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New York’s joint forces honor tremendous service, sacrifice of 11 Guardsmen

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

LATHAM, N.Y. – It was a mournful gathering.

At the podium, New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Van Pelt spoke the name of each Soldier three times consecutively, a brass Navy bell clanged, and a white candle was lit upon the final echo of each. When all names were read, 11 flames were aglow — illuminating the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.

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Second Civil Support Team mobilizes in local exercise

Soldiers, Airmen neutralize WMD lab at abandoned Navy warehouse

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

SCOTIA, N.Y. – It was raining when a line of government vehicles quietly rolled into a pull-off outside a depot fence line here one recent December morning.

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Families, readiness groups overcome historical challenges

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

LATHAM, N.Y. – Because she receives calls from family members missing their husbands, wives, moms, and dads, Beverly Keating, the main contact for families of the Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, feels it’s extremely important to have a communication bridge between the military and civilian worlds.

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Airmen Crate medical equipment for Refugees

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

PLATTSBURGH AIR FORCE BASE, N.Y. — With a hospital full of dusty medical equipment, thousands of refugees needing medical treatment, and the Gulf of Mexico in between, a small mission upstate recently called upon Airmen to aid in a miracle.

“I feel blessed to have met this group,” Sister Deb said. She looks across the broken down remains of what was once an emergency room as sharp clanking and banging sounds echo through an open doorway on her right. Something large and heavy is being lifted.

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New York Army aircrew lifts 19,000-pound cable spool to mountain

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

LAKE PLACID, NY – Whiteface Mountain manager, Jay Rand, stands in a clearing at the base of Whiteface Mountain on a September morning looking with anticipation towards the eastern Adirondack skyline. Directly aside Rand is a ten-ton spool of cable so thick in diameter, and you could not wrap both hands around it. Roughly eight miles away and 3000 feet above him is the summit of Whiteface.

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New York aircrews haul hurricane relief in Florida

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

SCOTIA, N.Y. — When the New York National Guard was asked to support Florida after its recent hurricanes, aircrews here were already geared to go.

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Airmen Train with South African military

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

PRETORIA, South Africa – Getting the opportunity to train in South Africa seems like a lifetime experience for any National Guardsman. So when South Africa, New York’s partner in the National Guard State Partnership Program, was chosen for European Command’s MEDFLAG 2004 exercise, Airmen jumped forward to participate.

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Aircrews test combat, water survival skills

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

SACANDAGA LAKE, N.Y. – Treading water under a parachute is the last thing you would expect to do at an Adirondack vacation spot, but that’s precisely what Maj. Kimberly Terpening confronted over her drill weekend.

“I was a little nervous beforehand, but it wasn’t bad once I swam underneath and saw a way through,” said Terpening, 139th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

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Soldiers honored, memorial unveiled at Purple Heart Medal ceremony

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

ALBANY, N.Y. – Four Soldiers from the NY Army National Guard sat on a park bench in the peaceful surroundings of a beech tree grove one sunny August afternoon. The quiet setting seemed in sharp contrast to the explosive combat of Iraq where the Soldiers were wounded several months ago.