STEWART AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE-- A member of the New York Guard's 56th Brigade works to help a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve preparing for a deployment prepare a will on January 6, 2014. The New York Guard, the state's volunteer defense force augments the National Guard during emergencies and assists during mobilizations. The unit traditionally helps the Marine Reserve units that are based at Stewart with their mobilizations.
The New York Guard is a state volunteer force which augments and supports the New York National Guard as required with manpower and skills.
New York Guard members serve in an unpaid status unless they are placed on State Active Duty by the governor and they cannot be mobilized for federal duty. They assist the National Guard in planning, training for and executing state emergency support and disaster missions. And provide legal and medical pre-deployment assistance to the National Guard units and other reserve components as requested.
Many New York Guard members are retired members of the National Guard and other military services, however military experience is not a prerequisite to membership.
The New York Guard was born in World War I when the New York National Guard, a division’s worth of Soldiers, was mobilized; first for service on the Mexican border and then to fight in France. The New York Guard replaced the National Guard and served as a home guard, mounting guard on the New York City reservoirs.
Today members of the New York Guard assist National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to serve the people of New York as members of Guard Joint Task Forces. New York Guard members are part of the National Guard team trained to rescue people from destroyed buildings and decontaminate them, assist the National Guard in search and rescue when called upon, and even help National Guard units train to deploy at home or abroad.