New York Guard , state's defense force, marks 100 years on August 9

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Members of the New York Guard during training at Camp Smith.

CAMP SMITH, CORTLANDT MANOR, NY (08/08/2017) (readMedia)-- Members of the New York Guard, the state's volunteer state defense force, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of their organization during a morning ceremony on Wednesday, August 9 at Camp Smith Training Site.

WHO: Two hundred and fifty members of the New York Guard and invited guests.

WHAT: A formation and short ceremony in which a plaque marking the centennial of the New York Guard will be unveiled. The plaque will be placed at Camp Smith, where the New York Guard has its headquarters. The event will feature remarks from the Adjutant General, Major General Anthony German, and New York Guard leaders. Following the formation members of the press can observe New York Guard members training.

WHEN: 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 9, 2017.

WHERE: Camp Smith Training Site, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.

Coverage opportunities:

Video and still imagery opportunities include New York Guard troops in formation and the unveiling of the plaque. There will be opportunities to interview Major General German and New York Guard members and leaders.

For access to this secure military installation members of the press must contact New York Guard Capt. Mark Getman at 516-644-9743.


The New York Guard is the state's uniformed defense force which augments the New York Army and Air National Guard during state emergencies. New York Guard members are true volunteers. They receive no pay for routine training but are paid when placed on State Active Duty orders during an emergency. New York Guard members – many of whom are retired members of the National Guard or active duty military with many years of experience-assist National Guard units with logistics and administrative support during emergencies and also undertake missions in the field.

The New York Guard was established on August 12, 1917 during World War 1 when the New York National Guard was mobilized and began training to head for the battlefields of France.

The Guardsmen had been on duty protecting bridges, tunnels, the New York City water system and the Erie Canal from German sabotage. This was no idle threat. In 1916 German spies had blown of the Black Tom ammunition depot in New Jersey, even before America joined the war on the Allied side.

To replace the National Guard, congress authorized the creation of state militia's to replace the National Guard and New York's legislature acted.

By October 1917 there were 10,600 men serving in the New York Guard. The state created the 1st and 2nd Provisional Brigades in which New York Guard members served full-time serving on guard duty for $1.25 a day. Men too young to be drafted or enlist in the Army served, as did men too old for Army service.

When the world-wide influenza pandemic swept the world in 1918, 32 members of the New York Guard who were serving in the Hudson Valley died of the disease.

In World War II the New York Guard was created once again and served the same mission, acting as a state military force in the absence of the National Guard Soldiers fighting in Europe and the Pacific.

In the 1950s the New York Guard was created as a full-time force and members have served ever since.

While New York Guard members wear military uniforms similar to the Army National Guard, they have no federal military obligation and do not serve outside the state.