September 2011

Fort Hamilton on Guard Against Terrorism

by Theodore W. General

Upon entering Fort Hamilton, there was a large electronic board flashing a welcoming greeting to U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. We joined reporter Heather Chin from this paper to cover the senator’s first visit to the local military base. As a member of the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee, it was good to hear first-hand from the senator how future defense cuts could affect the base and how she planned a strong counter-offensive to try to save New York City’s only active military installation from possible closure. Prior to the news conference at the new Armed Forces Reserve Center, she toured the base and had a round table discussion with top brass. They included Brig. Gen. Peter Deluca, the commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers (North Atlantic Division); Col. Michael Gould, the Fort Hamilton Garrison commander; Navy Commander Erin McAvoy, commander of the Military Entrance Processing Station; Lt. Col. Richard Davis, NYC Recruiting Battalion commander; and Lt. Col. Peter Riley, commander of New York State Empire Shield (which provides National Guard troops at the airports and major city transportation hubs.)

As the city’s only active base, Fort Hamilton plays an especially important role in preventing terrorism in the area, standing ready to provide an immediate response and support in the event of an attack. The base also gives pre-induction physicals and processes approximately 16,000 recruits from all the armed services each year.

In conjunction with the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, expect to see a larger than usual contingent of uniformed re-enactors firing muskets and cannons at Green-Wood Cemetery, Fifth Avenue at 25th Street, this coming Sunday starting at 12:30 p.m. At 1:30 p.m. the annual parade to Battle Hill will be led by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Marching Band. At the top of the hill, at the Altar of Liberty where the bronze statue of Minerva faces Lady Liberty in New York Harbor, there will be exercises by the Battle of Brooklyn Memorial Society, emceed by Chairman Eric Kramer.

On Saturday at 10 a.m., the Society of Old Brooklynites will hold its 103rd annual commemoration and memorial tribute to America’s first POWs, the Prison Ship Martyrs from the American Revolution. The event takes place on solemn ground, at the base of the towering 148-foot-tall Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Edwin Burrows, a history professor from Brooklyn College and the author of “The Forgotten Patriots.”

The Greater New York Statue of Liberty Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army held its annual meeting inside the new multimillion-dollar Armed Forces Reserve Center at Fort Hamilton. The organization represents thousands of active Army, National Guard, Army Reservists, veterans, NY State Guard, cadets, government civilians, family members and concerned citizens. Guest speakers for the occasion were Dan McNally, a retired NYPD officer who was at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and later served on the NYPD’s Joint Task Force on Terrorism; and Fort Hamilton’s new recruiting commander, Richard Davis. After the meeting, the attendees were taken on a tour of the new three-story Armed Forces Reserve Center by Bill Hensill, the garrison safety officer. AUSA chapter officers include Lt. Col. Joseph Schroder, president; Brig. Gen. Arnold Albert, 1st vice president; Col. Donald Ferguson, 2nd vice president; Col. Dominic Morelli, executive director; and Lt. Col. Robert Farkas, treasurer. Also participating was Col. Michael King, a Bay Ridge attorney who is the current Downstate Davison president. Rev. Edward Kane from Holy Family Church, the chapter’s chaplain and a retired colonel, gave the invocation.

One of Walgreens’ Wellness Tour mobile heath screening buses spent a day in Bay Ridge at the chain’s outlet at Third Avenue and 94th Street. Local residents had the opportunity to get free testing of their cholesterol and glucose levels, blood pressure, body mass index and bone density, with instant results printed on a receipt-like tape. As a public service, Walgreens, in partnership with AARP and the National Urban League, maintains a fleet of mobile testing buses which criss-cross the country offering free health screenings worth about $140. The aim of the program is early detection, as well as helping to improve heath and the quality of life. Participants also received a heavy-duty shopping bag and an AARP Personal Medication Record pouch. We went through the testing cycle in about 10 minutes and found our vitals were fine, but we continue to face the challenge of losing weight!

To reach Ted General via the Internet, his e-mail address is:

Original article appeared in theĀ Home Reporter News. Re-posted with permission.

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