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    Naval Militia Meets Empire Challenge During Camp Smith exercise

    New York Naval Militia exerise

    Courtesy Photo | A New York Naval Militia member takes part in a logistics exercise involving loading...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    New York National Guard

    Seventy-Four New York Naval Militia members tested their ability to integrate into New York National Guard communications, logistics and command operations, while also exercising the Military Emergency Boat Service to operate together, May 16-19 at Camp Smith Training Site.

    One of the key elements of Exercise Empire Challenge was moving Naval Militia members to Camp Smith from across the state.
    A system of rented vans brought members from all three major Naval Militia regions to Camp Smith.

    “The logistics of getting all personnel on station was a major effort,” said Commandeer Kenny Fellers, who devised the plan. “But the system worked, and the shared ride program proved that we can effectively collect and deliver our personnel whenever and wherever needed.”

    Throughout the exercise, Naval Militia personnel worked side-by-side with New York Guard, the state’s self-defense force, and Army National Guard personnel.

    Logistic personnel from the New York Guard worked in tandem with landing craft LC-350 crewmen to practice loading a large, heavy load onto the new bow ramp boat using a heavy-load forklift at the Cortlandt boat ramp.

    Other Naval Militia members trained on chain saw operations. The exercise scenario factored in a storm.

    “These qualifications will help our personnel and organization become more important and relevant to the entire Division of Military and Naval Affairs organization,” said Capt. David Hawley, the Naval Militia’s chief of staff. “If we are to maximize our ability to respond to actual disasters, we have to have trained personnel ready to respond on short notice. This is exactly the kind of preparations we need to get our people ready to respond.”

    On the Hudson River, a rare and unique photo-op took place as all ten of the patrol boats positioned themselves into a two-column formation. Fellers operated a drone above the formation and documented the procession.

    The exercise also served the purpose of testing Naval Militia communications capabilities.

    Communications experts from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services helped Naval Militia operators determine where radios and antennas required adjustment or replacement, and also provided training on how to best configure their ear.

    “The exercise gave us a good understanding of our capabilities,” said Capt. Mark Pederson, the Naval Militia’s signal officer.

    Empire Challenge also tested the Naval Militia’s ability to conduct a full-up exercise while also operating in a real-world mission, according to Rear Adm. Tim Zakriski, the Naval Militia’s commander.

    At the same time Naval Militia members were exercising at Camp Smith, others were conducting flooding mitigation operations on Lake Ontario, he emphasized.

    “Our staff and our personnel are enthusiastic and ready to take on all these challenges. We have never had a better group of men and women dedicated to the task,” Zakriski said.



    Date Taken: 06.01.2019
    Date Posted: 06.04.2019 13:58
    Story ID: 325320

    Web Views: 95
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