The New York Guard is a state volunteer force which augments and supports the New York National Guard as required with manpower and skills.
New York Guard members serve in an unpaid status unless they are placed on State Active Duty by the governor and they cannot be mobilized for federal duty. They assist the National Guard in planning, training for and executing state emergency support and disaster missions. And provide legal and medical pre-deployment assistance to the National Guard units and other reserve components as requested.
Many New York Guard members are retired members of the National Guard and other military services, however military experience is not a prerequisite to membership.
The New York Guard was born in World War I when the New York National Guard, a division’s worth of Soldiers, was mobilized; first for service on the Mexican border and then to fight in France. The New York Guard replaced the National Guard and served as a home guard, mounting guard on the New York City reservoirs.
Today members of the New York Guard assist National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to serve the people of New York as members of Guard Joint Task Forces. New York Guard members are part of the National Guard team trained to rescue people from destroyed buildings and decontaminate them, assist the National Guard in search and rescue when called upon, and even help National Guard units train to deploy at home or abroad.
The New York Guard experienced a resurgence after the September 11, 2001 attacks. New York Guard units were activated after the attacks, performing a variety of missions, including, logistical support to forces stationed at "Ground Zero". Medical units of the Guard worked in conjunction with other DMNA forces providing care at several location including Camp Smith, in Westchester county.
Principal occupational specialties of the New York Guard include, communications, engineering, medical and legal services, provided in support of all components of New York State military forces, i.e., the Army and Air National Guards, Naval Militia and the New York Guard, as well as to civil authorities.
Currently, trained and state certified New York Guard soldiers augment and assist National Guard units in the following missions: Weapons of Mass Destruction [WMD] Decontamination - the joint New York Army National Guard / New York Air National Guard / New York Guard decontamination - or CERF - team was activated by the governor for state duty for 11 days during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, Military Emergency Radio Network - the Guard is assigned to operate the MERN at various locations to insure the free flow of information during an emergency, and Search And Rescue (SAR) a secondary mission to the state- New York Guard SAR teams have been mobilized, most recently in the summer of 2006 to search for a missing camper in the Adirondack Mountains preserve.
The 244th Medical Clinic works with the NY Army National Guard Medical Command (MEDCOM), augmenting National Guard personnel for within-state MEDCOM missions. These have included screening of National Guard personnel in Soldier Readiness Programs (SRP) and 'reintegration' programs for both soldiers and their families upon troops' return from overseas deployment.
In addition to its SAR work as a secondary mission under the New York State Defense Emergency Act and Article 2-B of State and Local, Natural and Man-Made disasters Act, engineer units of the NY Guard 10th Brigade have built facilities for the National Guard.
Civil Affairs units provide legal services to about-to-deploy troops such as wills and counseling on legal protections under federal and state law.
The New York Guard augments the capabilities of the National Guard, serving only within New York State. Guard personnel are drawn from almost every profession - from plumbers to professors, clerks and CEOs, persons with long prior military service and those without, and every part of the state.
The headquarters unit of the New York Guard is located at Camp Smith, Cortlandt Manor, NY. Camp Smith is a New York State military reservation. It is adjacent to Peekskill, NY and about 35 miles north on New York City.
All New York Guard enlisted recruits, unless they have prior military experience, must attend Initial Entry Training (IET). After completion of one week of IET at Camp Smith, soldiers may take any of the following courses based on their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and rank. Officers, unless they have prior commissioned military experience, must complete a branch immaterial officer's basic course after appointment.
The following schools are offered by the New York Guard.
- Initial Entry Training
- Basic and Advanced Search and Rescue
- Basic and Advanced Communications
- Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course (BNCOC)
- Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Course (ANCOC)
- Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) given in concert with FEMA/DHS
- Officer Candidate School (OCS) and Basic
- Company Grade and Field Grade Officer courses.
Most NYG soldiers have augmented their training by taking courses with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and various other local and state agencies.
Major Subordinate Commands
The Major Subordinate Commands of the New York Guard are:
- 10th Brigade, covering the Capital Region and northern New York, headquartered in Troy, NY;
- 14th Brigade, covering the Long Island Region, headquartered in Whitestone, NY;
- 56th Brigade, covering the Lower Hudson Valley, headquartered in Peekskill, NY;
- 65th Brigade, covering Western New York, headquartered in Buffalo, NY;
- 88th Brigade, covering New York City, headquartered in upper Manhattan;
- 12th Regimental Training Institute, headquartered at Camp Smith, Cortlandt Manor, NY;
- 244th Medical Clinic, headquartered at Camp Smith, and an
- Air Augmentation Detachment. The AAD, headquartered in Latham, a suburb of Albany, NY, was dissolved in Fall 2007 and its staff absorbed into other units of the New York Guard.
New York Guard Commander
Fergal (Ferg) I. Foley
Major General, New York Guard
The size and unit diversity of the New York State Guard
is an indicator of what a State Defense Force can and should be.