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    Iraq War veteran takes command of Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion on Monday

    Iraq War veteran takes command of Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion on Monday

    Courtesy Photo | Lt. Col. James Gonyo will take command of the New York Army National Guard's...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, N.Y. - New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. James Gonyo, a New Windsor resident and Iraq War veteran, will take command of the New York Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion on Monday, March 16 during a ceremony at New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs headquarters.

    He replaces Lt. Col. Henry Pettit, a Schenectady resident, who will serve in the New York National Guard joint operations section before retiring later this year. Pettit has commanded the Recruiting and Retention Battalion, which is headquartered at the Watervliet Arsenal, since 2013.

    WHO: Lt. Col. James Gonyo, the incoming commander, Lt. Col. Henry Pettit, the outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of New York, and the men and women of the Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

    WHAT: Traditional military change of command in which Pettit, the outgoing commander, will pass the battalion colors, or flag, of the recruiting battalion to the incoming command, Gonyo, signifying the change of responsibility for the unit and its mission.

    WHEN: 1 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2015.

    WHERE: Division of Military and Naval Affairs Headquarters, 330 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham, New York.

    Coverage Opportunities:
    Members of the press can interview both the incoming and outgoing commanders, as well as Murphy, the commander of the New York National Guard. Still and video opportunities include the traditional passing of the colors and troops in formation.

    For access to this secure military facility, members of the press must contact the Division of Military and Naval Affairs public affairs office a 518-786-4581 or e-mail eric.d.durr.nfg@


    The Change of Command
    Traditionally a military unit's flag or "colors" signified the location of the leader on the battlefield.

    In the change of command ceremony, the outgoing commander accepts the unit colors from the units top noncommissioned officer, representing the Soldiers of the unit.

    The outgoing commander then passes the colors to his commander, representing the authority over the command. This leader, in turn, passes the colors to the new commander, representing the change in authority over the unit.

    The new commander, in his or her turn, passes the colors back to the ranking noncommissioned officer, who returns the colors to the formation.

    New York Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion
    The New York Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion is comprised of about 260 noncommissioned officers and officers who are responsible for filling the ranks of the 10,500-member New York Army National Guard.

    Each year about 2,000 Soldiers retire or leave the National Guard when their enlistments expire.

    The recruiting and retention team is responsible for finding the excellent citizen-Soldiers needed to fill the force so that the National Guard can respond to domestic emergencies here at home at the direction of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo or serve overseas in support of federal missions when called upon.

    The battalion is headquartered at the Watervliet Arsenal.

    Lt. Col. James Gonyo
    Lt. Col. Gonyo, a full-time Active Guard and Reserve officer, is currently serving as deputy commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade. This New York City-based unit traces its history back to the historic 369th Infantry Regiment, an African-American unit nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters during World War I.

    Previously, he commanded the 1st Battalion 69th Infantry, famous as the "Fighting 69th" Irish-American regiment of the Civil War.

    Gonyo, the son of James C.Gonyo Sr. and Jeanette Pageau, grew up in Mooers, and attended Clinton County Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh, where he earned an Associate of Science in business administration and then a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and criminology.

    Gonyo enlisted in 1991 In the Army National Guard and received his commission in 1995 through the Officer Candidate School program a t Fort Benning, Georgia.

    Gonyo has served in a variety of leadership, command and staff assignments, including rifle team leader, detachment commander, rifle company commander, battalion air operations officer, tactical officer for the New York National Guard's Officer Candidate School, New York City Region commander of the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, deputy logistician for the 53rd Troop Command, battalion executive officer, logistics officer and brigade operations officer.

    He deployed to Iraq in 2009, serving with the 53rd Army Forces Liaison Team in Baghdad. While there, Gonyo served as a strategic planner with the Multi-National Forces Iraq Combined Joint Operations Directorate.

    His decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal , National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign, Humanitarian Service Medal, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, New York State Military Commendation Medal, the New York State Defense of Liberty Medal with WTC Device, and the New York State Counterdrug Service Ribbon.

    He and his wife Karen have three children.

    Lt. Col. Henry Pettit
    Lt. Col. Henry Pettit, a Schenectady resident and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduating from the Empire State Military Academy's Officer Candidate School in 1993.

    His past assignments include a myriad of leadership and staff positions to include Scout Platoon Leader, Rifle Company commander, Battalion S1 (personnel), Battalion S4 (logistics) and Battalion S3 Air (operations), all within the 1-105th Infantry Battalion. During his tour with the 1-105th Infantry, he was also a first responder to the World Trade Center attack in 2001 and assisted with the establishing military security forces stationed in NYC airports and Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.

    A graduate of Regents College, Pettit is also a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Infantry Officer Advance Course, Combined Arms Services Staff School and Intermediate Level Education (ILE) Common Core education for Army officers.

    His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Pathfinder Badge and Master Recruiter Badge.

    Pettit and his wife Susanne Leitch have two children, Jessica and Meghan.



    Date Taken: 03.15.2015
    Date Posted: 03.15.2015 15:47
    Story ID: 157046
    Location: LATHAM, NY, US 
    Hometown: NEW WINDSOR, NY, US
    Hometown: SCHENECTADY, NY, US

    Web Views: 304
    Downloads: 0