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FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011

New York National Guard Members Honored at Black History Month Event

Annual State Observance Honors African-American Military Men and Women

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULE TO FEB 23. ALBANY, NY (01/31/2011)-- The contributions of the New York National Guard’s African-American service members will be honored Tuesday, Feb.1 at 5:30 p.m. during a Black History Month Observance at the New York State Museum. The program, "An African-American Tribute to Our Troops and Families" will salute: •New York Army National Guard Sgt. Deon Taylor, a New York City police officer in civilian life who was killed in action in Afghanistan in October 2008; •Retired Army National Guard Brigadier General Rosetta , the first female general officer in the New York National Guard; •Col. Stephanie Dawson, an assistant director of operations for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, commander of the 369th Sustainment Bde and the first female brigade commander in the New York Army National Guard; •Command Chief Master Sgt. Hardy Pierce, the top enlisted Airmen in the 6,000 member New York Air National Guard, the largest Air National Guard in the Nation. The event, the state’s Black History Month Observance, is sponsored by the Office of General Services, the New York State Police, the New York State Education Department, the New York State Department of Correctional Services, the New York State Thruway Authority and Price Chopper, as well as the New York State Museum. The New York Army National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides services to deploying, deployed and returning Soldiers and their families, is also being recognized at the event. Approximately 18 percent of the New York Army National Guard’s 10,500 members are African-American. "Our National Guard is like our state: a mix of diverse, incredibly talented men and women. We in the National Guard are proud that the distinguished service of our members, and our commitment to care for our deploying Soldiers and their families are being recognized," said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York. Murphy, who will be out of the state visiting New York National Guard Airmen deployed in Antarctica, will be represented at the event by Brig. Gen. Renwick Payne, the Director of Joint Operations for the New York National Guard. Background: Sgt. Deon Taylor: Sgt. Deon Taylor, 30, died on October 22 in Bela Beluk, Farah Province, Afghanistan after his armored humvee struck an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces.Taylor, who joined the New York Army National Guard in 1997, was a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Syracuse. The 27th Brigade Combat Team is serving as the headquarters for Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, an 8,000- member international force responsible for training the Afghan National Army and police. Taylor was assigned to Afghan Regional Security Integration Command South. Prior assignment with the 27th Brigade, Taylor was a Fire Control Systems Specialist belonging to the New York Army National Guard’s Battery B, 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery, based in the Bronx. In civilian life he was a member of the New York Police Department assigned to the narcotics division. Taylor , a resident of the Bronx, is survived by his father and mother, who both live in the Bronx. He is also survived by a son who lives in Watervliet, Albany County, with his mother, Taylor’s ex-wife.He was awarded the Bronze Star, posthumously. Brig. Gen. ( New York State Major General ) Rosetta Burke: Burke joined the Army in 1962, serving in the Army Reserve and then joining the New York Army National Guard in 1993. She retired in 1997 as a federally recognized Brigadier (one-star) general and a state two-star Major General. She was the first female general officer in the New York Army National Guard. In civilian life she worked for the Department of Correctional Services, retiring as a prison superintendent in 1992 and in 1997 she was named director of Selective Service in New York by Gov. George E. Pataki. Col Stephanie Dawson: Col. Stephanie Dawson is the first female officer in New York National Guard history to command a brigade level unit. Her last assignment was deputy commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade. Prior to that she served as commander of the 27th Rear Operations Center and deployed that unit to Iraq in 2003/2004. Dawson also served as a platoon leader and company commander during her military career. As executive officer for the 369th Corps Support Battalion during the unit’s 9-11 activation, she helped spearhead battalion relief, security, supply, transportation, and other logistics support missions for initial Ground Zero operations. Dawson is a 2007 graduate of the Army War College, as well as the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the Combined Arms and Services School.Her awards include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal. In civilian life she is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and works for the Chief Operating Officer for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey where she is Assistant Director of Operations. Dawson is also a life member of her local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and 369th Historical Society The 369th Sustainment Brigade traces its lineage back to the all-African American 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the Harlem Hellfighters. The members of that regiment earned more French Croix De Guerre medals in World War I than in other united in the American Expeditionary Force. Command Chief Master Sgt. Hardy Pierce: Command Chief Master Sergeant Hardy Pierce, Jr. is Command Chief of the New York Air National Guard. In this capacity he is principal advisor to the chief of staff on matters concerning welfare, effective utilization and progress of 5500 enlisted members of the New York Air National Guard. He is the eighth chief master sergeant appointed to this ultimate non-commissioned officer position in New York State. Chief Pierce was an active duty Air Force enlisted member for four years, serving as an Interior Electrician in Civil Engineering. His duty assignment was from October 29, 1970 through October 26, 1974, at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. After active duty, Chief Pierce returned to Newburgh and continued his civilian job assignment with IBM in East Fishkill, New York. He initially worked at IBM directly out of high school as part of a pilot program for college-bound students for the summer. In August of 1968, he was asked to stay on as a permanent employee. After a year, he took a leave of absence and joined the Air Force. In May of 1975, Chief Pierce joined the 105th Tactical Air Command at White Plains, New York, as a Guardsman. He was assigned to Civil Engineering. His job assignments included: Electrical Power Production, Interior Electric, Sheet Metal Specialist, Environmental Monitoring Programs, Pesticide Management, Unit Career Advisor, and, in 1989, Superintendent of Electric Shops Career Fields. In civilian life he worked as in environmental science and management for IBM. Chief Pierce assumed his present military position in February of 2004. He will retire next month. The Yellow Ribbon Program: The New York Army National Guard Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program was created to help Soldiers and their family members cope with the stress of returning to civilian life after deployment, while also helping Army National Guard units transition from federal mobilization status back to state control. Yellow Ribbon events have proved to be an effective way to help reintegrate troops with families, employers and the community. The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program requires Soldiers to be present for paid assemblies at approximately 30 and 60 days after their return from a combat zone, and invites families to attend as well. The sessions are held in a non-threatening, non-military environment, to provide Soldiers and families a chance to share experiences and talk frankly with each other and counselors about their experiences. More than 3,000 members of the New York Army National Guard have participated in Yellow Ribbon Re-Integration events since 2008 following the return of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.


© NYS DMNA Press Release:New York National Guard Members Honored at Black History Month Event
Page Last Modified: Feb 03, 2011