Capital Region National Guard senior leader retires after four decades of service

Brigadier General Patrick Center of Charleton finishes Army National Guard career with ceremony, awards.

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LATHAM, N.Y. (08/01/2018) New York Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Patrick Center retired from military service after nearly 40 years in uniform following a ceremony held at the Joint Force Headquarters in Latham, July 31.

Center, from Charleton, N.Y., who served as Director of Joint Staff for the New York National Guard since 2016, first enlisted in 1979 before attending Officer Candidate School in 1985 and receiving a commission in June 1986.

"It really is an honor to do this for Pat," said Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Anthony German, the Adjutant General for New York during the ceremony. "He's one of the most solid people I ever met."

German presented Center with the Army Legion of Merit and the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal for his lifetime of service in the New York Army National Guard.

"I'm happy for Pat, who is able to retire today, but I'm sad for us that he's able to retire today," German said.

Center's responsibilities as Director of Joint Staff coordinated all of New York's Military Forces during domestic operations for civil authorities.

Center oversaw the work of Joint Task Force Empire Shield, the New York National Guard standing security force in New York City, two Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams, the FEMA Region II Homeland Response Force, civic outreach programs of the Citizens Preparedness Training Teams and the New York Counterdrug Task Force.

During his time as Director of the Joint Staff, New York deployed Army and Air Guard forces to Texas, Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Virgin Islands in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in the summer and fall of 2017.

New York Military Forces were also involved in a massive collection and distribution of donated goods for Puerto Rico and responded to Lake Ontario flooding with a massive sand bagging operating a tornado in western New York in the summer of 2017 and snowstorms in the Hudson Valley in 2018 that resulted in lost power for hundreds of thousands of people.

Center leveraged a career in logistics management to the problems and challenges of domestic operations and the deployment, equipping and operations of Guardsmen and women during state emergencies German said.

"One thing you have to understand about him is that he's a logistician through and through," German said.

Prior to his service as Director of the Joint Staff, Center served as Chief of Staff of the New York Army National Guard and was Director of Logistics when the Guard responded to storms in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Troops under his direction pumped half a million gallons of fuel to local government vehicles, moved critical supplies across the state, and managed a logistics support area for 2,500 troops.

Center's problem solving and leadership was critical to the success of thousands of National Guard response forces around the state, German said.

"As another hurricane season approaches, New York is ready," Center told the leadership at the ceremony.

"To all of the Soldiers and Airmen, thank you for the countless hours of hard work during state emergencies that always seem to occur on a late Friday afternoon," Center told the assembled staff. "Your work is never done. May I remind you that hurricane season is approaching?"

Center has also served as the Deputy Officer in Charge of the United States Property and Fiscal Operations Office for New York and as executive officer for the Adjutant General of New York.

"It is my honor to have served 40 years in the Guard," Center said. "In hindsight, nearly all of it was fun. Did I mention that hurricane season is almost here?"

Other jobs include commander of the 369th Quartermaster Battalion, Supply and Services Branch Chief for the New York Army National Guard's Logistics Office, Commander for Headquarters Company of the 427th Support Battalion, Assistant Logistics Officer for the 42nd Infantry Division, quartermaster company commander and transportation detachment commander.

He has served as a federal technician working full-time for the National Guard throughout his career.

"In today's society, there are so few who commit to a career that spans 40 years," said New York Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Richard White after presenting Center with a governor's proclamation, "no less having the distinction of doing it right, so congratulations."

Center is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and Nyack College and a National Security Management Certificate from Syracuse University's Maxwell School.