ORISKANY, N.Y.-- New York State Commissioner Jerome Hauer, center, from the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services visits with National Guard leaders during a visit to the Homeland Response Force validation training May 1. Nearly 600 service members from the New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico National Guard are conducting a training exercise at the New York State Preparedness Training Center here from April 28 to May 2, 2014. The National Guard members here are a part of the Region II Homeland Response team, which also covers the Virgin Islands. External Evaluators from the Joint Interagency Training and Education Center out of West Virginia trained the HRF for their upcoming validation evaluation. Civilian first responders and specially trained role-players were brought in for the exercise in order to create a more realistic environment.New York Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Patricia Austin.