CAMP SMITH, CORTLANDT MANOR NY (10/22/2015)(readMedia)-- An Iraq War veteran will take command of the New York Army National Guard's only field artillery battalion on Saturday, October 24, at Camp Smith Training Site.
Major Pete Mehling will replace Lt. Col. David Feeley as commander of the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery, which is headquartered in Jamaica, Queens, during a traditional change of command ceremony at Camp Smith. One of the battalion's two firing units, called a battery, is headquartered in New Windsor, Battery A, 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery.
The battalion will also hold a change of responsibility ceremony in which Command Sgt. Major Edwin Garris will take over from Command Sgt. Major Arnold G. Reyes as the top enlisted Soldier in the battalion. The Command Sergeant Major is the advisor to the commander on enlisted Soldier training and issues.
WHO: Major Pete Mehling, the incoming commander; Lt. Col. David Feeley, the outgoing commander; Col. Joseph Biehler, the commander of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the officer presiding over the ceremony, and the Soldiers of the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery.
WHAT: A traditional change of command in which the outgoing commander passes the battalion's flag, known as the colors, to the incoming commander. Traditionally the unit's colors indicated the location of the commander on the battlefield. The transfer of the colors in front of the assembled Soldiers allowed those men to see who they would be following into combat. A similar ceremony will mark the change of responsibility for the incoming and outgoing command sergeants major.
WHEN: 11 a.m., Saturday Oct. 24, 2015. (Ceremony starts promptly at 11. a.m.)
WHERE: Camp Smith Training Site, Route 202, Cortlandt Manor
The incoming and outgoing commander and sergeants major will be available for interviews. Visual imagery opportunities include the Soldiers in formation and the traditional transfer of the colors.
Members of the press seeking access to this secure military facility must contact Major Brandon Gendron at 718-480-2704 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Major Pete Mehling
Major Peter Mehling was commissioned as an artillery officer in 1997 and has served in a variety of command and staff positions in both the Active Army and the New York Army National Guard. He is currently eligible for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and will attain that rank after assuming command of the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery.
Mehling served in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division, with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, and with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley Kansas. He deployed to Ar Ramadi, Iraq with the 1st Infantry Division and also served in Bosnia.
Since joining the New York Army National Guard he has served as the Plans and Operations Officer for the 42nd Infantry Division in Troy, New York and has also served as Operations andTraining Officer and Executive Officer for the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery.
Mehling is a graduate of the Field Artillery Basic and Advanced Courses, the US Army Command and General Staff College Intermediate Level Education and Advanced Operations Course. Mehling holds a degree from John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio.
He is a full-time member of the New York Army National Guard.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Army Service Ribbon, the Korean Defense Service Medal, and the NATO Medal.
He has also earned the US Army Ranger Tab and the US Army Parachutist Badge.
Mehling resides in Providence, Saratoga County, with his wife Jennifer and has four children, William, Elizabeth, Katherine, and Charles.
Lt. Col. David Feeley
Lt. Col. David Feeley, has led the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery since October 2013. He was commissioned in 1993 and served in the Active Army in Korea, with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, and with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, before joining the New York Army National Guard in 2000.
In the New York Army National Guard, Feeley has served in a number of field artillery command and staff positions. He commanded Army National Guard Soldiers on duty at LaGuardia Airport following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and deployed to Iraq with the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry in 2004.
From 2009 to 2013 he served in staff positions at the National Guard Bureau in Washington before returning to New York to command the 258th Field Artillery.
Feeley has been selected for promotion to Colonel and will be assigned to Fort Jackson, South Carolina and has also been selected to participate in a class at the Harvard Business School in 2016.
Feeley is married to Eileen (Bowden) Feeley; they have two children, James, age 5, and Katherine, age 3.
Command Sergeant Major Edwin Garris
Command Sgt. Major Edwin Garris is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He joined the Army in 1983 and served in the active Army until 1994, in a variety of enlisted positions in the Field Artillery.
In 1999 Garris joined the New York Army National Guard. He has served in a number of units including the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery, the 1st Battalion 127th Armor, the 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry and the headquarters of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the New York Army National Guard.
Garris has also served as the operations Sgt. Major for the Homeland Response Force which the New York National Guard provides for FEMA Region II and as the Command Sergeant Major for the 102nd Military Police Battalion in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Southwest Asian Service Medal, NATO Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.
He lives in Buffalo with his wife Cynthia and their three children.
Command Sgt. Major Arnold Reyes
Command Sgt. Major Arnold Reyes enlisted in the Army in 1984 and has served in the Active Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. He is currently serving as the Command Sgt. Major for the New York Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry.
Reyes as served in a number of positions in the Army Medical Corps, Infantry, Air Defense Artillery, and as an Artilleryman.
He deployed to Iraq in 2004/2005 with the 1st Battalion 69th Infantry and served in Baghdad.
His award include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, New York State Defense of Liberty Medal for responding to the 9/11 attacks and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
In civilian life, Reyes is a a Police Officer with the Suffolk County Police Department and specializes as a Tactical Medic and patrol rifleman within the department.
Reyes resides in Selden, NY, with his wife, Corinne, and their two children Brianna and Vincent.
1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery
The 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery is equipped with M-119A2 light weight howitzers, which fire 105 millimeter ammunition, and provides fire support to the New York Army National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The battalion is headquartered in Jamaica, Queens in New York City and has elements located in the Bronx and New Windsor in the Hudson Valley.
The unit traces its history back to two New York militia artillery regiments formed in the 1780s. One of those regiments provided the military escort for George Washington's inauguration as president in New York City in 1789. Since then the battalion has been known as the Washington Grays.
Units that the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery traces its lineage back to have served in the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and World Wars I and II. Soldiers of the 258th Field Artillery responded to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have also responded to Hurricanes Irene and Lee in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.