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    New York National Guard marks Army Birthday with cake cutting ceremony

    New York National Guard marks Army Birthday with cake cutting

    Photo By Capt. Jean Kratzer | Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York ( center) cuts the Army...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, N.Y. -- A young New York Army National Guard Military Police Soldier and a veteran noncommissioned officer from the armor branch joined Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York, in marking the Army’s 244th Birthday at the New York National Guard headquarters in Latham, N.Y. on Friday, June 14.

    Private 1st Class Amanda Coleman, age 19, a member of the 206th Military Police Company from Schuylerville, N.Y. and Sgt. 1st Class Frank DeThomasis, age 59, a Rensselaer resident assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters helped Shields cut the Army Birthday Cake during a short ceremony.

    The date marks the day in 1775 on which the Continental Congress took charge of colonial troops besieging the British Army in Boston and created an American Army.

    Traditionally, the youngest Soldier present joins the oldest Soldier present in cutting the Army Birthday cake. The young Soldier symbolizes the future of the Army while the old Soldier symbolizes the Army’s history and past.

    The New York Army National Guard is one of three components of the Army alongside the Active Army and the Army Reserve.

    In his remarks, Shields thanked both DeThomasis and Coleman for their service and presented them with coins in appreciation.

    This year the Army is noting the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy during the birthday celebrations with the theme of “Honoring the call to service from D-Day to today.”

    Equipment and uniforms like those used during the invasion and held by the New York State Military Museum was on display as part of the Friday event.

    Shields wore the newly issued Army Green uniform for the ceremony, noting how it looks like the WWII "Pinks and Greens" displayed with the museum artifacts. The new uniform references that worn in World War II, he said.

    “The uniform is issued to me to model for our force as the fielding rolls out over the next year,” Shields said. So far the feedback from Soldiers has been positive for the first impressions on seeing the uniform. “But don’t think of me as a much of a model,” he joked.

    Col. Richard Goldenberg, the master of ceremonies, noted that New York National Guard’s 258th Field Artillery landed on Utah Beach three weeks after the initial invasion and went on to fight in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

    DeThomasis enlisted in the New York Army National Guard in November 1980. A co-worker of his was in the Army National Guard and convinced him to enlist.

    “He managed to talk my ear off to the point where I finally said, ‘Okay… I’ll sign up,’” DeThomasis recalled.

    He spent the majority of his time in the Army National Guard serving in tank units, DeThomasis said, first in the 1st Battalion, 210th Armor and then in the 1st Battalion, 101st Cavalry.

    “I loved every minute of it,” he said. “During that time I was also offered several different positions which would eventually lead to promotions, but I refused them, perhaps a bit foolishly, because I really enjoyed what I was doing.”

    “Fulfillment meant more to me than the rank,” he said.

    The highlight of his Army career was when he deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005 as a platoon sergeant in Delta Company, 101st Cavalry which deployed to Baghdad with the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, DeThomasis said.

    DeThomasis also served as acting First Sergeant for a company in Task Force Wingfoot in New York City in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

    The New York National Guard built a long-term security force around the 1st Battalion, 101st Cavalry for three months of duty during the recovery process.

    He was proud to be asked to represent the Army’s history in the birthday ceremony, DeThomasis said.

    “I guess it came full circle, the old guy brings in the new kid,” he said.” I’m very happy to do it and it’s very appropriate in my case.”

    His advice for Coleman and other young Soldiers is to do the best job you can and enjoy your job.

    “Chasing stripes and rockers are important, as long as you can do it with some intestinal fortitude and passion,” DeThomasis said.

    Coleman, a college student at Adirondack Community College in Queensbury, N.Y., joined the New York Army National Guard in 2018.

    She joined the Army because her brother joined and she had always looked up to her brother. She decided to become a Military Police Soldier because she had once wanted to be a New York State Trooper, Coleman said.

    “It made sense to correlate the two,” she said.

    Her most memorable Army experience has been the people she’s met in the 206th Military Police Company, Coleman said.

    “They’ve taught me a lot so far,” Coleman said. “I just want to learn and every day we grow at drill.”



    Date Taken: 06.14.2019
    Date Posted: 06.14.2019 13:45
    Story ID: 327514
    Location: LATHAM , NY, US 

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