CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT - Major General Anthony German, the Adjutant General of New York, got a firsthand look at the missions New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are conducting during a May 16-18 visit here.
The trip gave German, and Brig. Gen. Michel Natali, the commander of the New York Army National Guard's 53rd Troop Command, a chance to talk to Airmen and Soldiers from the 369th Sustainment Brigade, the 1156th Engineer Company, and New York Air National Guard Airmen serving with the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing.
German is the commander of the 16,000 men and women of the New York Army and Air National Guard. Natali is the commander of 4,500 New York Army National Guard Soldiers which include the men and women serving in the 369th and the 1156th.
"I thank each and every one of you for your service, and appreciate all of your hard work," German said during a meeting with members of the 369th Sustainment Brigade. "Seeing everything you are doing, I want to say your accomplishments are amazing."
"Soldiers come on a deployment, and will be tasked with a completely different job than what they are trained for, but each one of your jobs have to be done. It's called service for a reason, and it needs to be done," German added.
The 369th Sustainment Brigade, headquartered in New York City, but with Soldiers assigned from across the state, is the largest New York National Guard element serving in Kuwait.
The 250 Soldiers deployed to Kuwait are coordinating logistical support for U.S. troops across the region.
The 369th Sustainment Brigade provides support for troops engaged in Operation Inherent Resolve in both Iraq and Syria. The brigade also supports logistics distribution and personnel across 10 different countries and in 35 different locations.
The 1156th Engineer Company is part of the 204th Engineer Battalion. The unit mobilized 150 troops who are conducting a variety of construction projects in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Thirteen New York Air National Guard members are currently serving with the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing which provides Air Force support across the Central Command area of operations.
During his meeting with 369th Sustainment Brigade Soldiers, German fielded questions about New York Army National Guard force structure, military schools, budget constraints, and the future of the 369th.
The 369th Sustainment Brigade is a headquarters element which provides mission command to a number of logistics units.
New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski, and Command Sgt, Major Corey Cush, from the 53rd Troop Command, also accompanied German and Natali on the visit.
"Thank you for what you are doing, we appreciate you and wanted to come personally and thank you all for such a tremendous job," Cush told the Soldiers.
The 369th Sustainment Brigade traces its history back to the 15th New York Infantry which was organized in 1916 as an African-American infantry regiment in a segregated Army. The regiment became famous during World War I as the 369th Infantry, known as the Harlem Hellfighters.
As a sustainment brigade the 369th has deployed troops to Mali and Cameroon in support of the United States Africa Command in training exercises with African militaries. Soldiers of the 369th also played a key role in providing logistics support during the New York National Guard's response to
Superstorm Sandy in 2012.