Press Release Index
CONTACT: Eric Durr, 518-786-4581
FOR RELEASE: Monday, Apr 11, 2011
ON SITE: Warrant Officer Michael DiGeso at (917) 507-8765

Historic Harlem New York Army National Guard Unit Changes Command

Media Advisory

NEW YORK (04/08/2011)-- New York Army National Guard Col. Reginald Sanders takes command of the historic 369th Sustainment Brigade--known as the "Harlem Hell Fighters"-- during a traditional Change-of-Command Ceremony at the Harlem Armory on Sunday, April 10. Members of the media are invited to cover the event. WHO: Col Reginald Sanders, the incoming commander, Col. Stephanie Dawson, the out-going commander, and Brigadier Gen Michael Swezey, commander of the 53rd Troop Command, and the men and women of the 369th Sustainment Brigade. WHAT: The 369th Sustainment Brigade of The New York Army National Guard will change commanders from Col. Stephanie Dawson to Col. Reginald D. Sanders on Sunday in a ceremony marking Sanders’s transition from the commander of the 153rd Troop Command in Buffalo, a position he has held since September 2009, to Brigade Commander. Swezey will officiate. WHEN:1:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 10 2011. WHERE:369th Harlem Armory, 2366 5th Ave., New York, New York 10037 For access to this secure military facility members of the media should contact Warrant Officer Michael DiGeso at (917) 507-8765 or by e-mail at Coverage Opportunities: Imagery of the traditional flag-passing ceremony which marks the Change of Command and interview opportunities with Col. Reginald Sanders, Col. Stephanie Dawson, and Brig. Gen. Michael Swezey. BACKGROUND: The Change of Command: The Change of Command Ceremony dates back to the days in which a military unit’s flag marked its position in the line of battle. The colors were always near the commander, so troops knew where to rally on the battlefield. Today the transfer of the colors marks a change in the unit and givens the soldiers their first opportunity to see and hear their new leader. The change of command ceremony recognizes the accomplishments of the outgoing commander and the Soldiers who served under him. In addition, the ceremony identifies the new commander to the Soldiers, so they can follow him on the field of battle. Col. Reginald Sanders: Colonel Sanders entered the Army as a private after graduating from Western New England College in 1983. In 1985 he attended the Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as an Ordnance Officer in 1985, serving in the 10th Mountain Division until 1989. In 1989 he left active duty and joined the New York Army National Guard’s 145th Maintenance Company, based at Fort Drum. He also began a civilian career as a manager at Chrysler in 1989, retiring as international customer relations manager for Europe in 2008. He currently serves as Superintendent of the National Guard Mobilization, Assistance Training Equipment Site at Fort Drum. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a liaison officer for the 42nd Infantry Division and also served in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He has also served as a logistics training officer for the Albanian Army. His military positions include 27th Brigade Combat Team Rear Detachment Commander, Company Commander, and Brigade Logistics Officer, and commander of the 27th Brigade Special Troops Battalion. His last assignment was as commander of the 153rd Brigade in Buffalo, a New York Army National Guard Colonel-level command. His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He has earned an Associate in Business Administration in 1981, from Holyoke Community College, in Holyoke Massachusetts, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management in 1983, from Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a Master of Business Administration in 1997, from State University of Buffalo. He is currently in the final stage of earning his PhD in the area of Human resources and Leadership at North Central University. He is married to Judi Mckee-Sanders and resides in Sackets Harbor, New York. They have five children and six grandchildren. He has two children who currently serve in the Army National Guard. Col. Stephanie Dawson: Col. Stephanie Dawson was the first female officer in New York National Guard history to command a brigade level unit when she took command of the 369th Sustainment Brigade in November 2008. Prior to that she served as deputy commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade and as commander of the 27th Rear Operations Center. She led that that unit to Iraq in 2003/2004. She has been selected to serve as deputy commander of the 53rd Troop Command, one of two major commands within the New York Army National Guard. 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. 369th Sustainment Brigade: The 369th Sustainment Brigade is one of nine such support units in the Army National Guard. A Sustainment Brigade provides command and control for combat service and combat service support units which enable the Army’s combat teams to fight by providing fuel, ammunition, medical supplies, repair parts, and medical and other services.. A Sustainment Brigade can support from one to 10 brigade combat teams depending on the number of service and support units it controls. The 369th traces its heritage back to the 15th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard, an all African-American unit organized in 1916. In 1917 the regiment was sent to France and renumbered as the 369th Infantry, but because American Army officers maintained segregated combat formations, the Soldiers were initially used for supply duties. The French Army, though, was more than happy to have these Soldiers fight for them and in May1918 the 369th went into the trenches. In tough fighting in France the unit won a regimental Croix de Guerre from the French Army, and 200 individual Croix de Guerre were awarded. The unit also sustained 1,500 casualties and won itself the nickname "Harlem Hell fighters" and the respect of the German opponents and French allies. The 369th saw more frontline service than any other American unit in World War I. In World War II the unit served as the 369th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment, and in the Gulf War of 1991 it served as the 369th Transportation Battalion.
© NYS DMNA Press Release:Historic Harlem New York Army National Guard Unit Changes Command
Page Last Modified: Apr 11, 2011