TROY, NY --New York Army National Guard Soldiers 1st Sgt. Joseph Landy and his son Pfc. Joseph Landy match-- on the mound, and off.

The pair, who threw the opening pitches in the July 5 Tri-City ValleyCats minor league baseball game here, are crossing paths on different deployment tracks.

1st Sgt. Landy is home on leave from Iraq and Pfc. Landy is scheduled to go to Afghanistan. They expect to meet again this fall, when the father's deployment ends, and the son begins mobilizing for his--"if we're lucky," 1st Sgt. Landy said.

But they both loved throwing the game's opening pitch, and they both smile when they reflect on their military careers.

The father and son, of Speigletown, N.Y., are at least two in a line of local Landys who are serving, or have served, their country.

1st Sgt. Landy, of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 501st Explosive Ordnance Battalion, said he followed his brother Ed Landy into the Army. He enjoyed it, and has racked up about 28 years of service with the New York Army National Guard, he added.

"I felt I was making a difference, so I stayed in," he said, adding that he also enjoys the camaraderie of the Army.

His unit, which is now in Basra, Iraq, defuses improvised explosive devices, helps investigate indirect fire incidents, and conducts other missions, he explained. Camaraderie helps, he added.

"Everyone relates with each other," 1st Sgt. Landy said of the unit members. Though the deployment has been one of the biggest challenges of his career, the unit's Family Readiness Group and his own loved ones have helped with support, he added.

Pfc. Landy, in turn, followed his father's footsteps into the New York Army National Guard, and is now a squad automatic weapon gunner in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, based in Gloversville, N.Y.

"I thought it was a good idea," he said of his decision to enlist.

He's been in the New York Army National Guard for a about a year, and like his father, appreciates the camaraderie of the Army, Pfc. Landy said.

"We have a good time out there," he said.

Pfc. Landy said he also enjoys all the things he gets to do an infantryman, like blowing things up and firing weapons, "that he wouldn't have learned any other way." He especially liked combat lanes exercises which were part of the pre-mobilization training he recently completed with his unit at Fort Drum, N.Y., he added.

"I thought it was good training," he said. "I learned a lot of new things because of that."

As a New York Army National Guard Soldier, Pfc. Landy also received college benefits, which he used to attend Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y. The ValleyCats play at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, which is located on the college campus.

Though he's had to put college on hold and sees spending a year in Afghanistan as a challenge, he's looking forward to the deployment, Pfc. Landy said.

"I'm excited to go," he said.

Along with the ball game, he and his family used his leave to spend quality time and take in the ocean and beach near Wildwood, N.J., 1st Sgt. Landy said.

Having the Landys throw the opening pitch was part of the ValleyCats' Veterans Night, and the team also honored veterans by giving them tickets to the July 5 game.

They've held Veterans' Nights regularly for the past several years, but this year they partnered with the Albany Veterans Administration Medical Center, which helped distribute the tickets, said Matt Callahan, ValleyCats assistant general manager

"The goal is to honor those that serve our country," Callahan said. "It's our way of saying thank you."

That wasn't lost on 1st Sgt. Landy.

"It's not easy doing what we do," 1st Sgt. Landy said. "If it wasn't for veterans making sacrifices, we wouldn't enjoy the freedoms we have today."

Page last updated Wed July 6th, 2011 at 00:00