Current and serving Army National Guard soldiers will be asked to contribute their histories and photographs to a digital history of the New York Army National Guard's role in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn in Iraq.
Dubbed "Remember My Service," the project is financed by the National Guard Bureau and is designed to help gather detailed historic information for inclusion in Army National Guard official records.
"We are extremely proud of the service and sacrifices that have been made and continue to be made by members of the New York National Guard and their families," said Maj. Gen. Patrick A. Murphy, The Adjutant General of New York and commander of the New York Army National Guard. "This effort to collect and organize unit and personal information about the service of these men and women is not just appropriate, but the next logical step in showing proper gratitude and respect for all that they have done," he said.
Area units which served in either Iraq or Afghanistan include the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters, the 3rd Battalion 142nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, the 501st Ordnance Battalion ( Explosive Ordnance Disposal), the 1108th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), the 206th Military Police Company, the 56th Personal Services Battalion and the 138th Public Affairs Detachment.
E-mails will be sent to current members and former National Guard soldiers who were called to active duty beginning in the winter of 2003.
Veteran soldiers simply can register at www.rmsrollcall.org to find their deployed unit and participate in the historical collection. A link to this site can be found at the Division of Military and Naval Affairs website at http://dmna.state.ny.us/index.php.
Veteran Guard members will be urged to join in the effort by offering photos and personal stories on line and in person during project meetings at selected armories around New York. A project team has been formed to meet Guard veterans and collect photos and information.
"Through 'Remember My Service' every Guard soldier who mobilized and deployed with a unit will receive a special electronic history of his or her unit's service at the conclusion of the production period which actually began in December," said Lt. Col. Paul Fanning, the RMS Command Project Officer. Fanning is also the Guard's state public affairs officer.
"We began by researching the records that are here inside the state headquarters, identifying the units that were mobilized and building rosters of unit members who deployed," he said.
"We are also collecting and welcoming submissions from unit members in the field and combining them with the photos, stories and articles we have in our public affairs archives," Fanning added.
National Guard Bureau has engaged the services of a Utah-based company called Story Rock which specializes in collecting and organizing archival information and data for public and private organizations. The company has already completed similar projects for other states' National Guard units and some active duty Army units as well.
The final product will be in the form of a compact disc and will come with a special commemorative cover. All should be ready in May 2011 for distribution in ceremonies at armories around the state of New York.
They will also be added to the Guard's archives at the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs and forwarded to National Guard Bureau for inclusion in the guard's national archives.
While all deployed units will be included, the project is being built around specific units including:
The 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry ("Task Force Hunter") in Iraq in 2004;
The 1st Battalion 69th Infantry ("Fighting 69th and Task Force Wolfhound") in Iraq in 2005;
The Headquarters 42nd Infantry Division ("Task Force Liberty") in Iraq in 2005;
The 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII) in Afghanistan in 2008;
All New York Army National Guard Military Police companies that deployed;
All New York National Guard Aviation units that deployed;
And all New York National Guard support units including maintenance, medical, finance, personnel services, liaison and others.
This project is coming nearly seven years after the first NYARNG units were called for Operation Iraqi Freedom during the winter of 2003. Not all records are complete and it is a goal of the project to try and reconnect with former members and engage with active members in order to gather as much information and material as possible.
The Guard intends to continue the effort for all units that are presently deployed and may deploy again in the future.
Additional information about the historical collection program can be found at www.remembermyservice.com.