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New York Air Guard supports far-reaching science missions

CAMP SUMMIT, Greenland — The gray and orange LC-130 Hercules, one of the world’s largest cargo aircraft with skis, touched down 10,600 feet above sea level onto the frozen ice sheet here July 24, continuing an airlift mission that serves as the only supply line for some of the world’s leading scientists studying our planet.

After circling the Arctic outpost to view the airfield’s conditions, the aircraft landed inside a row of bamboo poles with black nylon flags that marked a “ski-way” and gently slid to a stop like an overloaded dump truck hydroplaning down an icy highway.

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Air Guard Security Forces assisted Katrina survivors

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Guard Times Staff

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Scotia — Just after Hurricane Katrina lined up in the Atlantic Ocean to pulverize the Gulf Coast with its wind, rain, and tidal flooding, New York’s Security Forces Airmen made their lineup for New Orleans Sept. 3 to protect and serve the rescue and relief operations.

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109th Airlift Wing keeps Katrina relief moving

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Scotia, N.Y. — Early September brought unscheduled airlift missions for the 109th Airlift Wing nearly one month before the 2005 Antarctic flying season as hurricane Katrina crippled the nation’s Gulf Coast region.

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Soldiers, Airmen go on Guard at mass-transit systems

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

MANHATTAN – Several armed Soldiers stand outside a street entrance to Pennsylvania Station August 4 amidst the daily hustle and bustle. Positioned in an out-of-the-way area, they are mostly left alone. But from Penn Station’s seemingly endless flow of travelers, an occasional passerby emerges to say “thank you.”

“You guys are doing a great job,” one woman proclaims as she passes them.

“Thank you, ma’am,” they reply, in unison.

In the weeks following the deadly London transit system bombings and a failed repeat of those bombings there, a “surge force” of New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were on watch at various mass transit stations across the State, including New York City’s vast metropolitan area.

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Minekill community scores with GuardHELP

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

MINEKILL STATE PARK, Blenheim, N.Y. – On a hillside overlooking New York’s Schoharie Valley, olive-colored Army construction equipment groaned amidst brown wafts of dusty afternoon air as engineers leveled several piles of dark dirt. They worked steadily and with purpose. If bags of awaiting grass seed took root before the first frost, valley residents would have a new soccer field to play on in the coming year.

Soldiers from the 204th Engineer Battalion, New York Army National Guard, placed the finishing touches on a GuardHELP project July 29 for Minekill State Park and its surrounding community.

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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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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 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.