(e.g. yourname@email.com)

Forgot Password?

    Or login with Facebook

    Ten NY National Guard Soldiers, Airmen head to South Africa for Military Skills Competition

    New York Army Guardsmen during 2010 South African Military Skills Competition

    Photo By Eric Durr | POTCHEFSTROOM, South Africa - New York Army National Guardsmen from Company C, 2nd...... read more read more

    LATHAM, NY, UNITED STATES

    10.09.2019

    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, N.Y.--Ten New York Army National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will travel to South Africa later this month to participate in the South African Military Skills Competition being held Oct. 21 to 26.

    The five Soldiers and five Airmen will participate alongside representatives of European and African nations. They come from Army and Air Guard units located across the state.

    The competition involves rifle and pistol shooting, negotiating land and water obstacles, hand grenade throwing and a 4.8 mile run in military uniform. The Americans will be firing the South African R4 rifle and Z88 pistol instead of the weapons they normally use.

    Each team consists of four members and a coach.

    The New York National Guard has had a training and exchange partnership with the South African National Defence Force since 2003.

    The relationship is part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program which pairs state National Guards with the military forces of other nations. The program is designed to build useful military relationships.

    In 2018 the New York National Guard sent a contingent of Army National Guard Military Police Soldiers and Air National Guard Security Force Airmen to South Africa. Other exchanges have involved firefighters, general officer visits, and participation in the South African Airshow held every two years.

    New York National Guard soldiers last competed in the South African Department of Defence Military Skills competition in 2010.

    The New York National Guard participants are:
    • Command Sergeant Major Mark Maynard, the Army National Guard team coach, who is a Spencerport resident and is assigned to the 106th Regional Training Institute at Camp Smith Training Site near Peekskill;
    • Master Sgt. Cole Shebat, the Air National Guard coach, who is a Cicero resident and a member of the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse;
    • Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Martin Cozens, a Rochester resident assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry in Geneseo;
    • Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Brendon Mavra, a Mohegan Lake resident, who serves with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry in Farmingdale;
    • Army National Guard Sgt. Jonathan Patton, a New York City resident who serves in Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry which drills at the Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan;
    • Army National Guard Sgt. Zachary Rodak, a Peekskill resident, who is assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry based at Camp Smith Training Site in Cortlandt Manor;
    • Air National Guard Technical Sgt. Thomas Perry, a Trumansburg resident, assigned to the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse;
    • Air National Guard Technical Sgt. Martin Allen, a Middle Grove resident, assigned to the 109th Security Forces Squadron at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia;
    • Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Joshua Kueritzky, a Kingston resident who serves in the 105th Base Defense Squadron, at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh;
    • Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Justin Murphy, a Bergenfield, New Jersey resident who is assigned to the 105th Base Defense Squadron, at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh.

    The Soldiers and Airmen were selected to participate in the South African event based on their accomplishments and training.

    “I asked for candidates who were physically strong, smart and who could shoot,” said Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski, the top ranking enlisted Soldier in the New York Army National Guard.

    Some of the Soldiers have been to the Army’s tough Ranger School, while others excelled in Best Warrior Competitions. Sgt. 1st Class Martin Cozens finished in second place at the nation-wide Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition for 2019.

    The Airmen chosen to compete are also accomplished, said Command Chief Master Sgt. Maureen Dooley, Piwowarski’s New York Air National Guard counterpart.

    “The Airmen that have been chosen to compete have excelled in these competitive skills and excel in leadership and whole Airmen concept,” she said. “They maintain outstanding physical conditioning and are expert marksman on multiple weapon systems.”

    Command Sgt. Major Mark Maynard, the New York Army National Guard team coach, said that he regrets not having a chance to get his Soldiers together to train before they leave for South African. But based on the Soldiers job and dispersion across the state it just isn’t practical, he said.

    They’ll also have the disadvantage of having to learn to fire unfamiliar weapons, but all the non-South Africans will probably face the same challenge, he said.

    But since each of the Soldier is a good shot and “capable both mentally and physically” he expects they will make up for the lack of training time.

    The Air National Guard members heading for South Africa are also working to get ready on their own, said Master Sgt. Cole Shebat, the New York Air Guard team coach.

    “The guys are staying in shape and they are staying active and they are trying to increase their cardio training,” Shebat said.

    Potchefstroom, the area where the competition will take place, is almost a mile above sea level, Shebat said, and it is also summer in South Africa so temperatures will be high.

    The South African Z88 pistol is very similar to the M9 Beretta pistol American Soldiers and Airmen use, so he thinks the team will not have a problem adopting to that weapon, Shebat said.

    All of the Guardsmen heading to South Africa are excited to be part of the event, both Shebat and Maynard said.

    “The opportunity to represent the United States and the New York National Guard overseas is a great honor and it is not taken lightly,” Maynard said.

    LEAVE A COMMENT

    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 10.09.2019
    Date Posted: 10.09.2019 16:08
    Story ID: 346933
    Location: LATHAM, NY, US 

    Web Views: 70
    Downloads: 0
    Podcast Hits: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN  

    Ten NY National Guard Soldiers, Airmen head to South Africa for Military Skills Competition