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    NY Guard leaders take part in South African/ West Point agreement signing

    South Africans  Visit Harlem Armory

    Photo By Maj. Michael O'Hagan | New York Army National Guard Major Anthony McLean, the executive officer of the 369th...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. -- New York National Guard leaders were present April 20, 2022, when representatives of the United States Military Academy and South Africa’s Stellenbosch University --which trains that nation’s military officers-- signed an agreement launching a cadet and faculty exchange program between the two countries at West Point.

    Major General Michel Natali, the assistant adjutant general, Army, was present as a representative of the New York Guard’s training partnership with the South African National Defence Force.

    Under the agreement, faculty and cadets from West Point will visit the South African Military Academy, which is run for the South African National Defence Force by Stellenbosch University.

    Eventually, the goal would be to have South African cadets study at the United States Military Academy, with American cadets spending time studying in South Africa.

    New York Army Guard Lt. Col. Al Phillips, who was then a major serving as the deputy chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, managed the administrative process of putting the agreement in place in 2020.

    Phillips was also responsible for organizing exchanges between the South African military and the New York National Guard under the National Guard State Partnership Program. New York has had a partnership agreement with South Africa since 2003.

    Phillips, who now commands the 10th Main Command Post-Operational Detachment, was also part of the New York National Guard delegation at the signing ceremony.

    “I am always proud as a New York National Guardsman when we invest time, resources and energy into something that produces dividends and this agreement today will produce significant dividends for all parties involved,” Phillips said.

    This kind of partnership agreement could also expand to include New York’s 106th Regional Training Institute, which provides training for National Guard Soldiers, and South African military schools, Phillips said.
    The 106th is located at the New York National Guard’s Camp Smith Training Site, near West Point on the eastern side of the Hudson River.

    Like West Point, the training institute has been in discussions with South African military leaders to offer courses from its catalog such as NCO Development, Combatives, Master Fitness Training and eventually Officer Candidate Courses.

    New York has conducted regular exchanges with South Africa, sending Air Guard firefighters to train with their South African counterparts, military police Soldiers teaching skills, and participating in conferences with military chaplains and senior leaders.

    On April 21, New York National Guard leaders also coordinated a visit to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in New York City for the 10-member South African delegation which was made up of both military and academic officials.

    The group received a briefing on the academy ‘s training program and visited key training facilities.

    The South African delegation also visited the New York National Guard’s historic Harlem Armory for talks and a tour of the facility.

    The art deco landmark was built between 1921 and 1933 to house the 369th Infantry Regiment, which became famous during World War I as the Harlem Hell Fighters.

    The Hell Fighters, who got their name from their German adversaries, spent more time in combat than any other American regiment in World War I and fought with the French Army.

    The Armory was renovated at a cost of $62 million and serves as a key node for New York National Guard deployments in New York City during emergency response missions.

    The South African delegation also received a helicopter-eye view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty as they traveled from Kings Point to a Manhattan helipad for the meeting at the Harlem Armory.


    Date Taken: 05.20.2022
    Date Posted: 05.23.2022 13:15
    Story ID: 421291
    Location: WEST POINT , NEW YORK, US

    Web Views: 128
    Downloads: 0