Taluto-to-Retire-After-44-Years-of-National-Guard-Service/1086998ALBANY, NY (01/28/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David Paterson today announced that the Adjutant General of New York, Major General Joseph Taluto, will retire after a 44-year career with the National Guard in which he rose from private to two-star general.Major General Taluto was appointed as Adjutant General in 2006 after serving as the commander of a combat division in Iraq in 2005."During his tenure as Adjutant General, Major General Taluto worked tirelessly to bring the New York Army and Air National Guard to full strength, improve the Guard's capabilities to respond to domestic emergencies, and ensure that our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen and their families are cared for - both during and after their service," Governor Paterson said. "Under his direction, the Air National Guard has undertaken new missions with new aircraft, the Army National Guard has deployed more than 2,500 soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the New York National Guard's ability to respond to domestic terrorist attacks and disasters has been tested and refined."Major General Taluto has had a long and distinguished career during which he has served our State and nation with distinction. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to work with him and wish him and his wife Susan well in a well-earned and much deserved retirement," Governor Paterson added.Major General Taluto was nominated by President Barack Obama to become a three-star Lieutenant General and director of the Army National Guard in May 2009. After a delay in the confirmation process he has asked that his nomination be withdrawn so that he can go forward with his long-deferred retirement."While lengthy delays in confirmations are not unusual, I believe this prolonged confirmation process has become a distraction to the New York National Guard and the National Guard overall. While I appreciate all the urging and support I have had to stay the course, this is a crucial time for our National Guard. I feel that withdrawing is the right thing to do because the Army National Guard needs a director as soon as possible," Major General Taluto said. "I believe as I did last year, while contemplating retirement, that we have accomplished what we set out to do four years ago. It is the right time for the Governor to select a new Adjutant General."Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Denise O'Donnell said: "New York is losing a devoted leader and a true patriot with the retirement of Major General Joseph Taluto. His vision to make the New York National Guard the preeminent National Guard in the counrty will live on for decades and will remain a lasting legacy of his strong and effective leadership."As Adjutant General, Major General Taluto led the effort to grow the strength of the Army National Guard by 2,000 members, resulting in the eighth largest Army National Guard in the country and a force that is at assigned strength of 10,400 soldiers.The New York Air National Guard has also maintained its strength and status as the largest Air National Guard in the country, and two of the five air wings have taken on different missions. The 107th Airlift Wing in Niagara Falls has gone from flying air refueling tankers to flying C-130 cargo aircraft in partnership with the Air Force Reserve and the 174th Fighter Wing has transitioned from flying F-16C fighters to remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper attack aircraft.Major General Taluto pushed for the successful creation of a second National Guard team designed to detect the use of chemical and biological weapons known as a Civil Support Team (CST) in New York. This team, based at Fort Hamilton, is focused on operations in the New York City area. He also made the organization of a special 350-member National Guard unit that is trained to extract, decontaminate, and treat victims of a terrorist attack on a building a priority. Under his tenure, this team, known as a CERFP for chemical, biological, radiological, high-yield explosives, Enhance Reaction Force Package, became the second of 17 in the nation to be certified as ready.Major General Taluto oversaw the recreation of the task force of New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen on duty in New York City into a more flexible force focused on planning for many missions in the metropolitan area and not just pulling guard duty at train stations and airports. Under his direction, the New York National Guard conducted several internal domestic response exercises and hosted Vigilant Guard 2009, a national-level exercise held in western New York.Major General Taluto enlisted in the New York Army National Guard in 1965 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant through the Officer Candidate School program in 1968. He began his career as an officer assigned to a Nike-Hercules missile battery whose mission was to protect New York City from attack by Russian bombers during the Cold War, and then became an armor officer, commanding a tank company and working as a staff officer in a tank battalion.He has served as chief of staff of the New York Army National Guard's 53rd Troop Command, the 27th Brigade, and the 42nd Infantry Division, as well as in positions at the State headquarters during his career. In 2000, he was named deputy commander of the 42nd Infantry Division and promoted to brigadier general. In that role he assumed command of the New York National Guard's response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. He directed almost 2,500 members of the National Guard, New York Naval Militia and New York Guard in assisting the New York City Office of Emergency Management.In 2002, he was named commander of the 42nd Infantry Division, responsible for Army National Guard units in New York and surrounding northeastern states. He was promoted to two-star, Major General, in March 2004.Shortly after that the 42nd Infantry Division was tapped to deploy to Iraq to assume command of forces in the region just north of Baghdad, known as Multi-National Division North Central. Major General Taluto went on active duty for 20 months, leading the soldiers of the division through the process of training and deploying into combat. Almost 3,500 New York Army National Guard Soldiers were deployed to Iraq in 2004/2005.In Iraq, Major General Taluto commanded 23,000 Active, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers in four ground maneuver brigades responsible for operations in an area the size of West Virginia. The division received the Meritorious Unit Citation for its efforts in securing critical power transmission systems and oil pipelines in the region, ensuring that the Iraq Constitutional Referendum was conducted successfully, training an Iraqi Army Division, working with local police, and rebuilding local governments and businesses.Major General Taluto's individual awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the several awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Iraqi Campaign Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, several awards of the Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.He and his wife Susan live in Fort Ann, Washington County.