News: DOD Announces Deaths of Two New York Army National Guard Soldiers
Story by Eric Durr
By Eric Durr
New York Army National Guard
LATHAM, N.Y. - Two New York Army National Guard Soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced June 29.
Sgt. 1st Class Joseph A. McKay, 51, of Cambria Heights, Queens; and Spc. Mark C. Palmateer, 38, of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County; were killed shortly after 1 p.m. Afghan time. Their Humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device,small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, while operating near Forward Operating Base Shank in Logar Province in eastern Afghanistan.
Both men were members of B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) which is based in Jamestown, Chautauqua County. Their unit was assigned to Afghan Regional Security Integration Command- East, (ARSIC-EAST) which is responsible for training the Afghan national army in eastern Afghanistan.
ARSIC-East is part of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, a multi-national force of more than 8,000 U.S. and NATO service personnel training the Afghan national army and police. Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix is currently being led by the New York Army National Guard's 27th Brigade Combat Team, commanded by Col. Brian Balf.
A third Soldier, belonging to the Michigan Army National Guard, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Hilton, aged 37, of Livonia, Michigan, was also killed in the attack.
"Once again the members of the New York Army National Guard are mourning the loss of brave Soldiers who died defending their country and trying to help the people of Afghanistan," said Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, the adjutant general of New York and commander of the New York National Guard. "We will mourn with their families and will do everything within our power to help them."
"We are united, though, in our respect for their dedication to their mission, to their brothers and sisters in arms, and to the people of New York and the United States of America and we take pride in their service. As Soldiers we know that we may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice so that this nation and the freedoms we enjoy may endure," Maj. Gen. Taluto said.
Three New York Army National Guard members were killed on June 21 when their humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device outside Kandahar. Killed in that incident were Sgt. Andrew Seabrooks, Sgt. Nelson Roderiguez-Rameriz and Spc. Anthony Mangano.
Sgt. 1st Class McKay is survived by a wife and son who live in Cambria Heights, an adult son who lives in Brooklyn, and an adult daughter who lives in Hope Mills, North Carolina. He was born on July 4, 1956.
He served in Iraq in 2004-2005 with the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery of the New York Army National Guard
Sgt. 1st Class McKay joined the Army National Guard in August 1977 and was promoted to Sergeant 1st Class in May 2005. Prior to being assigned to B Troop 101st Cavalry he was a member of G Company 427th Brigade Support Battalion, based in Jamaica, Queens.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Badge awarded posthumously; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the New York State Aid to Civil Authorities and the New York State Defense of Liberty Medal, awarded for service in New York City following the 9/11 attacks.
Spc. Palmateer is survived by a daughter who lives in North Creek, Warren County, and his father who resides in Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County. He was born on October 21, 1969.
Spc. Palmateer joined the New York Army National Guard in August 2003. He was previously assigned to Company C 1-69th Infantry before joining B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Badge awarded posthumously; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the New York State Aid to Civil Authorities.
He has been posthumously promoted to Sergeant.
More than 6,500 members of the New York Army National Guard have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. Twenty-six members of the New York Army National Guard have been killed in action since then, 23 in Iraq and three in Afghanistan.
Currently 1,700 members of the New York Army National Guard are serving in Afghanistan and about 150 are serving in Iraq. Another 300 Soldiers will deploy to Iraq later this year.
About 300 members of the New York Air National Guard's 174 Fighter Wing are currently deployed in Iraq and about 200 other Air Guard members are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.