New York Guard

The New York Guard

The patch worn by New York Guard members
Active 1917–present
Country  United States
Allegiance  New York
Type   State defense force
Role "To Support the New York military forces"
Part of New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs
Civilian leadership Governor Andrew Cuomo
(Governor of the State of New York)
State military leadership Brigadier General Stephen A. Bucaria

The New York Guard is the state defense force of New York State, also called The New York State Military Reserve. As of June 2008, the New York Guard, a recognized command under the New York State's Military law, has line-item funding in the state budget.[1]

Now with a unified command structure, formerly the organization contained an Army Division and an Air Division. The missions of the New York Guard include augmentation, assistance, and support of the New York Army National Guard and New York Air National Guard respectively and aide to civil authorities in New York State. New York also has a New York Naval Militia which, with the State Guard and the Army and Air National Guards, is under the command of the Governor of New York, the Adjutant General of New York, and the Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA).

The New York Guard is one of the largest and best organized State Guards in the United States. It is historically derived from Revolutionary and Civil War era state military units that were reorganized several times in American history in response to various international and domestic crises.

Organized under the Military Law, State of New York, the New York Guard cannot be federalized and cannot be deployed outside New York State without the consent of the governor.

Members of the New York Guard are entitled to many of the benefits accorded members of other components of the 'Organized Militia of the State of New York,' the legal collective term describing the New York Army and Air National Guards, New York Naval Militia and New York Guard. These include 'military leave' for employees of state or local governments and many private employers.

Civil War era

For more detail, see List of New York Civil War Regiments

The New York Seventh in Washington, DC, 1861

Many units of New York State militia saw service in the American Civil War, after being activated into federal service by President Abraham Lincoln.

The activation of state militia by President Abraham Lincoln led to some conflict with State authorities in command of the units:

With the advent of the Civil War in April, 1861, the 14th regiment saw its first war service in guarding the Brooklyn Navy Yard. By mid-April of that year, the "Brooklyn Chasseurs" were ready to leave New York for Washington D.C. Colonel Alfred Wood advised the Honorable Governor Morgan that the regiment was prepared to march and had accepted a three-year federal enlistment. However, the governor would not issue orders for the regiment to leave New York. While encamped at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn , Colonel Wood and Congressman Moses O'Dell went to see President Lincoln to secure orders for the regiment to march to Washington. President Lincoln lost no time in issuing those orders to the 14th Brooklyn. When Governor Morgan learned that the regiment was preparing to march, he telegraphed Colonel Wood and inquired "by what authority" did he move his regiment, Colonel Wood coolly replied, "By the authority of the President of the United States."[2]

Following the Civil War, efforts were made to link the varied military units in New York under overall headquarters. As a result of this, the 3rd Brigade, New York State Militia, came into being on 5 August 1886.[3]

New York Guard created, 1917

On 3 August 1917, the Adjutant General of New York, in order to comply with the provisions of the State Constitution requiring that troops be available to the Governor for the protection of life and property of the citizens of New York, organized a state military force known as the New York Guard. The new force replaced the New York National Guard, drafted in the service of the United States on 5 August 1917. The force consisted of the First and Second Provisional Regiments, guarding aqueducts and other infrastructure in the southern portion (First Provisional Regiment) and the remaining parts of the state.

On January 1, 1919, the Guard numbered 22,000 in active service. After the Armistice federalized New York National Guard Units were returned to State control.

General Pershing and Private Ruth in Washington, 1924

On May 21, 1924, Babe Ruth joined the New York National Guard and was Assigned to the 104th now known as the New York State Guard 2nd 104th In Jamaica Queens Armory.

A Legend Among Us: New York Guard History Reclaimed

George Herman Ruth, popularly known as "The Babe", "The Bambino", and "The Sultan of Swat", was a member of the 104th Field Artillery, the very same unit today known as the 2nd Battalion, 104th Regiment in Jamaica Queens. On May 21, 1924* the king of baseball homeruns signed the dotted line for three years and joined the proud ranks of civilian soldiers.

Babe Ruth was sworn in by Colonel James Austin at the Isle of Safety in Times Square in front of a military tent used for enlistment drives. Once the enlistment papers were filled he symbolically placed them into the open jaws of a horse drawn French 75-millimeter gun. He was then immediately placed under the command of First Sergeant Adrian Jacques who was in charge of the regiment present. He served while he played in the stadium he was destined to rebuild. A May 29 Washington Post article reported that he appeared before General John Joseph Pershing at State, War and Navy building in Washington** once he was fitted and squared away.

104th Field Artillery Armory

The 104th Field Artillery underwent several changes over the years while in active duty. The unit served briefly under Federal control on November 5, 1916 for Mexican border control, then returned to state status on November 15, 1916. In addition, the unit was activated for Federal service during World War I and II. It wasn’t until 1917 that the unit received its destination as the 104th Field Artillery and saw extensive service in France.

After World War I, the unit was demobilized but shortly reactivated into the New York National Guard until 1959 when it reorganized as the 104th Field Artillery Regiment. In the early 1990s, the New York Guard was reorganized at the Jamaica Queens Armory and redesigned as the 2nd Battalion, 104th Regiment.[4][5]

New York Guard, 1940

With the advent of World War II, New York National Guard units were federalized and the New York Guard was created for service to the State.[6]

In 1942, former Heavyweight champion boxer Lt Jack Dempsey joined New York Guard.

New York Guard, 2001 and beyond

In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the New York Guard provided security, disaster relief, legal, communications and other services to New York City and the surrounding areas in cooperation with the National Guard. During this period, Major General John F. Bahrenburg was Commander of the New York Guard (his tenure as Commander was from 1999 to 2002).[7]

The New York Guard experienced a resurgence after the September 11, 2001 attacks. New York Guard units were activated after the attacks, performing a variety of missions, including, logistical support to forces stationed at "Ground Zero". Medical units of the Guard worked in conjunction with other DMNA forces providing care at several location including Camp Smith, in Westchester county.

Principal occupational specialties of the New York Guard include, communications, engineering, medical and legal services, provided in support of all components of New York State military forces, i.e., the Army and Air National Guards, Naval Militia and the New York Guard, as well as to civil authorities.

Trained and state-certified New York Guard soldiers augment and assist National Guard units in the following missions: weapons of mass destruction [WMD] decontamination - the joint New York Army National Guard / New York Air National Guard / New York Guard decontamination - or CERF - team was activated by the governor for state duty for 11 days during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, Military Emergency Radio Network - the Guard is assigned to operate the MERN at various locations to insure the free flow of information during an emergency, and search and rescue (SAR) a secondary mission to the state - New York Guard SAR teams have been mobilized, for example, in the summer of 2006 to search for a missing camper in the Adirondack Mountains preserve. Selected units and personnel of the New York Guard were called to State Active Duty with pay in response to Hurricane Irene in 2011.

2012 saw the largest deployment of the New York Guard since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Every brigade was at least partially activated for service during 'Superstorm' Sandy. New York Guard members served as equals alongside the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and New York Naval Militia, at one point making up approximately one third of all troops in the field during a two-month deployment.

New York Guard Staff Sgt. Joseph Dee fires an M9 pistol during the 35th Annual "TAG (The Adjutant General) Match.

New York State Guard personnel provide training to the New York Army and Air national guards including first aid and firearms training at Camp Smith training center.

The 244th Medical Clinic works with the NY Army National Guard Medical Command (MEDCOM), augmenting National Guard personnel for in-state MEDCOM missions. These have included screening of National Guard personnel in Soldier Readiness Programs and 'reintegration' programs for both soldiers and their families upon troops' return from overseas deployment.

In addition to its SAR work as a secondary mission under the New York State Defense Emergency Act and Article 2-B of State and Local, Natural and Man-Made disasters Act, engineer units of the NY Guard 10th and 65th Brigades have built facilities for the National Guard.

Civil affairs units provide legal services to about-to-deploy troops such as wills and counseling on legal protections under federal and state law.

The New York Guard augments the capabilities of the National Guard, serving only within New York State. Guard personnel are drawn from almost every profession – from plumbers to professors, clerks and CEOs, persons with long prior military service and those without, and every part of the state.

The headquarters unit of the New York Guard is located at Camp Smith, Cortlandt Manor, New York. Camp Smith is a New York State military reservation. It is adjacent to Peekskill, New York, and about 35 miles north of New York City.

Military Occupational Specialties

The New York Guard conducts annual training at Camp Smith.

The following are some of the many Military Occupational Specialties in the New York state guard:


All New York Guard enlisted recruits, unless they have prior military experience, must attend Initial Entry Training (IET). After completion of one week of IET at Camp Smith, soldiers may take any of the following courses based on their military occupational specialty (MOS) and rank. Officers, unless they have prior commissioned military experience, must complete a branch immaterial officer's basic course after appointment.


New York Guard Staff Sgt. Joe Dee stands front and center holding the "Sergeant Joe Dee Combined Arms Team Champion' award.

The following schools are offered by the New York Guard.

Additional training

Most NYG soldiers have augmented their training by taking courses with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and various other local and state agencies.

Major subordinate commands

A New York Guard volunteer during a hazardous materials response exercise in Oriskany.

The major subordinate commands of the New York Guard are:[8]

89th Army Band New York Guard: Representing the NY Guard by participating in parades, ceremonies, patriotic events. The band also honors and supports our veterans, especially those in veteran’s homes and hospitals.

Pay and Benefits

To reward service to the nation, state and community, government and private organizations provide benefits to NY Guard soldiers.[9] The benefits include:

Awards and decorations

New York Guard personnel are eligible to receive both New York State and New York Guard awards and decorations. The New York Guard issues several awards.

New York Guard (NYG) awards:[11]

Descriptions of New York State awards and decorations may be found at the web site of the New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs:[12]

See also


  1. The State Guard Sentinel; Volume 1, No. 3 New York Guard, Spring 2008
  2. A History of the 14th Regiment N.Y.S.M. Infantry
  3. "53rd Troop Command History". New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  4. New York Times, May 21, 1924, pg. 10
  5. The Washington Post, May 29, 1924
  6. NY Guard Members Remember New York Guard State Volunteer Force, May 6, 2011
  9. NYG Pay and Benefits
  10. New York State Patriot’s Plan
  11. New York Guard Decorations and Awards
  12. New York Guard Awards Order of Precedence

Unit pages

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