YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.
Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.
According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”
Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.
Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.
German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.
In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.
The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.
Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.