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    NY Army National Guard marks 243rd Army Birthday

    New York National Guard Celebrates Army Birthday

    Photo By Capt. Jean Marie Kratzer | Youngest and oldest Soldiers present cut the birthday cake during an Army birthday...... read more read more

    LATHAM , NY, UNITED STATES

    06.14.2018

    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, N.Y. -- A Soldier with 33 years of service and a Soldier with just over four, represented the past and future of the United States Army on Thursday, June 14, as the New York Army National Guard marked the Army’s 243 birthday.

    Master Sgt. John Batza, a 59-year old personnel specialist from Watervliet, N.Y. and Sgt. Tyler Center, a 24-year old supply specialist from Slingerlands, N.Y. joined Major General Raymond Shields, commander of the New York Army National Guard, in cutting the Army Birthday cake during the ceremony.

    Batza enlisted in the Army in 1980 and joined the New York Army National Guard in 1991 after a break in service. Center joined the Army National Guard in 2014.

    Traditionally the oldest and youngest Soldiers present join in cutting the birthday cake. The oldest Soldier represents the traditions and past of the Army, while the youngest represents the future.
    “I’ve seen a lot of the Army’s history,” Batza said.

    He was honored to be asked to be part of the ceremony, Batza said. “It’s an honor to be part of something I am proud of and something I’ve loved,” he added.

    Center, said he was also proud to be part of the ceremony. “It feels good to be part of this,” Center said.

    “I’ve had a lot of good mentors since I joined the Army and I can do a lot of good,” he said. “I plan to do a lot of things in my career,” Center added.

    On June 14, 1775 the Continental Congress voted to turn the New England militia troops which had been besieging British forces in Boston since the fights at Lexington and Concorde. It would be another year before the United Colonies became the United States, but America already had an Army.

    This year, along with marking the Army’s 243rd birthday, the Army is also recognizing the centennial of World War I, said Major Brendan Rowe, the executive officer for the Adjutant General.

    The theme of this year’s birthday event is “Over There” to commemorate the Soldiers who served in World War I, Rowe said.
    The Soldiers of 1775 helped secure American independence, Rowe said, while the two million Soldiers who served in World War I secured America’s place in the World.

    New York played an important role in World War I, Rowe told the audience of 300 people who attended the ceremony.

    More than 500,000 New Yorkers served in uniform during World War I. The New York National Guard’s 27th Division, 69th Infantry, and 369th Infantry, the famous Harlem Hell Fighters, earned distinguished records during World War I.

    In his remarks, Shields emphasized that the New York Army National Guard is busy and engaged. There are New York Army National Guard Soldiers deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine, and also has thousands of Soldiers conducting annual training at Fort Drum, N.Y., Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, and Fort Dix, N.J, he said.

    Unfortunately, Shields said, New York Army National Guard strength levels have gone down in the past year, and he urged both Soldiers and civilians to make Soldier retention a priority.

    “Everyone assigned to the Joint Forces headquarters, to include our federal and state civilian employees are integral to our strength maintenance goals and success of the New York Army National Guard, whether you are paying Soldiers. Processing supply actions, maintaining buildings, vehicles and aircraft, providing communications or manager budgets,” Shields said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.14.2018
    Date Posted: 06.14.2018 16:12
    Story ID: 280973
    Location: LATHAM , NY, US 

    Web Views: 76
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