N.Y. Army National Guard Sgt. Alexander Rector, a Rushville resident, is recognized for service in Ukraine

N.Y. Army National Guard Commander, Major Gen. Ray Shields, recognized Soldiers for service during May 25 visit to Ukraine training base

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LATHAM, NY (06/04/2018) New York Army National Guard Sergeant Alexander Rector, a Rushville resident, has been honored for his service in Ukraine by Major General Raymond Shields, the commander of the 10,300-member New York Army National Guard.

Rector, a military photo-journalist, has been serving as the non-commissioned public affairs officer for the Joint Multinational Training Group- Ukraine. He received a challenge coin from Shields in recognition of his service during a May 25, 2018 visit to the 220 New York Army National Guard Soldiers serving with the training group at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center in Ukraine.

The New York Army National Guard Soldiers are part of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Syracuse. Rector normally serves as the Public Affairs NCO for the 27th brigade.

Shields presented Rector with a challenge coin. Challenge coins are presented to Soldiers by high-ranking officers to recognize their work.

Overseen by U.S. Army Europe's 7th Army Training Command, the Joint Multinational Training Group-- Ukraine is a multinational collection of Soldiers working to help Ukraine increase its capacity to defend its sovereignty. Alongside Soldiers from Canada, Denmark, Lithuanian, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, the 27th brigade Soldiers have spent the last seven months giving insight and guidance to the Ukrainian Soldiers who train at the center.

Shields visited the New Yorkers along with New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski and New York Army National Guard Command Chief Warrant Officer Jacqueline O'Keefe.

"The chance to visit our Soldiers helping to train the Ukrainian Army just reinforced my pride in the Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard," Shields said. "We asked them to leave their families and civilian jobs on short notice and they rose to the occasion and have performed extraordinarily well."

The New York National Guard Soldiers will turn over their part of the mission to Soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard's 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is scheduled to occur later this summer.