September Spotlight: Summer Training on Indian Lake

New York Army National Guard Soldiers of C Troop 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry move their boats inland after crossing Indian Lake in Zodiac inflatable boats during an annual training exercise last month. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone)

New York Army National Guard Soldiers of C Troop 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry move their boats inland after crossing Indian Lake in Zodiac inflatable boats during an annual training exercise last month. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone)

New York Army National Guard Cavalry Soldiers take to the water in Zodiac boat Drill

Sixty Soldiers from C Troop of the New York Army National Guard‘s 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry went boating on the waters of Fort Drum’s Indian Lake last month as part of two weeks of annual training.

It was the first time the 101st Cavalry — the reconnaissance eyes and ears of New York’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team — had done any tactical training with their inflatable rubber boats, said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Jaskowiak, the troop’s readiness and training NCO.

In combat, the squadron’s scouts would be expected to use their rubber boats to slip across a river or lake to get eyes on enemy troops.

“Our job is to do long-range reconnaissance,” said C Troop commander Capt. Matt Lynch. “C Troop is a dismounted troop. Having the capability of waterborne insertion gives us another way to move Cavalry Scouts in ahead of the mounted troops. It also gives us the access to terrain that was previously denied.”

The boats are known as Zodiac boats, taking their name from a French airplane maker who first started building them in 1934.

It was training that the unit had planned to do for quite a while, but deployments, individual active duty call-ups, and State active duty missions kept them from getting Soldiers into the boats for training, Jaskowiak explained.

When Hurricane Irene hit New York in August 2011, causing massive flooding in the Catskill Mountains and along the Susquehanna River in the Binghamton area, New York National Guard leaders decided it would be a good idea if the 101st Cavalry troops learned to use the boats that the unit had been issued, he said.

“It was after Hurricane Irene that the 101st initiated the lengthy training to get our Soldiers qualified to use the Zodiac boats.” Jaskowiak said. “It started with getting everyone Red Cross life-saver certified, and then we needed supplies and pool time so that each Soldier could do water training in order to know how to react should they be underwater with all their equipment on.”

According to Jaskowiak, the 101st troopers did a lot of dry run and dry land training to get ready.

When the unit was ready for water training, the City of Buffalo donated pool time at the Best Street Park there.

This type of training also produces added benefits, especially for commanders who are looking for ways to retain a core of Soldiers who will be able to be proficient and pass this type of skill set onto new Soldiers coming into the unit, Jaskowiak said.

Annual training at Fort Drum provided a water obstacle that the Soldiers could execute the kind of full-up tactical drill, using weapons, that they couldn’t do back home, Jaskowiak said.

“This is the kind of training that I joined the 101st for.” said Spc. Joseph Golonka, of 2nd Platoon who was also steering his boat with his paddle while crossing the lake. “In order to maintain silence while rowing, each Soldier has to be in sync. At first it isn’t easy, but after the first time we just watched each other row and got more in tune.”

While the 101st troopers executed a tactical insertion via the boats, safety was a primary consideration.

A team from the New York Naval Militia — a New York State defense force made up of Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps Reservists who volunteer to do State missions in addition to their Federal duty — provided a safety boat to watch over the operation. The Naval Militia sailors brought their 23-foot river patrol boats, but Indian Lake proved to be too shallow, so the 101st Cavalry went out and rented a flat bottom fishing boat to use as a safety vessel.

“Next year, we hope to be ready to get certified from First Army so that we have the ability to train our own new Soldiers who come into the unit,” Lynch said.

If reconnaissance missions — scouting out information that’s vital to the success of combat or domestic emergency situations — spark your interest, visit the National Guard jobs board first and contact a recruiter today.


Original article by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone, New York National Guard, appeared last month in the news section of

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September Spotlight: Summer Training in Space Operations

PFC Miranda Yost

PFC Miranda Yost, a geospatial engineer with ASST 30, 117th Space Support Battalion, Colorado National Guard, uses mapping software during Vigilant Guard 2014. (Photo by Capt. Benjamin Gruver)

National Guard tests capabilities at Vigilant Guard 2014 multi-state emergency response exercise

“Space, the final frontier.”

The Star Trek intro would be appropriate as the Army incorporates more space capabilities into its operations, including domestic emergency response operations.

The use of space operations was tested last month during the multi-state emergency response exercise, Vigilant Guard 2014, hosted by the Kansas Army National Guard as part of Joint Task Force Santa Fe in Salina, Kansas.

“Space operations and the capabilities that we normally bring to wartime are fairly new to the domestic operations realm for Kansas,” said Lt. Col. Eric Bishop, chief of the Space Support Element, 35th Infantry Division.

Those capabilities essentially include satellite and geospatial imaging, with a gamut of software programs used to provide data quickly so leaders can determine solutions to problems.

Augmenting Kansas’ small contingent of three personnel was Army Space Support Team (ASST) 30, 117th Space Support Battalion, Colorado National Guard.

“They have a lot more experience than we have,” Bishop said of the unique Colorado unit. “We are still learning, so having them here with their expertise is a great opportunity.”

The Colorado team — consisting of two space operations officers, two geospatial engineers, a satellite communications systems operator/maintainer, and an information technology specialist — were able to bring a new dynamic to an area of the exercise that can only be simulated.

“We are able to define the situation and help our domestic operations and civil authorities by providing them information that before this exercise Kansas had not been able to do,” Bishop said.

Flooding is one area in which ASST 30 was able to help. The team used a real-world terrain map of the Neosho River and did analyses of the flooding at different stages.

“They are able to look at the computer and, given the stage level, can tell you exactly whether this house would be flooded or that bridge would be under water,” said Bishop.

The benefit of using space technologies, according to Capt. Kevin Trabert, ASST 30 team leader, is that the information can be provided quickly from a safe location away from the dangers.

In addition to the flooding exercise, the team simulated a plume from a chemical plant leak to show areas directly impacted and in need of evacuation.

“There is no real way to simulate what a destroyed city is going to look like unless we use an example from recent history,” said Trabert. “So the way we’ve been kind of doing that is with a lot of extras on the map to make it look like the areas are damaged to try to bring some of that exercise to the real world.”

In addition to enhancing the Vigilant Guard exercise, ASST 30 shared some of their real-world experience in using space technologies in emergency response operations.

“In Colorado, we supported the Black Forest fire last summer, which was a very large fire on the outskirts of Colorado Springs,” Trabert said, explaining that it was one of the largest evacuations in Colorado history with almost 30,000 people evacuated at one point.

During their response, ASST 30 provided imagery of the fire and used satellite sensors to pick up heat energy to show exactly where the fire was. They then integrated that imagery intelligence with the Blue Force Tracking system that military forces use overseas to track emergency responders.

“We really appreciate using the ASST,” said Bishop. “They were a huge asset during Vigilant Guard, bringing with them the experience of having already responded in that role to other domestic emergencies.”

If you have an interest in exploring the final frontier for the sake of more efficient emergency response, explore the National Guard jobs board first and contact a recruiter today.


Original article by Capt. Benjamin Gruver, 105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, appeared last month in the news section of


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September Spotlight: Summer Medical Training in New York

Emergency physicians help New York Guard Soldiers hone medical skills

ARNG NY Medical Training

Pfc. Tyler Kinzel, New York Army National Guard Medical Command, begins bag-mask ventilating a medical mannequin after inserting an endotracheal tube through the esophagus under the direction of Dr. Anar Patel. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone)

New York Army National Guard medical Soldiers turned their training up a notch last month when they got some hands-on instruction from experienced emergency room doctors.

Dr. Anar Patel, an emergency medicine associate professor, and Dr. Erica Igbindghene, another emergency medicine specialist, took a day away from their regular jobs at Albany Medical Center to share their specialist skills with the Medical Command (MEDCOM) Soldiers.

The two have three years of combined experience working as resident physicians in the medical center’s emergency room.

“Working with a few civilian counterparts gives our Soldiers an edge.” said Col. James Coleman, the New York Army National Guard State surgeon. “They (the doctors) provide a level of training that most of the Soldiers haven’t gotten before, especially in emergency situations while manning a Combat Support Hospital.”

The doctors spent the entire day instructing small groups of Soldiers on two key life-saving skills.

Working with a medical mannequin at Camp Smith’s Medical Simulation Center, they taught the Soldiers how to insert a laryngoscope through the throat in order to open an air passage. They also taught the medical troops how to put an endotracheal tube into the lungs to that a bag-mask ventilator can be applied to assist a patient’s breathing.

The Medical Simulation Center is filled with advanced-level, hospital-based medical mannequins that are connected to computers. These computers monitor the vital signs of the computerized “patients” so that the students know what works best in a life-saving emergency.

Sgt. Rachelle Cunningham, a medic team leader from Lee Center, N.Y., said that training with the emergency room doctors was extremely useful.

When her Soldiers went through the training, she made it a point to have a junior Soldier take charge of each drill.

“I like to place the younger Soldiers who are not experienced into a more senior role.” Cunningham said. “By doing that, they are forced to see things their way and then later make suggestions that we might not have thought of during the training.”

Along with honing their medical skills, the MEDCOM Soldiers also worked on basic military skills, like map reading and land navigation. In one exercise, for example, the troops had to navigate their way to the simulation center and then treat wounded troops coming in from the field, including working with Patel and Igbindghene.

For the two emergency room doctors, their day training with the National Guard was very worthwhile, Patel said.

“I’m definitely all in for this type of training,” she said. “I will spread the word around Albany Medical Center about the high level of training that the New York National Guard does here and bring more doctors here the next time.”

If you have an interest in medical training, a career in the Army National Guard may be a great option for you. Check out the Guard’s jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

Original article by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone, New York National Guard, appeared last month in the news section of

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