The Department of Defense recently issued mobilization orders for the initial security force elements. Those Citizen Soldiers are expected to mobilize in late September. Their call to active duty will be the initial mobilization of the entire task force scheduled to deploy over the coming six months.
The 27th will take command of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII, with the continuing mission of training, mentoring and supporting the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police. Presently, the South Carolina Army National Guard's 218th Brigade is performing this mission having taken over from the Washington Guard's 41st Brigade in May.
The task force from New York will include Soldiers from the New York City and Hudson Valley areas, the Capital District, the North Country and Central and Western New York.
"The New York National Guard is the only part of America's military that served at Ground Zero following the 9-11 terrorist attacks and then has gone to war abroad," said Governor Eliot Spitzer, State Commander in Chief. "Helping the new Afghan government develop its security forces so that it can better serve and protect its people is a fitting mission for New York Citizen Soldiers. The New York National Guard has served our nation, this state and our communities with distinction and honor, whether it was in response to natural disasters, responding to the terrorist attacks or guarding New York's critical infra structure. All New Yorkers join me in saluting our team and pledging our support to the 27th and its military families as they take on this challenging and important mission," he said.
"This will be the largest single federal deployment of New York Army National Guard personnel since 2003," said Major General Joseph J. Taluto, The Adjutant General of New York and commander of the New York Army National Guard. In 2005, General Taluto commanded New York's 42nd Infantry Division in Iraq and was named Adjutant General in January 2006 following his return.
"This assignment will see the deployment of some of New York's best officer and non-commissioned officer leaders to help mentor and train Afghanistan's National Security Forces at nearly every command level," he said. "Many of these New Yorkers served at the World Trade Center site in 2001 and some when on to serve in Iraq. The New York National Guard has a hard-won record of achievement over a wide range of missions. Our members are exceptional people who daily demonstrate their special skill sets and their devotion to duty both at home and abroad," he said. "Our personnel have gone from Ground Zero to the Sunni Triangle and will now go on to the mountains of Afghanistan in service to nation, state and community. All New Yorkers deserve to be as proud of them as I am," said General Taluto.
In addition to the Syracuse-based 27th Brigade Headquarters, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII will include a Training Assistance Group formed from the Guard's 106th Regional Training Institute based at Camp Smith in the Hudson Valley and mentoring teams drawn from Guard combat and combat support units, security force personnel from the Western New York-based 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry and the Plattsburgh-based Company B, 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry, and logistic and support personnel from the 427th Forward Support Battalion from various armories statewide.
More than 6,000 members of the New York Army National Guard have been called to federal active duty for service mostly in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2003. Deployment levels peaked in 2004, when more than 3,500 troops assigned to nearly a dozen different units were on duty. About 500 Soldiers from a New York Military Police company, a medical company, a personnel services detachment and a 16-member Embedded Training Team to Afghanistan are presently deployed.
Over the last year, the New York National Guard has responded to several natural disasters in New York, including last summer's floods along the Southern Tier, a pre-season winter storm in Western New York last October, a blizzard in February in Central New York, a Nor 'Easter in the Hudson Valley in April and wash outs in the Catskills in June. New York has also sent more than 650 troops over the last year to Arizona to help guard the U.S./ Mexico Border as part of Operation Jump Start.
In addition, New York National Guard troops continue to support New York's civil authorities by helping to protect Grand Central and Penn Stations in Manhattan, Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports in Queens and the state's four nuclear power sites.
In February 2007 more than a 100 NY Army National Guard engineers were called to State Active Duty to support civil authorities with snow removal operations in Oswego County following a major blizzard.