NY National Guard Liaison unit gets new command at Camp Smith on Saturday, Feb. 27

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Col. Chris Guilmette

CAMP SMITH TRAINING SITE, NEW YORK (02/26/2021) (readMedia)-- The New York Army National Guard's 53rd Digital Liaison Detachment, headquartered at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan, welcomes a new commander during a formal change-of-command ceremony at the Camp Smith Training Site in Cortlandt Manor on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Col. Chris A. Guilmette will replace White Plains resident, Col. Todd Bookless as the commander of the Digital Liaison Detachment, or DLD for short.

Members of the press are invited to cover the ceremony.

WHO: Col. Chris A. Guilmette, the incoming commander; Col. Todd Bookless, the outgoing commander; Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York and the presiding officer; leaders of the 53rd Troop Command from around the state.

WHAT: A traditional change-of-command ceremony in which the colors, or flag, of the 53rd Digital Liaison Detachment will be transferred from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander. Traditionally the unit colors indicate the commander's location on the battlefield. The traditional military ceremony allows the Soldiers to see who they will follow in battle.

WHEN: 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 27, 2021.

WHERE: Camp Smith Training Site, Cortlandt Manor. Enter via main gate on Bear Mountain Road. Media are asked to arrive no later than 9:30 a.m. for escort and setup.

Coverage opportunities:

Still and video images of the ceremony. There will be an opportunity to interview both Bookless and Guilmette.

Members of the press must call Staff Sgt. Jonathan Pietrantoni at 516-655-1336 for access to this secure military facility. Press must have identification and wearing of face masks will be required.


Col. Chris A. Guilmette

Guilmette, a Voorheesville, N.Y., resident, has served as an engineer company commander for the 121st Engineer Battalion (Maryland Army National Guard), an intelligence officer, plans officer, and operations officer for the 204th Engineer Battalion, liaison officer for the 42nd Infantry Division, Commander of the 204th Engineer Battalion and Chief of Plans for the 42nd.

From 2010 to 2013 he served as the Brigade Engineer for the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Syracuse. This included an active duty deployment to Kuwait in 2012.

Guilmette recently returned from a deployment with the 42nd Infantry Division where he served as the Chief of Protection and led the Division's Force Health Protection response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guilmette holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His military education includes the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Combined Arms Staff Services School and holds a Masters of Strategic Studies (2018) from the US Army War College.

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, and the Maryland National Guard Outstanding Unit Award.

In civilian life, Guilmette is employed as a professional engineer with Iron Mountain Data Centers.

Col. Todd Bookless

Todd Bookless is a native of White Plains, N.Y. He qualified in the UH-1 "Huey" helicopter and the OH-58 Kiowa helicopter at Fort Rucker Alabama, following his commissioning as a second lieutenant in 1994. He has since qualified to fly the UH-60 Blackhawk.

While in the active Army he served as a platoon leader in the 24th Infantry Division, and an assistant operations officer in the 3rd Infantry Division. He also served as a logistics officer and a helicopter cavalry troop commander in the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

After joining the New York Army National Guard he served in a variety of positions to include Assistant Operations Officer for the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Forward Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq in 2005.

In 2011-2012 he deployed to Kuwait with the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as the 27th Military Engagement Team Executive Officer. The team was based out of Kuwait and Bookless conducted military-to-military engagements in Iraq and Jordan.

In 2015-2016 he served as the Officer in charge of a team from the 42nd Infantry Division which deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to assist in running the Joint Task Force responsible for the detention facilities there. Bookless served as the deputy director of the task force's joint operations section.

In 2016 he commanded the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion and went on to command the 53rd Digital Liaison Detachment in April 2019.

Bookless is a graduate of the Aviation Officer Basic Course, the Aviation Captain Career Course, the Army's Combined Arms & Services Staff School, the NATO Reserve Forces Integration Course, Command & General Staff College and Advanced Operations Warfighting Course. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Systems Engineering.

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Army Aviator Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.

Bookless is currently serving on an active duty tour assigned to NORAD & USNORTHCOM as their Division Chief of Global Force Management.

53rd Digital Liaison Detachment

The unit trains to coordinate, communicate and facilitate all aspects of military operations at higher level-headquarters. The DLD is specifically designed and dedicated to providing a critical capability for mission command liaison and interoperability. The unit carries the lineage and honors of the New York National Guard's historic 7th Regiment.