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    New York's historic Fighting 69th Infantry gets new commander

    New Commander for Fighting 69th

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Matthew Gunther | Ltc Shawn Tabankin during his change of command ceremony for the 1st Battalion, 69th...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    NEWYORK, New York-- Lt. Col. Shaw Tabankin, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who also serves as deputy director of joint operations for Joint Force Headquarters- New York, took command of New York City’s historic “Fighting 69th” Infantry Regiment on Sunday, October 24, 2021.

    Tabankin took over command of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, from Lt. Col. Joseph Whaley, who has led the unit since 2019.

    Whaley is moving into a new assignment as the deputy operations officer of the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters which is based in Troy.

    The 69th is the subject of the Irish folk song "The Fighting 69th" and a 1940's movie by the same name.

    The unit is headquartered in the historic Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan and has elements in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island.

    In his remarks, Tabankin thanked his family for their support throughout his career, and the leadership of the New York Army National Guard for selecting him to command such a famous unit.
    He also thanked Whaley for helping him “hit the ground running.”
    “I promise not to squander the head start you have provided me,” Tabankin said.
    He also thanked the Soldiers of the battalion for being part of the traditional change of command ceremony at the Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan.
    “Thank you for your service and for continuing to do the great work of this regiment -- particularly during the past two years under extremely trying conditions. I promise you that I will endeavor to do the same,” Tabankin said.

    Tabankin first enlisted in the United States Army in 1997 and served in the 82nd Airborne Division before receiving his commission as an infantry officer in 2002 through the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps, joining the New York Army National Guard in order to attend New York Law School.

    In 2003, Tabankin took a voluntary leave of absence from law school in order to deploy to Iraq as a platoon leader with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry. Tabankin conducted combat operations for 11 months, including participation in the October 2004 Battle of Samarra - a four-day house-to-house fight to clear the city of insurgent forces.

    Returning to New York, Tabankin completed law school, began practice as an attorney and continued his service as a National Guard officer with assignments as the executive officer for Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, commander of Charlie Company, 1-69th Infantry, followed by a second command in 2012 with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry to deploy to Western Afghanistan.

    Tabankin became a full time active duty member of the New York Army National Guard upon return in 2012, where he served as Force Integration Officer and then, in 2015, the battalion operations officer for the 2-108th Infantry.

    In 2017, Tabankin transferred to the 42nd Infantry Division where he deployed to Kuwait as the Chief of Plans for Task Force Spartan.

    Tabankin is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Maneuver Captain's Career Course, Intermediate Level Education, and the Advanced Operations Course. Tabankin has been accepted into the U.S. Army War College for the 2022-2023 Academic Year.

    His awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Award with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.

    Tabankin lives in Clifton Park with his wife Jenn and their children, Addyson and Ephren

    His future command, the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, has a distinguished history that includes service in the Civil War, World War I, World War II and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Reportedly, the regiment was given the name "that fighting 69th Regiment" by Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1863.

    In World War II the Soldiers of the 69th invaded Makin Atoll in 1943 and fought on the Islands of Saipan and Okinawa in the campaign in the Pacific against Japan.

    In 2004-05 the battalion was mobilized and then deployed to Baghdad, Iraq where it was given the mission of security Route Irish, the road from the Baghdad Airport to the center of the city. At one time this was considered the most dangerous road in Iraq.

    Members of the 69th also deployed to Afghanistan in 2008.

    Closer to home, members of the battalion were part of the response to Superstorm Sandy and have participated in numerous state weather emergencies as well as the state's COVID-19 response since March of 2020.



    Date Taken: 10.28.2021
    Date Posted: 10.28.2021 15:57
    Story ID: 408259
    Location: NEW YORK , NY, US 
    Hometown: CLIFTON PARK, NY, US

    Web Views: 2,032
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