By Lt. Col. Roberta ComerfordMay 9, 2017
ALBANY, N.Y. - New York Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Steven Ferrari, a
veteran of the Iraq War, took command of the 42nd Infantry Division during a change of command ceremony held at the Empire State Plaza here May 6, 2017.
Ferrari, resident of Winslow Township, New Jersey, had been serving as
Assistant Division Commander for the combat division headquarters since
"You are the right leader for this organization," said Brig. Gen. Raymond
Shields, commander of the New York Army National Guard, after the transfer of colors. "Your depth of experience and caring leadership style make you supremely qualified to lead the division to new heights of Soldier and unit readiness. I wish you the very best."
"What an honor to assume command of the famous 42nd Infantry Division," Ferrari told the audience. "I pledge my dedication and commitment to ensure that the continued success of this historic division that turns 100 years old on August 13, 2017."
The 42nd Infantry Division was organized out of National Guard units from 26 states as the United States frantically generated an Army to fight in World War I. The division's first chief of staff, then Col. Douglas MacArthur,
said the division would stretch across the United States "like a rainbow"
and the nickname stuck.
The 42nd Division, which included a New York National Guard infantry regiment and first organized outside of New York City at Camp Mills, Long
Island, is also conducting its own centennial commemorations in 2017-2019.
The change of command ceremony featured the colors of the battalions and brigades which fall under the 42nd Infantry Division for training purposes.
Representatives of the New York, Vermont and New Jersey. National Guard's, along with previous division commanders attended the event.
Ferrari replaces Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Harry Miller who has moved into a full-time active duty assignment with the Army National Guard. Miller took command of the division in April 2013.
"Thank you for all you have done for the 42nd Infantry Division and the New York Army National Guard," Shields told Miller in the ceremony.
The 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters is based in Troy, N.Y. but has
training responsibility over National Guard brigades throughout the
northeast including units in New York, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
The 42nd Division has had a high tempo over the past four years, and Ferrari noted Miller's "dedicated and superb leadership during his tenure as the 42nd Infantry Division commander led to some impressive and truly
outstanding accomplishments. You leave this organization with your unique
stamp and improved readiness across the board," Ferrari said.
Ferrari joined the New Jersey Army National Guard in January 1981 and was commissioned through Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia in March 1982. He served as an Active Duty, full-time, Guardsman from June 1986 to August 2011.
Ferrari served as commander of the New Jersey Army National Guard's 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2008-2009) as a Security Force Brigade with duties in Camp Cropper, Camp Bucca, Balad, Ashraf and Baghdad.
He has held numerous field artillery staff assignments and leadership
positions at the battery and battalion level before assignments to the New
Jersey Army National Guard Joint Force Headquarters as Director of Military Support, Strategic Planner and Chief of Staff.
The ceremony was held on the steps of the New York State Museum that
recently opened its latest exhibit, "A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State
in the First World War" which includes artifacts telling the story of the
42nd Infantry Division in the war.
In World War II, the "Rainbow Division" landed in France and fought across
Germany, taking several major cities, liberating the Dachau Concentration
Camp, and occupying Vienna.
Following World War II, the division became part of the New York National
Guard. Division Soldiers responded to numerous natural disasters, including the North Country ice storm of 1998, the World Trade Center attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, Hurricanes Irene and Lee in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
In 2005, the 42nd Infantry Division became the first National Guard division headquarters to go to war since 1952 when the headquarters led 23,000 Soldiers in North Central Iraq.