National Guard recognizes local trio

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LATHAM — New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. Aaron Lefton, commander of the state’s COVID-19 response force, recognized members of the task force for excellence during the past seven months of duties during recent ceremonies in the Capital and Central New York regions.

Among those honored include:

Spc. Sean Mclean, of Utica, who received a commander’s challenge coin for exemplary service with the task force COVID-19 response efforts. Mclean is normally assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry and has supported the Task Force COVID missions at the Oneida test site;

Spc. Neil Maxwell, of Rome, who received a commander’s challenge coin for exemplary service with the task force COVID-19 response efforts. Maxwell is normally assigned to the 427th Brigade Support Battalion and has supported the Task Force COVID missions at the Oriskany logistics site; and

Pfc. Gabrielle Newman, of Stittville, who received a commander’s challenge coin for exemplary service with the task force COVID-19 response efforts. Newman is normally assigned to the Company A, 427th Brigade Support Battalion and has supported the Task Force COVID missions at the Oriskany logistics site.

Soldiers and Airmen continue to help staff 15 COVID-19 drive-in test sites located across the state from Long Island to Buffalo. As of Friday, personnel helped administer 802,000 tests at those locations. New York National Guard personnel are also working to help state emergency and department of health personnel conduct logistics and warehouse operations at warehouse facilities located across the state.

Another enduring mission is the assembly of COVID-19 test kits in support of the New York State Department of Health. Guard Soldiers and Airmen have assembled 4,390,000 COVID-19 test kits for distribution across the state.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, National Guard soldiers and airmen picked up a new mission; assisting the Department of Health in screening travelers entering New York at state airports. Personnel will replace Department of Health employees who have been collecting travel advisory forms. Troops assisted with the collection of 437,500 travel advisory health forms at seven state airports. Over 1,475 service members of the New York National Guard remain on duty as of Friday for the state’s COVID-19 response. Initial operations began with 200 personnel in New Rochelle in early March.

The New York National Guard (New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs) is the state’s executive agency responsible to the Governor for managing New York’s Military Forces, which consists of nearly 20,000 members of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Naval Militia and the New York Guard.

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