The commander of the New York National Guard is in Iraq and Kuwait this week to visit New York Army National Guard Soldiers from the Albany, NY area who are deployed there.
Brig. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General, and Command Sgt. Major Robert Van Pelt, the state's top enlisted Soldier, met with members of the 206th Military Police (MP) Company, which is deployed in Basra, Iraq and the 1108th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal, EOD), which is based in Kuwait.
"We want to go over and visit with New York service members, as well as those that they support and understand better what they are doing," Murphy said.
"If we better understand the environment they are working in and the requirements placed on them, I do believe we can come back and provide appropriate resourcing and guidance to better prepare service members for their upcoming deployments," he explained.
The 206th MP Company, with about 180 Soldiers, is headquartered at the Latham Armory with the Division of Military and Naval Affairs headquarter and is comprised of Soldiers from the Utica area and New York City as well as the Capitol Region. The unit deployed to Iraq in September of 2009.
The 206th has been training Iraqi Police, and providing security reaction forces in Basra and assisting in the Provincial Joint Communications Center, the Iraqi version of a 911 call center. The company played a key role in providing security during the elections Iraq conducted in March.
The 1108th EOD Company is based in Kuwait and is responsible for clearing improvised explosive devices, IEDs, from routes into and out of Iraq. The company of 15 Soldiers, which is based at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Scotia, deployed to Iraq in January of this year.
Murphy and Van Pelt also plan to visit members of the 37th Finance Detachment which is deployed in Kuwait to provide financial services to Soldiers based there and Soldiers moving into and out of Iraq. The unit is based in New York City at the Lexington Avenue Armory.
The trip was organized through the Joint Monthly Access for Reserve Components program which allows both Army Reserve and National Guard leaders to go see their troops deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
When he was assigned to Third United States Army in Kuwait from 2004 to 2007, one of Murphy's duties was implementing this very program in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
"The purpose of the JMARC is to provide Soldiers and Airmen with the opportunity to visit with their leadership from back in the states so that, number one, the leadership understands what the service member is doing and number two, to give the leaders exposure to their service members," Murphy said.