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    Two New York firefighters to represent National Guard at Brazil jungle warfare school

    NY Army and Air Guardsmen head to Brazilian jungle warfare school

    Courtesy Photo | Army Sgt. William Dunn, a member of the 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, left,...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, NEW YORK--Two firefighters—an Army Guardsman from New York City, and a Syracuse Air Guardsman from Syracuse—will represent the New York National Guard and the United States during the Brazilian Jungle Warfare Center’s international course at the end of September.

    Army Sgt. William Dunn, and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Miter will spend six weeks in the Amazon rain forest learning how to navigate in the jungle, fight in the jungle and use rivers as travel routes through the jungle.

    The Brazilian school, known as CIGS, the acronym for its Portuguese name -- Centro de Instrucao de Guerra na Selva—was founded in 1964, and is considered the top jungle training center in the world.

    Each year the school conducts an abbreviated class for military personnel from around the world at its base in Manas, the capital of Brazil’s Amazonas State.

    The New York National Guard has been sending Soldiers and Airmen to the course since 2019 as part of its State Partnership Program training relationship with Brazil’s military.

    Dunn, a communications systems maintainer assigned to Bravo Company of the 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, works at Fire Department of the City of New York’s Engine Company 303 in South Jamaica, Queens.

    A resident of Port Jefferson on Long Island, Dunn joined the New York Army National Guard in 2009. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-13 and to Kuwait in 2017-18.

    Miter is a joint tactical air controller, or JTAC for short, who is assigned to the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron. The squadron is part of the 107th Attack Wing but is located at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse.

    Miter, ager 33, joined the New York Air National Guard in 2006, and served as a firefighter at the 109th Airlift Wing, until becoming a JTAC in 2010.

    Since then, he’s deployed to Syria in 2019 and to the Horn of Africa in 2021.

    In civilian life, Miter is assigned to the Syracuse Fire Department’s Engine 3 on Bellevue Avenue.

    Miter said he jumped at the opportunity to apply to attend the jungle warfare course.

    “It is a great opportunity,” he said. “It’s a challenge and a different experience.”

    New York Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Denny Richardson said that Miter would do well in the Brazilian jungle.

    “He has the mental focus and physical strength that will allow him to be successful,” Richardson said.

    Dunn said he volunteered because he was also looking for a challenge.
    “I just threw my hat in the ring and to my surprise I was picked,” said Dunn, who is also qualified as a wheeled vehicle mechanic.

    Seeking a challenge, and to get ready for the jungle warfare school, was also the reason he volunteered for the Army’s Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Dunn said.

    Dunn graduated the course along with 107 other Soldiers in August. He was the second oldest in the air assault class, the 37-year-old Dunn said.

    Dunn, who is a master fitness trainer, should do well in the Amazon jungle, said New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. David Piwowarski.

    “Sergeant Dunn is a professional, fit and motivated signal Soldier. His experience during two deployments, and as a civilian fire fighter will serve him well in high pressure situations during the Brazilian Jungle Warfare Course,” Piwowarski said.

    The CIGS runs the six-week long international course for soldiers from other countries annually. Many countries send special operations soldiers to attend this class.

    The classes focus on navigating in the jungle, jungle survival, jungle tactics and involve lots of swimming while learning to use rivers as travel routes in the jungle.

    Those who pass the course are awarded a special knife called the “face, de Mateo” a Brazilian version of the Bowie knife with a jaguar headed handle made specifically for the jungle warfare center.

    The emphasis on swimming—which involves making rafts and swimming gear down rivers that are home to the crocodile-like Black caiman—has prompted both Dunn and Miter to modify their normal workouts.

    As firefighters, both men said they normally focused a lot on weight training. Getting ready for the jungle school meant changing their fitness focus, they said.

    “I changed to a lot of cardio and body weights, and I have been getting into the pool more and running,” Miter said.

    “I won’t say I’m a good swimming, but I don’t think I will drown,” Miter said.

    Dunn said he’s been borrowing his in-laws swimming pool to improve his swimming skills.

    “I put my whole uniform on, and I have been jumping in there. And I will do a couple of hours of swimming,” working on the free-style and butterfly stroke, as much as I can,” Dunn said.

    Dun said that once he makes it past the initial swimming and physical fitness evaluation at the school, he anticipates his toughest challenge will be mastering patrolling and other tactical skills.

    “I haven’t had any real experience doing it. I just like that stuff,” Dunn said.
    Miter said he was able to get lots of advice on what to expect from Tech. Sgt. Paul Cange, who also serves in the 274th and who attended the school in 2021.
    “The first week of getting through the physical requirements, that will be the biggest hurdle,” Miter said.

    He’s looking forward to working with soldiers from other countries and getting to visit another continent, Miter said.

    Dunn, who will be deploying once more with the 101st Signal next year, said he’s looking forward to learning skills he can pass along to other Soldiers in his unit.

    “I just want to do a good job out there, that is my biggest thing, to make my unit proud,” Dunn said.

    “I also hope the firehouse doesn’t think I am just doing this to duck work,” he said with a laugh.


    Date Taken: 09.16.2022
    Date Posted: 09.16.2022 15:22
    Story ID: 429505
    Location: LATHAM, NEW YORK, US
    Hometown: SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, US

    Web Views: 592
    Downloads: 0