Missing Yankee Bill

Well-Yankee Bill’s NY Guard unit was activated by the governor to help with Hurricane Sandy Cleanup:

You see Yankee Bill really missed the military after he retired.  He joined the NY Guard quite a few years back.  The NY Guard is NOT the same thing as the National Guard.  It’s a completely volunteer organization (read that as “my husband works a lot for free”) that falls under the governor of the state of NY.  So it’s basically a state militia–but without guns.  He has meetings a couple times a month, does drill several weekends a year  and usually spends a week at annual training in the summer.

Many of the NY Guard units seem more, uh, ceremonial than anything else, but his unit is an engineer unit-and they do a lot of construction type projects.  Over the years they have built training structures for the New York National Guard (like a simulated walled compound), built a pole barn roof over the snipper range at Ft. Drum, done demolition work at Camp Smith and much more.  They are a great asset for the state as they get some really major projects done for just the cost of materials/equipment and a few meals.  It’s free skilled labor.  Bill has loved it because he knows that the projects he is doing are helping support the soldiers on active duty.

Since the NY Guard is the governor’s asset, he has the option of bringing them on active duty in a time of need (and pay them as such)–but they can not be deployed outside of the state.  The unit was called up during 9-11 to help provide security and support at several bases, and after Hurricane Irene a few folks spent a week training the National Guard on how to use chainsaws–but this is the first big deployment opportunity since Yankee Bill joined.

They had given warning late last week-but a call came Halloween night that he needed to be at the Armory and ready to hit the road at 5am the next day.  By lunchtime on the 1st he was already at Bedford Hills NY ready to help support the power company by clearing trees.

The picture in this post was taken today–can you see how huge the trees are and how little the people look?  See how they’ve taken down the power lines?  And what looks like the forest floor there with all the pine needles and tree branches–well, that’s the road!  The Fire Department that they have the guys & gals billeted at is one of the few places in town that has power.  He is going to be very very busy for several weeks there!

Although I already miss him–I know he’s more than happy to be able to go out there and help in some way.  We were just so lucky here to avoid all of that damage.  I have no idea when he’s coming home–they haven’t given them an end date–but I figure “oh well, at least no one is shooting at him”.

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  1. Susie H says

    What a great thing they are doing..I had never heard of the NY Guard. Hope he will be finished and home with you all again soon.

  2. says

    I don’t know if Pennsylvania has a group like the one your husband works with, but I sure am grateful to all the electric crews — both local and from out of state — that came to restore our power. We were without electricity for almost five days here in east central PA. Our electric service was restored earlier today, but many households are still in the dark.

    • Cathy Polachek says

      Julie, Pennsylvania does not have a State Guard (only 23 states have one). My husband (we are PA residents) is in Yankee Bills group ( we live 1 1/2 hrs away from the NY group) and my husband loves it and has met a wonderful group of people. So proud of this group!

  3. joycee says

    You must be very proud of him. I’m on vacation here in the outer banks and the place was definitely hit by sandy. They’re doing well getting it back in shape. I hope he gets to come home quickly.

  4. Cathy Polachek says

    Very proud of your husband and all the Ny Guard! I’m sure he is also proud of you for the support you give him for all his hard work he does with the men and women.


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