activated for Operation Enduring Freedom, as quiet and hard working. He was an avid bicyclist and sports enthusiast who'd been in the Guard for 10 years.
A moment of silence was observed at Oceana High School, about 90 miles south of Charleston, WV where Vance graduated in 1981.
Short of heart-pulling moments like this we, as a culture, are often simply at a loss to experience or comprehend the reality of these new kinds of late 20th Century/New Millennium wars.
You'll see a little bit of it if you travel at the airports and witness the delays at baggage check-in lines. Or, wait in the auto and SUV queues on the I-87 Northway near Champlain, or the Buffalo-Niagara Peace Bridge, on the way to Canada. Places where our National Guard and state Military Forces have been very much visible these days.
The nightly TV news shows are still filled with the latest reports of war news from the Middle East and Afghanistan, sure. Walmart, K-Marts and A.C. Moores are still crammed with American flags, banners, buttons and other patriotic paraphernalia.
Yet the visuals and din surrounding the war diminish day-by-day. On TV it is easy to turn off "The War" with a flick of the remote and return to regular broadcasting: CNBC stock market news, MTV, The Shopping Channel - whatever turns your propeller. Outside, the U.S. flags and the "Standing Tall" bumper strips are starting to fade.
The society has slipped into what the news people have coined as the "near normal." More critically, this is a take on the natural human inclination to ease into complacency and apathy.
We in the New York's Military Forces and their families know no such illusions, just realities. Since 9-11, between 12 and 14,000 of our members have experienced extended service in one or more of the state active duty, Enduring Freedom or Noble Eagle mobilizations. Surely our "citizen-soldiers," airmen and women, sailors and Marines have, or are experiencing, the most varied array of war and homeland defense related duty assignments in our time.
As I write this dispatch more than 2.400 of our members remain on duty in corners of the world, nation and state as diverse as the Middle East, Southwest and Central Asia, various domestic U.S. Army and Air Force bases, U.S.-Canadian border duty points, New York City (Pennsylvania and Grand Central stations, et. al.), at power stations throughout New York State, with the 10th Mountain Division & Fort Drum, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and numerous other locations.
"Make no mistake about it - we are at war!"
Dear Guard Times: Much has been written about the Guard's outstanding support to New York City after the horrible catastrophe and rightly so. Soldiers take pride in their units and enjoy reading about their accomplishments. They can show these articles to their family and friends as a way to describe the events of 9/11 seen through the eyes of the New York National Guard. It's great for morale.
While coverage has been extensive, some units and soldiers have not yet been given credit for their involvement.
What is truly important and must not be forgotten or slighted is that the entire militia force of New York came together as one to provide immediate and effective assistance to the NYC rescue and relief efforts.
Although the 53rd troop command became the joint task force command during those early chaotic and difficult days, the Troop Command headquarters and its subordinate units could not have provided the support it did without the noteworthy efforts of units from the 42d Infantry Division, 27th Brigade, all the Air National Guard Wings, the New York Guard and New York Naval Militia. In fact, the 53d Troop Command Emergency Operations Center (EOC) could not have functioned as well as it did, around the Clock, without the outstanding efforts of individual airmen and soldiers from the Air National Guard and New York Guard.
The "one army" concept is a popular catch phrase, talked about in many circles. Well, the support to NYC in its hour of need was surely a "one New York National Guard" concept if there ever was one. There were no petty differences between commands. Instead, I witnessed a joining of forces for the one singular purpose to help New York City recover from the cowardly attack on the heart of its economic base.
Now, almost six months later, I look back on those first two weeks with much pride not only for what the undermanned 53d Troop Command Headquarters accomplished, but what the New York National Guard, as a whole, achieved.
I personally hope never to witness a tragedy such as 9/ 11 again. But at least I am confident in knowing that if the need should arise, the militia forces in New York State are highly capable of working successfully side-by-side to accomplish any mission.
Sincerely, Col. Robert Edelman Deputy Commander 53rd Troop Command Valhalla
Dear Guard Times, My name is Sgt. Dennis C. Nichols and I am with the 105th Military Police Company from Buffalo. The reason I am writing is that my brother, James Nichols, a sheriff's deputy from Erie County here in Western New York is the law enforcement officer that pulled an American flag from the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The flag that he recovered was the same one flown at the World Series last fall. I heard that they announced at the World Series game that it was found by an unidentified police officer. Well, that was my brother! They finally have a name to put with that American flag.
We both went to New York City in September. I went with the 105th MP Company and he went to the city with a detachment from the Erie County Sheriffs Dept. I do not know how many flags were found, but the one he discovered was the one displayed at the World Series. He did not want me to say anything to anyone, but I thought that it was finally time and I am honored. He's a New Yorker and he is my brother and I am proud.
Thank you, Sgt. Dennis Nichols 105th Military Police Company
Dear Guard Times, I am writing this letter to let you know how much it meant to me and my family for Staff Sgt Prattto provide those two wonderful young men as an honor guard for my husband's funeral this March. I did not know until that morning that they would be there and when I saw them, the tears started to flow. They were then, as they are now as I type this, grateful tears, because that was what he wanted so much, and I wanted him to have it.
I know it was probably not proper to go up to them and give them a kiss and a hug, but I don't always do the proper thing, I go with my heart!
They did a beautiful thing, I cannot say a job, because it was much more than that. My husband was in the honor guard at several funerals when he was active duty, so I know how they feel. They are all brothers in service. When Don was in Korea, he had one of his buddies die in Don's arms with his throat slit. He knew the grief of losing a buddy.
I was also given the Hopi Prayer which I had seen before and early loved along with the meaning of why the flag was folded as it was. I never knew why it was done that way. I am going to make several copies of both. My daughter wants a copy for her son's Boy Scout Troop and several others want them for other reasons. Mine will be framed and hung on our wall.
I only wish that you could have known the man you honored so well. I have loved him since I was 15 and I love him just as much today as I did then. He was not just a husband, he was my friend, my lover, my teacher, my soul mate. I than you and your wonderful young men for being there. Thank you again.
Sincerely, Carole M. Bain Akron, NY
Army News Service WASHINGTON, DC While the Army is currently reviewing its rules governing the weight control pro gram in Army Regulation 600-9, don't expect to see any changes before fiscal year 2003. "Don't let your soldiers get caught up in the speculation about changes to the program," stated Sgt. Maj. of the Army Jack L. Tilly in a "SMA sends" e-mail to senior noncommissioned officers. "Rest assured that any decisions we make will be driven by what's best for the health of our soldiers and the readiness of our Army."
Last updated in 1986, the latest review was partly prompted by a Government Accounting Office report and a Department of Defense directive for the armed services to get more standardized programs across each. Currently, weight control and physical fitness standards are developed and implemented independently by each service.
Another reason for the review, said Lt. Col. Margaret Flott, chief of the Individual Readiness Policy Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, is the Army knows more about health issues and physical fitness based upon medical science than it did years ago.
"When I joined the Army, we did physical training in combat boots and fatigues," Flott said. "Soldiers no longer wear combat boots when doing PT because we now know that practice is not healthy. Likewise, we now wear appropriate clothing for PT.
"The review of the weight control program is about using established medical science based upon the general (United States) population- information we didn't have 15 years ago when the current regulation was written-and testing it to see what is best for our soldiers and for the Army."
By Sgt. First Class Corine L. Lombardo HQ, 42d ID (M) It's a twist to normal training, but in the fictitious world of 'Guilderlandahar', over a dozen soldiers from the Troy based 42d Infantry "Rainbow" Division headquarters posed as members of a foreign terrorist regime, protecting their base camp, at the National Guard Training site in Guilderland, New York in mid-April.
Rainbow Division soldiers portrayed the enemy opposing Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets from the Capitol District area. Over 100 Cadets from Sienna College, Rensylear Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the State University of New York (SUNY) campus in Albany were put through training scenarios, which will help them prepare for their five-week National Advanced Leadership Course this summer. Approximately 3800 ROTC Cadets enter into the Ft. Lewis, Washington Advance Camp annually from national colleges, where cadets are evaluated on their ability to lead soldiers. Successful completion of this intense course is required for commissioning in the Armed Forces.
The weekend training also provided an opportunity for National Guard soldiers to share some of the training they received at the National Training Center in the Mojave Desert of California and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The unique aspect of the weekend's training was the cooperation between the National Guard and the ROTC program. Three years ago Major Patrick Chaisson and Major John Andonie, both from the 42d Infantry Division headquarters formed an informal training association with Sienna Army ROTC in order to give the ROTC program the kind of support that would make the training realistic and fun. It soon expanded to include other capital area colleges. "The division is always ready and willing to help in basic squad and situation training," said Major Chaisson, providing the kind of support like 'OPFOR' (opposition force) and vehicles, as well as taking part in paint ball wars. "Our soldiers dress for the occasion and it motivates them as well as the cadets," adding "we look forward to working with the ROTC program again in the future."
"Having the National Guard providing this training support has immense benefits for our ROTC Cadets. The 42d soldiers give the added element of realism and an opportunity to work with seasoned combat field soldiers", said Lt. Col. Telly Halkias, Professor of Military Science at Siena College in Albany, adding that "Division soldiers are motivated, hard working and provide realistic training".
The interaction gives these cadets and future leaders an opportunity to sit with soldiers and get a feel of what soldiers want and expect from their leaders. Staff Sergeant Steve Jarosz, from the division's operations section (G3) volunteered to take part in the small OPFOR detachment, drawn from the Rainbow Division for the cadets, because he hopes imparting some of his experience will help the cadets become better officers.
National Guard soldier Chaim Spilman, with the 642d Military Intelligence Company in Troy, also participated in the training, not as a National Guardsman, but as a Cadet. After two years in the Army Spilman entered into the ROTC program to complete his college degree in Psychology and become an officer.
"I have the advantage of my experience as an enlisted member, but I feel I can do more as an officer," Spilman said. His military skills have made him a resource for his fellow ROTC cadets. Upon completion of his ROTC program, Spilman looks forward to returning to the 642d as a First Lieutenant.
Story and photos by Major Richard Goldenberg Guard Times Staff FORT DRUM Members of the 107th Military Police Company are still trying to catch up with all their pay stubs. This winter the company mobilized for active duty to provide homeland security at Fort Drum, New York. The unit mobilization follows both state active duty in lower Manhattan as well as a unit annual training cycle for overseas deployment training. Soldiers from the company have been paid for state, National Guard, and now federal service.
"We were in the midst of our training in Germany when the company got word of the mobilization," said Capt. Joseph Krug, the unit commander. "The last six months are nearly a blur for us between SAD (state active duty) in the city and our overseas deployment."
Like many of their fellow members of the New York National Guard, soldiers of the 107th Military Police Company in Utica knew that their service would not end with their emergency response mission to New York City in September, 2001. Forces from across New York State have mobilized for homeland security missions both in New York and in other regions of the U.S. Similarly, Air National Guard wings mobilized and deployed portions of their units for overseas service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as well.
What makes the mobilization of the 107th MPs so unique is the mission they now perform. Visitors and soldiers travelling to Fort Drum in the North Country of New York will now find members of the 107th MPs on guard and patrolling the installation, something out of the ordinary for the one hundred or so soldiers deployed on active duty. The company normally trains to deploy for a combat military police role, explained unit First Sergeant Michael Sharadin. Providing installation security on a fixed post was an expanded role for the National Guard MPs. "This was definitely not something we expected, but then again it was not something we could not handle," Sharadin said. Soldiers received additional training for motor vehicle patrols as well as routine law enforcement duties.
Working as an additional company in the 10th Military Police Battalion at Fort Drum, the soldiers of the MP Company join both active and reserve MP soldiers to secure the post.
"It is my intent that when anyone arrives at the Fort Drum gate, it is completely transparent whether the MP is active Army, Army National Guard, or Army Reserve," said Brig. Gen. Thomas Goedkoop, the Acting Commanding General-Rear for the 10th Mountain Division and the Assistant Division Commander for Support. "The events of 9/11 and the mobilizations of reserve component units since then only reinforce the fact that the Army has been breaking down barriers for years," he said.
Many members of the 107th MP Company deployed to Manhattan for more than two weeks of security duty working with the New York City Police Department. "That duty definitely changed our perspectives on why we're doing all of this right now," remarked Staff Sgt. Robert Donnelly, the Third Platoon Sgt.
With a majority of the 10th Mountain Division MPs already deployed, augmenting the 10th MP Battalion was critical to provide security for the post. "The arrival of the 107th MPs put us over the top for our needs and allows the battalion to conduct a training rotation again," noted Goedkoop. The Military Police Battalion provides a quick reaction force for the installation in addition to the post security, traffic patrol, and law enforcement duties for Fort Drum.
When the commanding general says the integration of the 107th MPs would be seamless, seamless it is. Soldiers from the 107th quickly had the 10th Mountain Division unit patch sewn on their uniforms and proudly wear the brassards of 10th Mountain MPs while on duty.
For one soldier, finding a 10th Mountain Division shoulder patch was no more than a trip home. Sgt. Peter Dougan from 1st Platoon lives in Black River just a few miles from post and has family ties to the light infantry division. "My dad was in triple deuce (Second Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment) in the early 1990s and he got out of the Army after the operation in Haiti," Dougan explained. "So now I can wear my dad's shoulder patch from his days in the 10th Mountain," he said proudly.
"These guys have been excellent," said Sharadin about the mobilization and mission support from the division. "They've really bent over backwards to help us out. We are treated like we belong here."
Over the coming months, soldiers from the 107th MP Company will settle into a more routine training cycle. Training schedules will include all of the same requirements as any active duty Military Police Company, including the professional development schools for junior soldiers. "We will integrate the 107th for training and provide these soldiers with the same opportunities as any soldier in the 10th Mountain Division. Some members of the company are already participating in the installations Primary Leader Development Course (PLDC), a qualifying military school for promotion to Sergeant.
Private First Class Jonathon Sheerer from Ilion summarized the company duties best. He joined the unit to build his resume and progress towards a career in law enforcement, he noted during the second platoon "guard mount" brief. Now, just months after his initial schooling, he finds himself in the thick of law enforcement and security duties.
The federal mission for the MP Company is expected to last a year. "I couldn't be happier with the quality and knowledge of the troops," said Goedkoop of the 107th MPs. "The 107th MPS put us over the top (for security requirements). They are a great success already."
Story and Photos by Raymond P. Aalbue Fort Hamilton Public Affairs Office FORT HAMILTON If you walk around post on weekends you will see a lot more camouflaged uniforms then you would during the week. These soldiers are the weekend warriors who come on post to fulfill their reserve duty with the many units supported by Fort Hamilton. One unit, the National Guard's 206th Corps Support battalion, has been pulling a tour of duty, one weekend a month, in the commissary for the past few months. Lieut. Col. Peter Sammarco, the 206th commander, is very pleased with the opportunity his troops have been given by the commissary store director, David DeKalb.
"When we approached Command Sgt. Maj. Bakker over a year ago, he was very receptive to the idea. He was very open to giving the soldiers of the 206th the place to practice what they have learned through training in warehouse supply," Sammarco said. After that initial meeting, Bakker spoke to DeKalb and the rest is history.
"This gives my troops the chance to maintain their proficiency in their MOS, which is 92 Alpha," Sammarco said. MOS stands for Military Occupational Specialty in a Career Management Field. In other words, 92A is an Automated Logistical Specialist. "Working here at the commissary keeps the soldiers ready for activation," Sammarco added. That activation came on Sept. 11, when the unit was called up for 17 days. The soldiers set up tents, gathered supplies and set up logistical drop points for food, water and other items for the NYPD and FDNY. "There were tractor trailer's full of cleaning supplies, clothing, water and even dog food," Sammarco said. The King Cullen food chain donated warehouse space in Garden City and the 206th took control of the area. They also pulled security at the Family Assistance Center on Pier 94 on the West Side of Manhattan.
Command Sgt. Maj. Tex Rodriguez said the work at the Fort Hamilton commissary was very important. "Work at the commissary is very effective for the soldiers. It boosts their morale and helps in retention," Rodriguez said. "Other soldier's in different MOS's get the chance to work in their career field. This is the only time, other than the two weeks during annual training, where our soldiers get the chance to work in a warehouse. It is important for us."
Sammarco pointed out maintenance personnel of the 145th and the 102nd Maintenance Company's are the largest element in the 206th. There are about 400 soldiers in the battalion.
Sgt. Diego Gonzales is a member of the 145th at the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. Gonzalez, a former Marine who served in Vietnam, has been in the National Guard for 18 years. "This is work that is related to the job," Gonzales said. "Practicing your MOS is very important. This is on the job training."
92 Alphas have to go to the Quartermaster school at Fort Lee, VA to receive their training. The 92A Automated Logistical Specialist is schooled in the principles of warehouse functions, ration break operations and stock record management among other disciplines. This is what leads to making them versatile logisticians.
DeKalb said the soldiers are not the only ones who gain from their experience at the commissary. He said, "The 206th was immensely helpful getting us ready for our upcoming inventory. They helped to organize the warehouse, which took the stress off my staff so they could concentrate on other things that needed to be done."
Looking at the big picture, this was a win-win situation for all involved. And for the immediate future, the 206th will continue to reap the rewards, along with the Fort Hamilton commissary.
By Capt. Marcus Bostick HQ, 206th Corps Support Battalion NEW YORK CITY The 206th Corps Support Battalion conducted its 1st Annual Stellar Challenge competition during the third quarter of Training Year 2001.
The purpose of the competition was to build esprit de corps and develop technical and tactical skills of the soldiers in the ranks of private through lieutenant.
The three companies of the battalion, Headquarters Detachment 206th Corps Support Battalion, the 102d Maintenance Company and the 145th Maintenance Company participated in the competition. Each company had 10 soldiers on its team, ranging from Privates to Second Lieutenants.
The competition was divided into three phases. During Phase I, the teams had to take a written test concerning subjects such as military history, Army values, common skill tasks from the soldier's manual, operations orders and tactical operations, both offensive and defensive.
During Phase II, the teams were tested on basic military skill topics to include first aid, Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS) on vehicles and map reading in a field environment. Soldiers also conducted field stripping and immediate action drills on the M16A1 rifle. During Phase III the teams participated in soccer and a strength endurance competition in order to assess the fitness and stamina of the participants.
Many soldiers felt that the competition helped them prepare for future military schools and re-enforced those professional military skills learned in basic training. As the competition progressed, each of the company teams reviewed and practiced the required material to increase their proficiencies. Each of the companies rallied to support their team to either maintain their first place standing or move into the lead position.
After totaling the score sheets, Sgt. Perkins from the 145th Maintenance Company achieved the highest overall individual soldier score and was awarded the Army Achievement Medal at the annual 206th Stellar Ball by Lt. Col. Peter Sammarco, the battalion commander. The 145th Maintenance Company achieved the highest team score and received the Stellar Challenge Trophy. Each year the trophy will be given to the unit with the best score and soldiers will be rewarded for achievement.
Story by Sgt. Peter K. Towse 138th MPAD CHONTALES, NICARAGUA Working alongside Wisconsin Army National Guard engineers, the 3rd Battalion, 142d Aviation Regiment of the New York Army National Guard, are traveling to Central America for "Joint Task Force Chontales" in an effort to assist the Nicaraguan government. The Wisconsin engineers will be improving the local roads, building schools and medical clinics.
"It is a challenging opportunity to give the soldier a chance to see another part of the world," said Capt. Mark F. Slusar, commander of the unit's Headquarters Company. "We are looking forward to supporting the Nicaraguan government."
The aviation will be on duty from January 12-May 26 supporting the Wisconsin engineers by airlifting troops, supplies, and equipment to each of the six work sites.
"We are really looking forward to it," said Staff Sgt. Doug W. Bennett, an avionics technician with the aviation. "We are doing something good. We are helping the community of Nicaragua."
Should the need arise, the aviation detachment will also provide casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) for the Wisconsin engineers.
"The Joint Task Force (JTF) will provide humanitarian assistance and act as an ambassador of goodwill in support of the Nicaraguan government," said Lt. Col. Mark Burke, the battalion commander. "This will be a challenging mission, but it will offer an excellent opportunity to provide desperately needed assistance to a less fortunate people."
Climate and terrain are also a main part of the challenge to the Guard. Nicaragua is made up of mostly large hills and small mountain ranges. The temperatures can range from 100 by day to 70 at night.
"The hot weather is our main concern," Slusar said. "Working in these conditions can wear down the troops. The mountainous terrain also offers some challenges to our aviators."
The aircraft and ground equipment will go to Virginia and then be sea lifted to Nicaragua. The troops will fly to Wisconsin and then into Managua with the engineers.
The troops will stay at a secure base camp, patrolled by American and Nicaraguan military police already there.
"(This deployment) will give everyone involved a chance to experience a different culture. I am confident that all of the 3-142d soldiers will give their best effort in assisting the Nicaraguan people," Slusar said. The detachment is expected to redeploy later in the month of May.
By Sgt. First Class Corine L. Lombardo HQ, 42d ID (M) Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major A. Frank Lever, III, visited Buffalo and Niagara Falls in late April to thank New York soldiers for their response to last year's terrorist attack and their work at Ground Zero.
Lever, who spent several days in New York City last fall, said "the soldiers I had the privilege of speaking with were assigned to difficult positions and did the job with the right attitude, they made a tremendous difference on behalf of the citizens of New York State."
The Army National Guard's top NCO, who travels over 240 days a year, functioning as mentor, motivator and counselor to thousands of the Guard's enlisted soldiers, returned to New York to visit citizen-soldiers patrolling the borders of the state's northwestern region. "We have 'answered the call' to defend our citizens since the inception of the constitution, from state emergencies to homeland defense. We're the Guard and we're ready, from security at our airports and protecting our borders to supporting the Army when it goes to war" said Lever.
The Command Sgt. Maj. also attended the 2002 New York Army National Guard Sergeant's Major conference where the state's senior enlisted force discussed issues directly effecting recruiting and retention and how current operations have affected it. The Army National Guard loses a whopping 21 percent, at least a brigade of new soldiers, between the time they complete their basic training and return to their home station unit. Known as 'training pipeline losses', New York is fighting annual rates of approximately ten percent.
"Our ideal is to bring these losses down to 12 percent nationally and six percent in New York" said Lever, adding "I'm here to challenge New York's senior enlisted leaders to combat this major issue facing today's force."
To deal with this problem, the New York National Guard developed the Guard Recruits In Training or 'GRIT' program last year. GRIT implements a mentoring process for new recruits even before they leave for basic training (See related story, pages 12-13). The program is designed to challenge and educate young soldiers, thus retaining them. Some 335 new recruits have gone through GRITsince it began and only 16 recruits have been lost to the program. "New York's program is a great start, but a program is only as good as it's leaders, we have to hold our senior enlisted members accountable for making the program a success", said Lever. "As leaders, the greatest thing we can do for our soldiers is to ensure they have the opportunity to experience and succeed in the Guard, whether it's a college education or life long career. Everything we do, success and failures rest with leadership."
Lever serves as the Army National Guard Director's personal advisor on all enlisted matters with special emphasis on quality of life and training. He has been a member of the National Guard for over 33 years.
Story and photos by Lt. Col. Paul Fanning Guard Times Staff CAMP SMITH, CORTLANDT MANOR In a "first" for the New York Army National Guard, a training course was held in March to boost the skills of unit level retention personnel.
The objective is to train and employ selected troops throughout the force, who can then help the Guard do a better job of looking out for the needs of its soldiers and thereby increase the number of soldiers who will stay through their term of service and, hopefully, reenlist.
Its called the Unit Attrition Management Course and it is taught by a mobile team of Noncommissioned Officers who come from National Guard Bureau's Strength Maintenance Center at Camp Robinson, Arkansas. The course is designed to give part-time Unit Retention NCOs skills and tools to help reduce unit attrition rates and improve extension and retention rates.
"By regulation, every company is supposed to appoint a retention NCO, but we have never really taken the time to train these soldiers and prepare them for the job," said Lt. Col. Dana Whaley, state Recruiting and Retention manager. "The Retention NCO is someone who will talk to soldiers in the unit about normal issues that impact on retention and then help to resolve issues that come up. This is the first time we have used this type of training for our force," she said.
Over a hundred troops from more than 70 different units reported to Camp Smith for ten days of classroom instruction, which covered diverse topics from re-employment rights for mobilized Guard members to interview techniques. The recruiting and retention directorate tapped into their annual budget to provide the needed funding to the three Army National Guard major commands in order to place soldiers on orders to attend the training. Camp Smith was chosen as the best site to run the instruction. Participating ranks included a private first class all the way up to command sergeant major. Two captains also attended.
"We have four teams that go on the road to teach this course of instruction and others," said Sgt. 1st Class Ken Campbell from the Strength Maintenance Center. "This block is 80 hours of instruction and will essentially prepare these soldiers for the duties of being a unit retention NCO. Unit members know best what the problems are and soldiers generally prefer to talk to someone within the unit that they know. We impart as much information we can to class participants and give them tools that they can use to properly handle soldiers concerns," he said.
"We can't possibly recruit our losses," said Sgt. 1st Class Bob Lynch from Headquarters, 42nd Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Troy. He was once a full time recruiter and appreciates the strength challenge better than most. "The strength philosophy is changing back to where recruiters recruit and retention NCOs need to help retain. Once we get this program running, these personnel get some experience, we will definitely make a difference," he said.
"Because of my rank, I think I can work well with both NCOs and junior enlisted troops," said Pfc. Tashara Mason from the 14th Finance Detachment, 27th Finance Battalion from Whitestone, Queens. When she is not serving in the Guard, Tashara works as a medical assistant in a Brooklyn-based clinic.
Tashara's commander appointed her unit retention NCO and selected her for the training. "I knew about this and it is very informative. The first thing I am going to do when I get back is encourage the others about the good things the Guard has to offer and explain to them about all the benefits and information I have learned here," she said.
"I was assigned Retention NCO last August and ever since I have been asking how to do this job," said Sgt. Darrell Conyers of Detachment 1, Company C, 342nd Forward Support Battalion from Brooklyn. Darrell works as an X-ray technician at Beth-Israel Medical Center in Brooklyn. "My CO said this class was coming and he wanted me to come. I am glad. I have been talking to my classmates. I can network here. There is a lot of good Guard information coming out here that will really help the troops and families," he said. "When I get back to my unit I will start with squad leaders and other NCOs. I know we can do a better job if we first share information with them and then with the other ranks," he said.
"This is actually the fourth time I have used the mobile training team to run training for us, but it is the first time we, as a state, have trained our retention NCOs," said Lt. Col. Whaley. "They run classes for recruiters, first line leaders, company commanders and even readiness NCOs. More training for us is definitely possible," she said.
Guard Times Staff LATHAM More than half of all Army National Guard officers in New York received surveys this winter from the incoming commander, Brig. General Edward G. Klein. The surveys were intended to provide National Guard leaders with a current picture of issues facing officer retention for lieutenants to majors in the field.
Over 500 responses were returned for the survey and the results, summarized below, were presented to Klein, who took command earlier in 2002. Among the findings of the survey it was noted:
The results of the survey provide a sensing of concerns among the officers of the New York Army National Guard. The findings of the survey will become a foundation for future plans for officer procurement, development, and retention in the force.
Story and photo by Spec. Rachael Tolliver 10th Mountain Division Journalist CARTHAGE A New York Army National Guard equipment main tenance unit here will send a 20-member team to Grafenwoehr, Germany, on Saturday, April20th to support the 7th Army Training Command in Europe. Members of B Company 342nd Forward Support Battalion will deploy to Vilseck, Germany.
Their mission is to make sure equipment used by 7th ATC stays operational so units training at the Combat Maneuver Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany get the most out of the training, according to Sgt 1st Class Jerry Coughlin, B Company's 4th platoon leader.
"Some of the equipment we will be working on while we are there are the M60s (tank series), the (M113 Armored Personnel Carrier) family, some wheeled vehicles, and the rest we'll have to wait and see," he said. "We'll be doing whatever it takes to get them ready for 'The Box' (geographic area of training where a mock battle will test a unit in its specific mission)."
Coughlin, as well as most of the 342nd FSB members tasked for this mission, is a technicians at Fort Drum who is very familiar with the job he will perform when the Guard soldiers reach Germany.
The 342nd FSB soldiers will support the 7th Army Training Command for these units, mostly stationed in Europe, who will deploy to the Balkan states. The units must be validated for specific missions, and the validation is good for 18 months. Some units may go elsewhere after training, according to Lt. Elizabeth Condon, B Company, 342nd FSB executive officer.
"After the units are validated they may go back to wherever they came from (for training), or they may go to the U.S., Sarajevo or perhaps eventually to Afghanistan," she said. "They (7th ATC) will be training for missions to Bosnia and Kosovo. A platoon-sized element from the 101st Armored Cavalry (New York Army National Guard) will provide us with OPFOR (opposing forces) for this.
"Some of our soldiers are experienced in all types of equipment repair and have more than one MOS (military occupational specialty), but a few are just learning. This will be excellent training," Condon added.
In this type of operation, Condon said that a Troop Command would help out. However, she said B Company, 342nd FSB, has spent the last several years racking up excellent readiness ratings, excellent Training Assessment Model evaluations, and has had many verbal recommendations from the battalion, brigade, and division levels.
"So that's how we were chosen to support the regular Army in Europe," she said. The soldiers going on this mission are excited at the opportunity to sharpen their skills and to help with vital training in a time when U.S. forces are facing so many challenges.
"We aren't nervous about the flying, or the overseas travel or the work," said Sgt. Robert Roll. "We were chosen on a volunteer basis first, and all of us going volunteered so we could go over and help out."
Of the soldiers who volunteered for this mission, only three have never been overseas, but all are looking forward to the food, culture and sights.
"If we get the time, I want to see some of the castles," said Roll.
He and the rest of his team will be in luck. May 1 is a holiday, the German Memorial Day, so the soldiers will have the day off, and Thursday afternoons will be NCO time.
"We hope to take them (the soldiers) to see some historical sights one Thursday afternoon, and one Saturday we will be near Munich and we will go see the Black Forest," Condon said.
This is not the first time for most of the soldiers on this mission to deploy for some sort of duty.
The 342nd FSB was activated Sept. 11 to go to New York City to aid in rescue and relief efforts at ground zero. Their particular mission was to transport supplies, whether it was a shovel, a helmet or a flashlight, to caches along West Street, and to maintain the main supply depot at Pier 36 on the east side of lower Manhattan.
"These caches were small supply shacks that we kept stocked, and we'd give out supplies to firefighters, police officers and volunteers," said Spec. Rick Baez, who will deploy with his unit to Germany. "We also transported troops to various places, worked with the (New York) Port Authority, fire departments and police, and transported equipment to ground zero."
The soldiers worked in shifts, with each shift staying in NYC for two weeks at a time, and an average of four rotations to the city, said Condon.
Many of the soldiers in the B Company, 342nd FSB, have represented every conflict since Vietnam, according to Condon, and so as a unit they have a lot of experience from which to draw.
"The National Guard is capable, and can be just as efficient as active duty. We are a very cohesive unit," she said. "We were the 145th Maintenance Company in Saudi, before we were changed to Company B, 342nd FSB." With regard to their current assignment, the soldiers are trained, ready and capable, said Coughlin.
"We are with each other for years because we don't have the turnover that regular Army units do," he said. "So we are maybe a more cohesive unit than some regular Army units, and we have learned each other's capabilities very well. We know what to expect from each other when we get there, (and 7th ATC will be happy we came)."
By First Sgt. Santos Diaz 145th Maintenance Company On Sunday, April 21st, Specialist Reshard Rainey of the Bronx died in his sleep at the age of 22.
Spec. Rainey was born December 12th, 1979 and enlisted in the New York National Guard's 145th Maintenance Company on March 20th, 1997. He was a trained 62B, construction equipment repairman. Rainey was considered by all to be a hard working soldier, a great friend, and member of the unit family.
Everyone in the 145th knew and liked Rainey. He had a real presence and you always knew when he was in the room because he always had something funny to say.
During last summer's deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, the 119th Corps Support Battalion honored Rainey with a Commander's Coin for Excellence for his hard work and training.
Less than a month after his return from Fort Polk and the JRTC, Rainey returned to military duty following the horrific events of September 11th and served honorably while aiding the New York State Joint Task Force in the clean up and recovery at ground zero in lower Manhattan.
His competence and strong sense of duty made him a tremendous asset to the 145th Maintenance Company, the 53rd Troop Command, the New York National Guard and the nation.
By Maj Bob Bullock HQ, NYANG LATHAM The National Guard Bureau (NGB) recently announced the selection of Transport Topics as the top magazine format newspaper in the Air National Guard for 2001. The announcement came at the conclusion of the NGB annual journalism competition.
Transport Topics competed against all submitted magazine format entries submitted from the 50 states and four territories represented within the Air National Guard. Each unit entrant selected one publication they viewed as being representative of their finest work. A second month's publication was selected at random by the judges.
According to Staff Sgt Marty Bannan, feature writer for the Transport Topics, both the selected and random issue of the paper fared well in competition because of the wealth of activity that occurred at the unit and the strength of the written and photographic work submitted by contributors. "Due to the close involvement we have with multi media, many of our photos were great. We have also worked hard to provide good, balanced editorial content. Most issues contained sports, commentary, photos, features and news and we were particularly careful to follow accepted canons of writing and layout," he said.
For the 109th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office, this was not the first time that Transport Topics has garnered national attention. Previously, Sgt Bannan had taken individual awards for writing but never before was the office singled out for the entire product. "This definitely validates the effort we all put in to story development, design and layout. It was a total team effort," Bannan said.
Echoing the role of total wing collaboration in this success was the individual ultimately responsible for the publication, 109AW Public Affairs Officer Capt Jody Ankabrandt. "Our success here resulted from the collective effort of our contributors from throughout the wing. As traditional guardsmen, the public affairs staff depended upon everyone pitching in. This was also vital for story collection since we frequently depended upon the fulltimers to keep us informed of what went on between drills. In the end, everything worked. I am truly grateful to our contributors and all those who came in and worked extra hours, particularly Sgt Bannan and Technical Sgt Garry Fisher from our office, to see that the best product was put out in a timely fashion," Ankabrandt said.
According to military public affairs doctrine, the fundamental role of a base newspaper is to serve the command information needs of the unit's leadership. In this regard, the Transport Topics seemed to have met all objectives. "It is an honor for the paper to have been selected and a tribute to the hard work and dedication that, month after month, went into each issue," stated 109AW Commander Col Max Della Pia. "The Transport Topics staff and everyone who contributed articles have good reason to be very proud of this accomplishment. It is also a reflection of the hard work, talent and accomplishments of the individual unit members and units who were featured in this publication. With the fascinating missions we possess, there will always be interesting things to write about," the colonel said.
With the selection of Transport Topics as top Air National Guard publication, the paper now goes on to compete in the Air Force worldwide competition.
By Maj. Dave Saville 27th Component Repair Squadron Courtesy Air Combat Command Press Service Commentary: CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, NM I discovered one of the most powerful lessons I ever learned in a short book titled "What They Fought For, 1861-1865," by James M. McPherson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Battle Cry For Freedom."
The book was McPherson's summary of hundreds of letters written by soldiers of the Civil War in both the Union and Confederate armies.
I had always wondered why so many thousands of Americans would sacrifice themselves on the battlefield, fighting against each other. It baffled me. All other books I have read about the Civil War failed to answer this fundamental question for me. But reading this unique book clarified for me why they fought and why I am ready to fight.
The Civil War was the first war in history in which the average foot soldier was literate, and the last war in history in which personal correspondence was free of censorship or security guidelines. Civil War soldiers wrote lots of letters, and many of those letters are available today, preserved by families and museums. In fact, these soldiers wrote descriptively about their experiences and their thoughts, revealing insights into their motivation for fighting.
The most common motivation McPherson discovered in the letters, from both sides, was to preserve liberty and government "of the people, by the people, for the people." They understood they were responsible for preventing it from vanishing from the Earth.
How did they develop this sense of global responsibility? McPherson theorizes that most of these soldiers learned their duty to defend the Constitution by sitting on their great-grandfathers' and -grandmothers' laps and hearing stories of the Revolutionary War.
When the war began in 1861, it had only been 80 years since Yorktown and the end of the Revolutionary War. When Civil War soldiers were children, they learned what the Revolutionary War from those who lived it.
The letters from the soldiers reveal that the average soldier felt a profound burden to personally ensure democracy survived. This sentiment was captured in Lincoln's Gettysburg address. He said, "We are highly resolved that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
Like the soldiers who died on that battlefield after writing these letters, Lincoln knew democracy was fragile, and its future hung in the balance, affecting not only Americans, but the whole world.
Although America is much stronger now, the ideals of this country based on liberty are still under attack. The terrorist attacks on America over the past few years, including the attacks on Khobar Towers, the U.S.S. Cole, the World Trade Center and Pentagon, remind us that we have the same job our forefathers had at Yorktown and Gettysburg.
We have our chance to "ante up," like our fathers did at Normandy, Inchon and Vietnam. We can now add to that list Kuwait, Kosovo and Afghanistan. It is in these conflicts that we find the stories we will tell our grandchildren as we bounce them on our knees.
Imagine if our children and grandchildren do not learn the same sense of responsibility and patriotism we received from our forefathers? That would be a tragedy too colossal for words. We must ensure the future of a government "of the people, by the people, for the people" or we risk losing it from the Earth.
That is why we fight.
Guard Times Staff WESTHAMPTON BEACH Captain Fazal Hussain (photo at right), Public Health officer for the 106th Rescue Wing was recently honored by the Air Force for his service to victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks at ground zero in Manhattan. Col. Denise Van Hook (photo at left) presented the U.S. Air Force Public Health Officer of the Year Award to Hussain in a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas on March 20, 2002. The award recognizes the individual whose performance of duty and excellence as a Public Health Officer exemplify the highest standards in the medical profession and who has displayed outstanding individual performance. Dr. Hussain is an alumnus of New York Medical College and has served as a Public Health consultant in the New York Air National Guard. In his civilian job, he is the Clinical Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Stonybrook.
Hussain served on State Active Duty at Ground Zero during the New York National Guard's response to September 11th and assisted rescue and recovery missions to victims of the World Trade Center attacks. His enthusiasm, dedication and leadership abilities were key to the morale and welfare of all personnel assigned to him. He received numerous awards/letters of appreciation throughout the year for extra ordinary enthusiasm and exemplary guidance. Dr. Hussain recently received the Air Force Commendation Medal for his superb leadership skills.
In addition to his emergency response duties, he has written several articles about significant public health concerns affecting members of the National Guard and New York State residents in such areas as Food Poisoning, Anthrax, Lyme's disease, occupational lung diseases, heat related injuries and suicide prevention.
By Tech. Sgt. Bob Blauser Operation Northern Watch Public Affairs INCIRLIK AIR BASE, TURKEY One unit at Operation Northern Watch trains for events it hopes never happen - rescues. If a coalition aircraft gets in trouble while patrolling the skies over northern Iraq, the 106th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, from the New York Air National Guard, stands ready to come to the rescue.
"If a pilot gets shot down behind enemy lines, it's our job to go in, extract the pilot, and bring him back to safety," said Lt. Col. Graham Buschor, the squadron's commander.
The squadron performs the rescue mission using three HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, two HC- 130s, and about 100 people. ONW provides an ideal environment for the 106th ERQS to operate, said Buschor.
Many of the missions the squadron flies while at home contribute to the missions they carry out while deployed, said Buschor.
"The best part about our mission is that what we train for in our wartime mission, we readily use in peacetime," he said.
Typical peacetime missions back home could include anything from an open-ocean rescue to rescuing a stranded mountain climber. They handle five to 10 open-ocean rescues a year, Buschor said.
"For open-ocean type rescues, our tasking normally comes from the Coast Guard," he said. "Anything beyond their range or ability they'll task us with."
The 106th ERQS claims the longest over-water helicopter mission ever, a 15-hour flight to rescue Ukrainian seamen from the ill-fated freighter Salvadore Allende in 1994. Other prominent missions include search and rescue efforts for TWA Flight 800, John F. Kennedy Jr., and the sailboat Satori. It was a 106th ERQS crew that was depicted in the movie "The Perfect Storm" trying to rescue the Satori.
They were also involved with the World Trade Center rescue effort.
Crew members train for combat search and rescue missions throughout the year, said Chief Master Sgt. Tim Malloy, 106th ERQS noncommissioned officer in charge of pararescuemen, or PJs. To stay sharp here, they conduct a combat search and rescue exercise monthly.
"The CSAR exercises get all the players involved," said Staff Sgt. Brian Mosher, one of eight PJs deployed here with the 106th ERQS. "It's a great exercise because it gives you the whole picture and it keeps things fresh in our minds."
The unit has recently been partially mobilized for a year to support missions like ONW, said Malloy.
"It's tough mainly on your family members, and it's tough on your employers," Buschor said. "You've got to go to your civilian employer and tell them you need time off, which isn't always the easiest thing to do, especially for six months."
This is the 106th's sixth visit to ONW. Their last deployment here was in 2000, according to Buschor. "We've been pretty busy with these (aerospace expeditionary force deployments)."
Despite their high operations tempo, Mosher said every mission or training opportunity helps to keep the unit working as a team.
"We all never want it to happen, of course, but we're prepared mentally and physically to go in and get that pilot," he said.
Air Force Print News WASHINGTON DC The way Air Force wings are organized will undergo major changes beginning Oct. 1. Those changes include creation of a new maintenance group, restructuring support groups and reducing the taskings of operations groups.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper directed April 22 that all Air Force active-duty, Reserve and Air National Guard wings adopt the new standard wing structure to enhance the service's warfighting capabilities.
"After careful deliberations with major commands, we reached a decision on a new wing organizational structure that will standardize operations across the Air Force and enhance our expeditionary capabilities," Jumper said. The five major changes involved in the standard wing concept include:
"My vision is that the groups in our wings will focus on their essential core capabilities," Jumper said.
"Operation of air and space weapons systems is a core competency of the U.S. Air Force," Jumper said. "Operations group activities focus on planning and executing air and space power. Commanders of operations groups are charged with leading their units in combat.
"Maintenance of air and space weapons systems is (also) a core competency of the U.S. Air Force, Jumper said. "Aging fleets and years of resource shortfalls require increased attention to the health of our fleets. This requires career maintenance professionals able to develop the same level of skill and proficiency demanded of our operations, logistics and medical professionals.
"Mission support, in the expeditionary, rapid reaction, contingency-based Air Force of today is (another) core competency," he said. "The Air Force will develop a career path for commanders who understand the full scope of home station employment and sustainment, and deployment and sustainment at contingency locations: crisis actions, force protection, unit type code preparation, load planning, contracting actions, bare base and tent city preparation, munitions planning, personnel readiness, etc." Jumper set Sept. 30, 2003, as the target date to achieve full operational capability.
"I fully understand the magnitude of these changes," he said. "The goal is to achieve a more capable Air Force with professionals who understand and are capable of meeting our ever-increasing complex mission."
By Private Dennis Gravelle Guard Times Staff Army National Guard recruits participating in field training with the 2d Battalion, 106th Regional Train ing Institute were welcomed by a soon-to-be familiar sight here at Camp Smith, New York. Some 36 Drill Sergeants from the Army Reserve volunteered their time to assist in the Army National Guard's initiation and familiarization training for the 64 Army National Guard Recruits.
The soldiers deployed to Camp Smith for the second annual Field Training Exercise (FTX) during the first weekend in April 2002. The program for the recruits, known in the state as GRIT, stands for Guard Recruits in Training. It is designed to challenge and assist these new soldiers on the fundamentals of Army military training.
"We embrace these new soldiers into military culture by exposing them to all that is good and positive about the Army and the Army National Guard," said Lt. Col. Gary Machina, commander of the recruit training battalion. "We show them our history, our traditions and most importantly, our military values."
Since the inception of the GRIT program a year and a half ago, its success has far out-weighed expectations, according to Sgt. John Leavitt, also with the GRIT program. Over the past year "recruits have sent letters to me stating that this program really works and the payoff is immense," said Leavitt. The GRIT program "gives recruits an even greater advantage over other soldiers who have not had this type of training."
Recruits appeared nervous but excited as Drill Sergeants train them in basic military fundamentals. Drill and ceremony, physical fitness, weigh-ins and soldiering skills are routine training events covered at the FTX.
One soldiering skill is performing land navigation. Sgt. Hugo Andres Jimenez-Uribe, the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the land navigation training course stated all soldiers received a one hour classroom presentation and then another one hour practical training exercise in the woods to practice the skills they have learned. Jimenez-Uribe volunteers his time to the GRIT program because "it gives me an opportunity to scrape the rust off the bolts. Volunteering helps you gain knowledge and become efficient at what you do," he stated.
As Private Tatiana Cherniawsky finished the land navigation course she was very excited. "This is the most fun part of the day," she said. The first day of the FTX was not that appealing for her. Like the other Army recruits, she arrived on a bus and immediately started getting yelled at by the Drill Sergeants. "I got real nervous and started crying," she said, but did not quit and stayed with the exercise through the weekend. "If I can survive this, I can survive Basic training," she said. Cherniawsky joined the Army National Guard because of a past trip to West Point and because her grandfather served in the Army. She leaves for Basic training on July 2, 2002.
One recruit praised by the staff for his dedication and commitment to the GRIT program was Private Ozan Keskin. Keskin was overseas visiting his sick mother in Turkey and called his GRIT NCOIC, Sergeant First Class Joseph Modica immediately upon his return home. He wanted to let him know that he was ready to attend the FTX. Modica praised Keskin for his determination and motivation. "I feel I will have no problem with Basic Training mentally and I am ready to go," Keskin said. He decided to join the Army National Guard right after the attack on the World Trade Center. He stated that "the terrorist attacks changed me; it inspired me to sign up."
Several GRIT recruits were getting ready to get their meals ready to eat (MRE's) before heading out to the rifle range. Private Lineza Hassim, 17, standing 5 feet tall and very soft spoken listens intently to her DI. Hassim stated " I joined the Army to get help with college tuition and to get some discipline. I believe this program will help me with Bacic training because it shows me what to expect in the Army."
Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem American Forces Press Service NEW YORK CITY Members of the 2nd Weapons of Mass Destruc tion Civil Support Team have spent a lot of time at Yankee Stadium, but they haven't had any chances to relax and take in a ball game.
Eighteen of the 22 team members were at the stadium April 5 to react to any chemical, biological or nuclear threat that might have turned up during the Yankees' home opener.
The team brings unique capabilities to local first responders, and they have been called at least 38 times since Sept. 11 to provide services similar to what they did April 5. They've worked with New York City emergency management agencies to ensure public safety at such events as the New York City marathon, and the American League playoff and World Series games at Yankee Stadium last year.
President Clinton chartered the first 10 Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams in 1998. The joint teams, comprised of full-time Army and Air National Guard members, are spread around the country to react to suspected nuclear, biological or chemical incidents within their assigned Federal Emergency Management Agency regions.
Today, 27 certified WMD-CST teams are spotted around the country. The New York team responds to incidents in FEMA Region 2, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Their mission is to identify substances, assess consequences and advise the civilian first responders on appropriate measures. They also facilitate requests for additional federal and state assets if necessary. When on a mission, the team has the capability to maintain secure communications with National Guard Bureau, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the New York State National Guard headquarters.
April 5 was quiet. Team members took air samples before and after the game to test for chemical and biological substances, but weren't called to react to any specific event. Not so during the World Series, the team's senior NCO said.
"Last year during the World Series we responded a lot," Army National Guard Master Sgt. Michael Hartzel said. "People were so worried about the anthrax scare that any white powder, anything suspicious in the stadium we were called to check out."
Using sophisticated equipment and a mobile analytical laboratory, team members can take solid, liquid or air samples and test them for chemical or biological substances. They can also do rapid DNA sampling and chemical analysis to identify potential toxic substances.
However, the team's acting commander explained, speed can hurt when you're dealing with hazardous materials. "You need to be deliberate and methodical. There's no room for error," Army National Guard Maj. Kaarlo Hietala said. "That's hard for military and first responders. We usually want to rush in and do something."
Missions like this help maintain relationships the team members have built with local civilian emergency management organizations. Hietala said he and his team became close to several members of the New York City Police Department Emergency Services Unit during a New York state fire academy hazardous materials class before the team was certified. That relationship allowed the team to be more effective in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
The 2nd CST was one of the first units to conduct air sampling at the World Trade Center wreckage Sept. 11. They were setting up a demonstration that morning at a veterans hospital near their home base in Scotia, N.Y., when they got a call alerting them to events in the city. "Within 62 minutes after the first plane hit, we were en route to New York City," Hartzel said.
Hietala wasn't with the team that morning. He and the team's supply sergeant were attending a conference in Illinois when they heard the news. Unable to fly because the airports were closed, they rented a car and drove straight to New York City. They caught up with the rest of the team at about 2 a.m. Sept. 12.
"Even knowing what the Trade Center looked like before, it was such a mess I had a hard time even figuring out where I was," Hietala said. "There was stuff everywhere. People were everywhere."
They didn't wait long before those relationships forged with local first responders paid off.
"Some of the officers we'd worked with previously wanted us to go back down," Hietala said. "We went back down and assisted them with air monitoring. The big concern was, 'What are we breathing right now?'"
The sheer volume of emergency responders made space a premium at Ground Zero. But the New York Police Department Emergency Services Unit Hazardous Materials section had saved a patch for the 2nd to set up their vehicles in front of a nearby high school used as a staging area.
"It became clear to me what we brought to the table because the first thing they said was, 'We've been waiting for you,'" Hietala said. "There was no place to park down there, yet they had all this room waiting for us."
NYPD Detective David Kayen agreed. Kayen is a hazardous materials specialist with the NYPD Emergency Services Unit. He and Hietala coordinated air sampling at Yankee Stadium April 5, and they had worked closely in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
"We were saturated. We were so overwhelmed with what we were doing," Kayen said of the days immediately following Sept. 11. Five percent of the Emergency Services Unit was lost when the towers collapsed, he said.
He, too, put a lot of stock in working with people he trusted. "When Sept. 11 happened, we'd had a working relationship with these guys that went back a year and a half," Kayen said. "It was touching base with a friend to help us out."
He explained that NYPD had more than 400 hazmat technicians, but no mobile labs at the time. "They became an indispensable resource," he said of Hietala's team. The 2nd's communications capabilities soon proved invaluable as well. Hietala said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had lost their secure communications equipment when the towers collapsed. They quickly began using the team's Unified Command Suite, a $1.2 million mobile communications center.
Team members also later provided hazmat support to search and rescue teams in the towers' wreckage. Hietala and Hartzel both said they believe their team is a valuable resource because of the expertise and specialization they bring.
"We have amazing capabilities here in New York City, and I still think they're a tremendous asset," he said. "So what do you think the poor fire chief in some place like Ithaca thinks of them?"
By Major David C. Andersen United States Marines Corps NEW YORK CITY Pain shot through my back in the late night hours of March 6, 2002 from the weight of the stretcher, but Marines always complete their mission. With Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Curtin, 45, United States Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR), retired, New York Naval Militia and New York Police Department, in my left hand and his wife and daughter only feet in front of me, my sense of duty led the way as it has for many men better than I for hundreds of years.As we picked up the Sergeant Major, I thought back to
only hours ago when my U.S. Marine Corps Public Affairs Office in Midtown-Manhattan received the call that we stood ready for since September 11. In fact, I received four calls in about three minutes from numerous Emergency Services Unit men - better known as "E-MEN" throughout the famed New York City Police Department. The messages were all the same, "Dave, get down here - we found the Sergeant Major."
We proceeded down off of a small plateau on the North side of the site, which probably would have put us in sub-level five (five stories underground) of Tower One. My mind wandered to Sergeant Major's wife Helga, also a former Marine, and his three daughters Jennifer, 15; Heather, 14; and Erika, 12. The native of Rocky Point, N.Y. had become a folk hero in the NYPD as he ran his Truck like a platoon - a platoon of Marines. "TRUCK-2" is located on 125th Street in Harlem and upon entering one might think they have entered a company office at Camp Lejeune or a barracks at Camp Schwab as proud men go about their business with Marine Corps haircuts and squared-away uniforms - Sgt. Maj. Curtin had obviously been here.
Leveling out at about sub-level seven in a pool of soupy-mud heading south toward the exit-ramp, I glanced back over my shoulder and saw the Ground Zero flag that I grabbed out of our office on the way downtown. It had been signed by the victim's families months prior and we were able to get it to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit on the USS Bataan who then took it ashore to fly it in the face of terrorism over the Kandahar Airport in Afghanistan. Who gave it to us? EMen that Curtin knew. Curtin had loved the American Flag, his family had told me, and it was fitting that he lay next to me covered in the flag that he raised in Kuwait City a decade ago. That flag had been waiting for him in a box in the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) Headquarters that I noticed on occasion marked "THIS FLAG IS FOR SGT. MIKE CURTIN ONLY!!!!!!!!" And of course to make it complete - the Marine Corps colors were also present and were carried by two of his TRUCK-2 E-MEN.
As we started up the bridge, the voice of what had to be a former Marine rang out throughout the 16-acre complex "present, arms!" The exit-ramp was lined with hundreds of proud members of the NYPD, ESU, PAPD, FDNY and Steel Workers with the night lit up by thousands of flashing emergency-vehicle lights. As we pushed forward keeping step with former Marine and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, I thought of the infamous story that made the Sergeant Major a Marine Corps folk hero. It was not the story of his rescue efforts at the first Trade Tower's bombing in 1993, but rather the story of him spotting the red stripe of Capt. Randolph L. Guzman's, USMC, dress-blue trousers in the rubble of the Oklahoma City bombing. He located a group of former Marines and then took approximately seven hours to pull him out as he said, "we never leave our brothers behind." He managed to free the "Skipper" who was probably watching this procession waiting to thank Mike one day. They carried him out of the federal building in Oklahoma City draped in an American flag with his dress blue trousers sticking out with his shined shoes pointing toward heaven's gates. All was quiet. No talking. No machinery. Only the sound of a million thoughts - much like I could hear at this very moment heading out of the hole.
As we approached the top, I noticed that an ESU Truck was waiting for him - his truck...TRUCK-2. We hoisted the Sergeant Major up high - hands reaching with fingertips out stretched - and I wondered if anyone shared my thoughts at that very moment. It was reminiscent of the out stretched fingers of another famous group of Marines years ago on a small island in the South Pacific. Finally, with one last adjustment needed to secure the stretcher, a body was needed to jump up and climb to the top. Who scrambled to the top of the huge truck? Who else - Helga, his wife. In front of hundreds of tough cops - she made the last adjustment to take care of her husband much like I imagine he did for her for many years. That simple act was breath-taking - an act that the Sergeant Major represented for years - selflessly helping other people and NOT wanting to be recognized for it.
We then headed North on the FDR Drive. The motorcade was long and bright as we approached one o'clock in the morning.. All traffic was stopped and civilians stood outside their halted cars lining the roads with hands over hearts and hats off. Motorcycle cops at every intersection had salutes at the ready. At the morgue, my Gunny and I folded the flag under the watch of many eyes. Suddenly, TRUCK-2 members and other E-MEN stepped forward to aid us. We presented the colors to Helga and then took care of the Sergeant Major.
My ride home was long. Covered in mud that I never wanted to wash off. I hoped and prayed that we did the Curtin family proud as well as our nation. I think the Sergeant Major would have been proud. I also thought that although my Marines and I have seen the pile shrink on a daily basis - it is still there. It will always be there. The billions of tears that have fallen on this earth will never be washed away and we cannot forget. The mangled iron, smell and feeling is still lurking in that hole and I feel it everyday - you just cannot see, hear or smell it on the television.
I shed a tear coming out of "the pit" that night as I held my head high. I also felt like there were a band of brothers waiting at the top all dressed in our Corps' uniforms from day's gone bye. Then it really hit home that the bridge was symbolic - it was a long steep trek up seven stories, but Sergeant Major Curtin made it out of that hell-hole led by his wife, carried by the entire Corps, and the rest of his country that he loved so much.
Guard Times Staff SYRACUSE The 27th Infantry Brigade hosted more than fifty soldiers to a Warrant Officer Career Day at the Thompson Road Armory in Syracuse on March 2, 2002.
The career day was open to warrant officers and enlisted soldiers from all commands. Col. Robert Schnurr, 27th Brigade Commander, welcomed the attendees and provided his vision concerning the importance of warrant officer service.
Chief Warrant Officer Jon Wharton, the Army National Guard's Command Chief Warrant Officer, provided several outstanding briefings for both on-board warrant officers and prospective enlisted soldiers. Wharton, during his Professional Development brief, emphasized the fact that today's warrant officer must be a technical expert and professional leader leads by example providing advice and counsel to enlisted, warrant, and commissioned officers. He stated that today's warrant officer must be proactive in unit activities, engaged in physical training, joint professional organizations, always displaying exemplary conduct, attitude and military appearance.
Wharton also conducted a National Guard Bureau overview of the Army National Guard response to the terrorist attacks. He emphasized the challenge of balancing mission accomplishment versus family care in view of the large number of deployments.
He noted that although aviation warrant officer strength is over 92% nationally, technical warrant officer fill is only at 70%. It is because of this situation that warrant officer recruiting has become critical to the Army National Guard. National Guard Bureau has increased emphasis within its recruiting branch on warrant officer recruiting. There is an effort to encourage all states to have a dedicated warrant officer recruiter to address the shortages.
Chief Warrant Officer Charles Amoroso, State Command Chief Warrant Officer, provided a 27th Brigade warrant officer duty position overview showing current authorizations versus future authorizations as a result of the upcoming conversion of the brigade to combat, combat support and combat service support units. New units and positions scheduled to be implemented from 2004 through 2009 were provided,explaining that these positions could be filled two years earlier due to special authorization under Army Division Redesign Study (ADRS) rules.
Amoroso also provided a Warrant Officer Updated providing information for each warrant officer concerning current and future changes in warrant officer management. This was followed by a comprehensive overview of Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) by Warrant Officer Stacey Stanfa, a recent graduate. Amoroso then briefed on the application procedures providing several comprehensive handouts. An opportunity was then offered for individual interviews with interested enlisted soldiers and warrant officers with selected questions or concerns.
The career day concluded with individual records reviews by Master Sgt. Tracey Mangels and Sgt. Todd Dreany, of the Administrative Branch from the state headquarters.
The event was very successful with favorable comments by all participants. Two additional Career Days are expected to be sponsored by the 42d Infantry Division and the 53rd Troop Command at dates to be announced. For additional information concerning a warrant officer career, view the warrant officer web page on the DMNA web site, or call Chief Warrant Officer Amoroso at 518-786-4936/ 4625/4660.
By Chief Warrant Officer Ron Sardanopoli HQ, 53rd Troop Command VALHALLA The 53rd Troop Command logistics community was tested more in this past year than it has been in the history of the command. The year 2001 has been extremely challenging to all of the enlisted, warrant officers, and officers that work in the logistics career field.
The demanding mission of our soldiers at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana was followed by a more challenging task to plan, prepare and execute logistics support in response to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. When the 53rd Troop Command provided the initial command and control to the New York National Guard's response in New York City, there was significant feedback from our logistics community that gave us a direction to improve and prepare ourselves better for a major disaster.
One of the feedback concerns that I'm going to expand upon is the need for more qualified technical logistics 910A - Ammunition Technician, 914A - Allied Trades Technician, 915A - Unit Maintenance Technician, 918B - Electronic System Maintenance Technician, 918B - TMDE Maintenance Support Technician, 919A - Engineer Equipment Repair Technician, 920A - Property Accounting Technician, 920B - Supply Systems Technician, 922A - Food Service Technician.
Warrant Officers to fill current vacancy positions in the 53rd Troop Command and the New York Army National Guard.
There is currently a major shortage of qualified warrant officers in our armed forces. In the state of New York there is currently over seventy Warrant Officer vacancies. By the year 2004, with the NYARNG force structure transforming to a more robust combat support and combat service support organization, the need for warrant officers will increase, especially the 915A Unit Maintenance Technician (Light), which is a critical shortage MOS nation wide.
Lets take a look at some of the Warrant Officer Corps logistical career fields available to enlisted personnel (sorted by Warrant Officer Military Occupation Skill (WMOS) and Description). 151A - Aviation Maintenance Technician, 210A - Utilities Operation and Maintenance Technician, The following is a list of enlisted feeder MOS's needed before an enlisted soldier can be considered for a 915A Unit Maintenance Officer (Light).
Enlisted Feeder MOS career fields for application to the WMOS 915A Unit Maint.Tech (Light):
Recently, I took the time to visit the Combined Support Maintenance Shop - CSMSA at Camp Smith. I spoke with soldiers within the 53rd Troop Command and Headquarters Detachment, State Area Command currently holding 915A Unit Maintenance Technician positions, and enlisted soldiers holding feeder occupation specialties for the 915A Unit Maintenance Technician Warrant Officer WMOS. They all believed that an immediate fix to address current and future shortages in the warrant officer field is to reinstate the directo commissioning program for the Warrant Officer Corps.
For those enlisted soldiers interested in becoming a Warrant Officer, here are some basic requirements as determined by the Army National Guard. You must be between ages 18 and 46. You must attain a score of 110 or above on the General Aptitude Area test and be a high school graduate or pass the General Education Development test (GED). You must be a US citizen by birth or naturalization,. You must be able to pass all events on the Army Physical Fitness Test (No Profiles allowed). You must be able meet certain mandatory technical qualifications for your specific MOS and be able to meet certain medical, security, and licensing requirements (depending on your specific MOS).
For more information about the Warrant officer program go to http://dmna.ny.gov/arng/wopm. The site provides a history of the Warrant Officer Corps and provides current vacancies for Warrant Officers in the 53rd Troop Command and the entire New York Army National Guard.
Guard Times Staff ALEXANDRIA BAY U.S. Customs inspectors and National Guardsmen working together at the Alexandria Bay, New York Port of Entry seized 1,275 pounds of hydro ponic marijuana and 4,565 tablets of MDMA (Ecstasy), hidden in a tractor-trailer entering the United States from Canada. Three people, all French- Canadians, were arrested Thursday, March 7, 2002.
During an examination of a 2000 Eagle tractor-trailer, which was hauling a shipment of peat moss to South Carolina, U.S. Customs inspectors, and a National Guardsman, on hand to assist in cargo inspections, found the packages of marijuana and Ecstasy co-mingled with the load of peat moss. The seized ecstasy could bring an estimated $125,000 profit, and the street value of the marijuana is approximately $3.2 million.
The border inspections include use of the New York National Guard's $1.5 million VACIS (Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System). The system is manned and operated by soldiers from the National Guard's CounterDrug Program.
"It's like an MRI for trucks," said Sgt. Edward Miller, from Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 127th Armor and a twelve-year veteran of service with the CounterDrug program. A computer monitor shows the truck x-rays. The density of the image then helps the Guard members determine what is inside. Soldiers download and save information from every truck they scan. Armed with this information, the US Customs office can review every truck passing through the border crossing.
The driver and two other individuals were arrested on Federal charges of importation and possession with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Story and photos by Major. Richard Goldenberg Guard Times Staff NEW YORK CITY Members of the New York National Guard joined the crew of the CBS television show, "Late Night with David Letterman" on March 28th to announce Dave's "Top Ten List" of National Guard responsibilities. Letterman hosted the soldiers and airmen for a day at the CBS' Ed Sullivan Theater in mid-town Manhattan.
The invitation from CBS for the Air and Army National Guard members was passed earlier in the week from the state headquarters directly to the Air Wings and Army Major Commands to select soldiers and airmen for the program. National Guard members represented a wide variety of ranks, duties and experiences, ranging from the state active duty response to the World Trade Center attacks to federal duty for both Operation Noble Eagle here in New York and Enduring Freedom in Central Asia.
After introductions with the crew and initial readings and assignment of the evening's "Top Ten," the participants had a chance to rehearse on stage and relax for the television cameras.
With less than an hour before taping the evening show, the soldiers and airmen stopped by the make-up room where the show's guest, actor/comedian Robin Williams, stopped in to say hello, sign autographs, and congratulate the Guard members for their efforts since 9/11.
The ten appearing members of the National Guard for the show and their respective responsibilities of the National Guard included:
10. Staff Sgt. Catherine Knoebel from the 106th Air Rescue Wing's Mission Support Squadron delivered "Deploy to wherever American forces are needed, preferably somewhere like Cancun."
9. Organizing peacekeeping efforts at all Clinton family gatherings" was provided by Senior Airman Justin Rubin, from the 102d Rescue Squadron, also from Westhampton Beach.
8. Spec. Raymond Ramirez of B Company, 1st Battalion, 105th Infantry, providing security at the New York City airports gave responsibility number eight, "When all you lazy people return un-rewound Blockbuster videos, who do you think rewinds them?"
7. "We make sure your state doesn't get pushed around by the other states," came from Senior Airman Jennifer Rolon from the 105th Airlift Wing's Maintenance Squadron.
6. Spec. Jennifer Durkin of the 1st Battalion, 156th Field Artillery Regiment provided "Keeping an eye on that CBS talking baby" as responsibility number six.
5. Spec. David Lee from A Company, 342nd Forward Support Battalion, delivered "Reading lame comedy lists on second-rate late-night talk shows." Lee is on State Active Duty at the Midtown Tunnel in Manhattan.
4. "24-hour security around Derek Jeeter's locker," from Senior Airman Laurie Santangelo of the 106th Air Rescue Wing's Logistics Squadron.
3. "We guard the nation you know, as in the National Guard," by Tech. Sgt. Todd Lobraico of the 105th Air Lift Wing's Security Forces Squadron. Lobraico recently returned from mission support to Operation Enduring Freedom in Pakistan.
2. "Looking damn good in uniform," by Spec. Godfrey Leigh from the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry. Leigh is performing security operations for Operation Trade Center on State Active Duty at the Midtown Tunnel.And the number one responsibility of the National Guard,
1. "Protecting our greatest national treasure, Oprah," from Sgt. Keith Meyers of the 1st Battalion, 101 Cavalry. Sgt. Meyers volunteered to continue his State Active Duty support in New York City's security operations.
After the taping of the show, members of the Guard forwarded to David Letterman a collection of unit shirts, hats, and distinctive unit coins from both the Army and Air National Guard. Letterman was so impressed by the gesture that the staff presented their own unique Late Night coins, a momento of their visit to the show from David Letterman.
"These people have been called up and are doing a great job," Letterman said to his national audience. "What a fine looking group of folks. My thanks to them for being here and also for the great work they're doing everywhere."
Guard Times Staff LATHAM Officers preparing to go before the Department of the Army mandatory selection boards this year should take note: the Office of Personnel Management is available to help you, but there is a 90-day deadline to provide updates to your records.
While the Army Personnel Center maintains a deadline for packet submissions some 60 days before an officer's promotion selection board, the Division of Military and Naval Affairs usually tacks on an additional 30 days of preparation for officers' record submissions.
Here's a review of some upcoming officer boards: Officers to be considered for promotion to lieutenant colonel with dates of rank prior to February 28, 1997 will be selected by a board that convenes from September 3 through October 4 this year. The suspense to review and update individual files is June 5, 2002 in order to meet the Army's deadline of 6 July to prepare all officer records for the promotion board.
Similarly, chaplain officers eligible for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel with dates of rank of February 28, 1997 or 1999 respectively, must review their records with DMNA prior to July 22 to meet the deadline to the Department of the Army of 22 August.
First Lieutenants considered for promotion to Captain will convene a selection board on November 4, 2002. Officers with a date of rank prior to July 1, 1999 should update and review their records prior to August first. Some considerations for officers as they prepare their records for promotion selection boards are recent officer evaluation reports (OERs), military and civil education certifications, significant awards, passing Army Physical Fitness scores, and a current Department of the Army photograph. Officers should review the documents in their microfiche files at Personnel Command.
Eligible officers will receive mailings from the Division of Military and Naval Affairs Office of Personnel Management. For more information, contact Lt. Col. Catherine Shrader or Capt. Kathryn Poynton at (518) 786-4573 or 4872.
By Lt. Col. Jacqueline L. Russell HQ, 53rd Troop Command VALHALLA On April 27, 2002, the personnel (G1) section, 53rd troop command, with assistance from the state headquarters office of military personnel, conducted an officer's workshop for the command's officers in downstate New York.
In total, over thirty officers attended the one-day seminar.
The office of personnel management in Latham has been unable to conduct their officer's workshop this year due to a lack of full-time personnel. During an internal records screening, the Troop Command headquarters found many officer record briefs (ORBs) and New York Army National Guard Form 11s (the Guard individual data and preferences for geographic areas where an officer is willing to take a lateral assignment or promotion) were outdated. As a result, some officers are not appearing on appropriate assignment lists or do not have accurate personal information appearing before various selection boards for promotions or commands.
To combat this, all attending officers at the workshop were able to update their record briefs (since they were furnished with a copy a month ahead of time) and revise their Form 11s for areas of the state they would prefer for assignment. In addition, Lt. Col. Cathy Shrader from the Office of Personnel Management provided updated information for current issues facing the officer corps.
Maj. A.J. Ball, from the Officer Strength Management Team, gave an overview on different educational avenues an officer use in pursuing a baccalaureate degree.
All attendees were extremely happy to have the opportunity to update their records and ask questions concerning their military careers. The 53rd Troop Command expects to repeat the success of the oneday workshop for company grade officers living in upstate New York in the near future.
Guard Times Staff WASHINGTON, DC While the extensive participation of Guard and Reserve soldiers, airmen, sailors and Ma rines comes as no surprise to the members of the New York National Guard, a recent Pentagon Press Briefing revealed the surprise of many journalists that Guard members were participating directly in actions in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Spokespersons responding to media questions at the April 24 briefing were The Honorable Victoria Clarke, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs [ASD (PA)], and Air Force Brig. Gen. John W. Rosa, Jr., Deputy Director for Current Operations, Operations Directorate, the Joint Staff.
The two were questioned about assumptions that Air National Guard units were conducting only homeland defense missions or merely back-fillers for active Air Force deployments to the combat theater. Brig. Gen. Rosa quickly noted that "Our National Guard folks and our Reserve folks are a key, critical part to our total force, in all of our militaries. Those folks in the Air National Guard take the same check rides at the same standards, are trained the same way. If you go to the average National Guard unit - Air National Guard unit - you'll find highly experienced aviators, many of 'em professional airline pilots."
Clarke added, "I would just pile onto that: Their participation in this has been extraordinary. I think we've got close to 80,000 Guard and Reserve involved right now. Air Guard pilots have done some 20,000 sorties since September 11th. When we were out at Scott and Ft. Lewis last week, everywhere we went, the commanders and the people with whom the secretary meeting (sic) were emphasizing the importance of the role of the Guard and Reserve."
Rosa also highlighted the role of the Air Guard in supporting Air Expeditionary Forces as well. "It's not since 9/11 that the Guard and Reserve have been critical. Since we've been flying and patrolling the no-fly zones in the North and the South, the Guard and Reserve have been critical participants for the last 10 years," he said.