Posts Tagged ‘National Guard’

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Second Olympic Bobsledder Joins National Guard

A second Olympic bobsledder has joined the New York Army National Guard. Nicholas Cunningham, a member of the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team in 2010, will take time away from training in Lake Placid to become a Carpentry and Masonry Specialist for the 1156th Engineer Company in Kingston, NY.

In January Olympic Gold Medal Bobsledder Justin Olsen enlisted in the New York Army National Guard under the same program. Olsen has been a member of the United States Bobsled team since 2007; he will report for basic training at the end of April.

“I just signed my papers with the New York Army National Guard and I’m off to basic training in two weeks,” Cunningham said in a Twitter message sent last Monday.

Olsen said he began thinking about the National Guard when his fellow USA Bobsled teammate Mike Kohn, who was then a sergeant in the Virginia Army National Guard, told him about the Army National Guard and the Army Athlete Program.

Olsen made the World Cup team in his first season and became one of the nation’s top bobsledders, he is one of two pushers on the four-man team.

In 2008, Olsen earned a spot on sled USA 1 with driver Steven Holcomb, winning two silver and two bronze medals in the first half of the World Cup tour. Olsen also helped push Holcomb to a first place finish at the 2009 National Championships for four-man and a silver medal at the inaugural World Cup in Whistler, Canada.

At the 2009 World Championships, Olsen teamed with Holcomb again to win gold in the four-man and a Gold Medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Cunningham, 27, who took 12th place in the 2010 Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsled category, made the official switch from the back of the sled to the driver’s seat, and has been named as an emerging elite driver for the U.S. program. Coaches expect Cunningham to be vying for a spot on the national team as a pilot next season.

Once they complete their individual entry training, both men are expected to apply for the Army World Class Athlete Program which provides athletes with support and training to compete in national and international competitions while maintaining a professional military career and promoting the US Army.

Selection in the Army World Class Athlete program is open to members of the active Army, Army Reserve and National Guard who compete in an Olympic sport and have maintained good military standing. Once a National Guard Soldier is selected, they are brought on active duty and performance is monitored for selection and attendance to required military schools to ensure program Soldiers remain competitive with their military counterparts.

Since the program’s inception in 1997, 40 Soldier-athletes have participated in the summer and winter Olympic Games winning Gold, Silver and Bronze Olympic Medals.

Photo: 2010 Olympic Gold Medal Winner Justin Olsen displays his Gold Medal after enlisting into the New York Army National Guard, Jan. 7. Photo by SFC Steven Petibone, New York Army National Guard.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Former Military Rifle Range Inspections Set

The National Guard Bureau will surveying old National Guard rifle range in Ticonderoga, Malone, Glens Falls, and Saratoga Springs for the presence of environmental poisons this summer. The ranges are among 23 former New York Army National Guard training sites used between 1873 and 1994.

The program is being conducted worldwide to address human health, safety, and environmental concerns at former non-operational defense sites. This includes over 400 sites in 48 states and two territories formerly used by the National Guard. The training sites in New York vary in size from 3.7 to 939 acres.

Currently, the New York National Guard has three training sites located in Guilderland, Youngstown and at Camp Smith, near Peekskill. Soldiers also train regularly at Ft. Drum, near Watertown.

Current property owners are in the process of being asked to allow contractors on their property to conduct this check which although mandated by the Department of Defense Military Munitions Response Program, will only include soil samples from a depth “less than two to three inches.” The survey will also a visual inspection and checks with hand-held metal detectors. According to a press release issued by the Guard, “the inspectors will collect the samples with disposable plastic spoons, which are about the size of an ice cream scoop.”

A preliminary assessment to identify locations, research historical records, land usage and past incident(s) in the area was completed in 2008; this summer’s site inspections are expected to collect additional information, data and samples necessary to determine if following actions are warranted.

About the sites:

The Malone Small Arms Range was used from about 1895 to 1985. The range was approximately 43 acres; the range layout and boundary are unknown, as are the types of ammunition used there. The former range is located on state land, redeveloped for a correctional facility, northwest of Malone.

An older Ticonderoga Small Arms Range measured about 406 acres and was used from about 1950 to 1973; the newer one measured 105 acres and was used from about 1986 to 1994. The layouts and boundaries of the ranges are unknown, as are the types of ammunition used at them. The former ranges are located between Vineyard Road and Corduroy Road.

The Glens Falls Small Arms Range was used from about 1878 to 1955. The range was approximately 876 acres; the range layout has been verified, but the types of ammunition used there are unknown. The former range is located on forested, municipal property north of Peggy Ann Road.

The Saratoga Springs Small Arms Range was used from about 1878 to 1951. The range was approximately 100 acres; the range layout has been verified, but the types of ammunition used there are unknown. The former range is located on residential properties and forested land east of Weibel Avenue.

Anyone who has documents, records or photographs of the range are encouraged to contact Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo at [email protected] or (518) 786-4579.

Photo: New York Army National Guard Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, conduct weapons training at the Guilderland Weekend Training Center.