New York, NY--General Raymond Odierno, the commander of Multi-National Forces- Iraq congratulates New York Army National Guard 1st Sgt. James Meltz following Meltz's receipt of George Van Cleave Military Leadership Award from the USO of Metropolitan New York, at the organizations annual dinner in Manhattan on Dec. 9. Meltz, a New York State Trooper in civilian life, was serving as 1st Sgt. of D Company 108th Infantry in Afghanistan in 2008 when he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor after rescuing Soldiers from a damaged humvee and then joining the company commander in leading the company in repelling a Taliban ambush. This is the second year in a row in which the New York Army National Guard has represented the Army in receiving the prestigious award, which is presented to one member of each armed service annually. In 2008 the award when to 1st Sgt. Troy Steward of Buffalo, a member of 2nd Battalion 101st Cavalry, who also served in Asfghanistan.