CORTLANDT MANOR, Camp Smith Training Site, NY – The New York Guard, the state’s volunteer state defense force, completed their week-long annual training at Camp Smith Training Site, which was held from Au-gust 5-11. During the week-long training, 35 soldiers who were new to the New York Guard completed their (IET) initial entry training program, learning basic soldier skills such as Drill and Ceremony, basic first aid, Map orientation and wear and appearance of the New York Guard Uniform.
In addition, 20 new appointed officers completed their in-residence portion of their Basic Officer course, and 40 Junior NCO’s completed their Professional Development Leaders course (PDLC), which prepares them for the role as future NCO’s in the New York Guard, and over 40 Soldiers assigned in the New York Guard Engineer unit were involved in construction projects throughout Camp Smith.
After Annual training, a graduation ceremony was held, the Soldiers who completed IET, BOC, and PLDC were presented a certification of completion by the New York Guard Acting Commander, Colonel David Warager.
This year also marked the 100th Anniversary of the New York Guard, which was established August 3rd, 1917, when the 24,000 members of the New York National Guard were mobilized to fight in France in 1917, the state created the New York Guard as a state militia to replace the National Guard. National Guard Soldiers had been guarding railroad bridges, the New York City water system, and the Erie Canal to prevent sabotage by enemy agents and state officials want to replace that force. Eventually there were 10,000 New York Guard members across this state with about 2000 serving on active duty as a security force.
The Adjutant General of New York, Major General Anthony German Congratulates the New York Guard after the unveiling of New York Guard Centennial Celebration plaque held during the New York Guard’s annual training in August 2017 (Below)
At the beginning of the training week, on August 5th, 2017 the New York Guard held a special centennial dinner celebrating 100 Years of Service to the State by the New York Guard. The speaker for the evening was Brigadier General G Michel Natali, Commanding General, NYARNG 53rd Troop Command, who also attended the event with COL Isabel Smith, Chief of Staff, 53rd Troop Command, & CSM Corey K Cush, 53rd Troop Command CSM. BG Natali and his staff were presented with a Commemorative New York Guard challenge coin and Commemorative mug, which celebrates the establishment of the New York Guard 100 years ago, by the New York Guard Acting Commander David Warager.
As part of the New York Guard Centennial Celebration, on August 9th, 2017 the 300 Soldiers attending Annual training along with former commanders of the New York Guard and invited guests celebrated the 100th anniversary of the New York Guard with a Commemorative Plaque unveiling ceremony that commemorated and celebrated the establishment of the New York Guard 100 years ago, on August 3rd, 1917. The Commemorative plaque was unveiled by Major General Anthony P. German, the Adjutant General for the State of New York, and Colonel David Warager, who was also presented a Citation Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the New York Guard from the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.
(Below) New York Guard in formation during the unveiling of plaque commemorating their Centennial Celebration during their Annual training in August 2017 at Camp Smith Training Site. Photo by Cpt Mark Getman- NYG, PAO
During the unveiling ceremony the Adjutant General, MG German remarked “I would like to congratulate you on behalf of the Governor on your celebration of 100 Years of Service to the State of New York. Soldiers of the New York Guard you are the epitome of what volunteering is about. You have answered the call to your State, when called upon. Since 1917, New York Soldiers have served to protect the State and its Citizens, with 9/11, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and most recently this summer assisting with filling sand bags and providing assistance to the National Guard, where needed with the flooding upstate in Lake Ontario. I appreciate all you do for New York State and its Citizens.”
In addition, the New York Guard was also presented with a framed picture of the New York Guard from 1917, honoring their service since 1917 to the State, and a Proclamation by the New York Senate Honoring the New York Guard’s 100th Anniversary presented by Jared Manfredi, on behalf of NY State Senator Terrence Murphy, 40th Senate District where Camp Smith Training Site is located. At the end of the ceremony, New York Guard Soldiers posed along with New York Guard senior leaders with the Commemorative plaque to commemorate this historic event, before they re-turned to their annual training.
Colonel Warager, Acting Commander of the New York Guard stated during his remarks, “When we were established at the outbreak of WWI, it was manned then, as it is today, with a mix of soldiers from across New York State and with both veterans who brought their military experience and many soldiers new to the military. Our mission then was to protect the Aqueduct supplying fresh water to NYC and the Erie Canal from Troy to Buffalo. In the last 20 years, we have been called to duty to support missions including:
- The September 11th attacks, Hurricane Irene, in 2011, Super Storm Sandy in 2012, the Buffalo Blizzard of 2014,
- the Anti-Terrorism Surge of last fall and Operation Lake Ontario from May to August of this year.
Each time we have answered the call to serve when called out by the Governor in time of need. I want to particularly note and thank the NYG soldiers who served on Operation Lake Ontario. This mission was almost three months long. It was not a “sexy” mission, it was filling and distributing sandbags. It also did not have much press coverage beyond the immediate affected area. There was more press coverage of wild fires out west than the historical flooding that was happening right in north-western NY State.
New York Guard Acting Commander, Colonel David Warager addresses the New York Guard and guest during the New York Guard Centennial Celebration, held during the New York Guard annual training on August 9th, 2017.
But when the call went out the NYG stepped up. We met all our commitments to DMNA. Our soldiers were outstanding in their performance. The NYG is the true citizen soldier, month after month, year after year we train to prepare to be called to serve, without pay and in many instances, spending money out of our own pocket to participate.
We are called by the opportunity to serve and help our neighbors and to serve side by side during an activation with our brethren in the Army Guard and Air Guard and Naval Militia. As we move into our second century we will be focused on improving our training and devoting more re-sources to support our training efforts. We will also continue our recruiting efforts to sustain the force to be able to perform our current mission and any new missions that are assigned. Thank you, all my fellow soldiers in the NYG. Without you, there is no NYG.”
New York Guard soldiers (Below) in the Professional Leaders Development Course (PLDC), held during the New York Guard Annual training from August 5-11 2017 practice land orientation as part of their week long course, held at Camp Smith Training Site.
During World War II the New York Guard was created again and in the 1950s the New York Guard was established as a permanent force. The New York Guard is a force of 500 uniformed volunteers, organized as a military unit, who augment the New York National Guard during state emergencies. They provide administrative and logistics sup-port to the National Guard. Unlike members of the New York National Guard, New York Guard members do not have a federal military role and do not deploy outside the state. New York Guard members usually train in a volunteer status and are only paid when they are placed on state duty during emergencies. Many members of the New York Guard are retired members of the National Guard and Reserve forces, who bring a wealth of experience to the force.
Additional Images from the New York Guard’s annual training and Centennial celebrations can be found at the following links:
By: Cpt Mark Getman Photos by: Cpt Mark Getman, and SPC Chuck Garelick,