Farmingdale, N.Y.— New York Governor Kathy Hochul was on site at the Farmingdale Armed Forces Reserve Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, to thank Soldiers and Airmen of the New York National Guard for serving as a standby force in case Hurricane Lee turned west and hit Long Island.
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Hochul directed the New York National Guard to mobilize 50 personnel to assist Long Island local governments in case Lee hit the island.
The New York National Guard mobilized 30 Soldiers and 20 Airmen which 12 Humvees and high axle trucks in response.
“Out of an abundance of caution, I have deployed the National Guard and directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets and be ready to respond to local requests for assistance, “the governor said.
The troops reported in on Thursday to the Farmingdale site which hosts Army National Guard units and to F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach on the eastern end of Long Island.
During Hochul’s visit to the Reserve Center, she shook hands with the Guardsmen, thanking each individual for their dedication and service.
She has a great deal of respect for military people, Hochul told the group. For that reason, when she served in Congress, she asked to be on the House Armed Services Committee, she said.
“It’s a volunteer military and that really means a lot to me,” Hochul told the Soldiers and Airmen.
Air National Guard Senior Airman Gariel Quintana Calle, a 106th Medical Group medical technician and a Bayshore resident, said he appreciated the governor’s visit.
“It was an honor meeting the Governor,” said Quintana Calle. “It really has been eventful week of new experiences and learning the mission,” he continued. “I’m just trying to be as helpful as best I can.”
Major General Ray Shield, the adjutant general of New York, greeted the governor and briefed her on the mission.
The New York National Guard puts great emphasis on being prepared to response to disasters, he told her.
“We need to be prepared and have our equipment set,” Shields said. “If the State does require us, we are ready.”
The task force positions seven vehicles in Farmingdale and five vehicles at Gabreski. The task force headquarters was also located at Gabreski with 15 personnel providing command and control and logistics support.
“We are ready to respond,” Shields said. “We are always ready, always there.”