National Guard Combat Veteran takes command of NY Guard

Brigadier General Peter Riley recently took command of the New York Guard (State Defense Force).  BG Riley is a 30 year combat veteran of the NY Army National Guard, who served during major operations such as the 9/11 response, conducting military operations in Iraq, to commanding the Joint Task Force Empire Shield. This incredibly capable and skilled commander will now command the NY Guard and be of great benefit to its future.


New York Guard State Defense Force get a New Commanding General

Photo By Mark Getman | Brigadier General Peter Riley, the incoming commander of the New York Guard receives… read more



Story by Edward Shevlin

New York National Guard

Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. – New York Guard Col. Peter Riley, a veteran of the war in Iraq, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and took command of the New York Guard State Defense Force during ceremonies at the Camp Smith Training Site, September 17, 2021.

Riley, who retired from the New York National Guard after 30 years of commissioned service, replaced Brig. Gen. David Warager, who has led the New York Guard since May 2018.

The New York Guard is a force of 500 uniformed volunteers, organized as a military unit, that augments the New York National Guard during state emergencies. They provide administrative and logistics support to the National Guard when called to state duty by the governor.

Following a 30-year career in the Army National Guard, Riley said he was enjoying retirement when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. He promptly joined the New York Guard, he said, because “the opportunity to serve again, especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to assist with all of the vaccination sites made my decision easy.”

Following his promotion to one-star rank, New York State Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Ray Shields oversaw the traditional change of command ceremony between Riley and Warager.

“Pete is a proven leader, a leader who cares about Soldiers, and a leader who gets things done,” Shields said after the transfer of colors, signifying the change of command.

Riley’s military experience finds him well suited to his new role, Shields said.

Soon after joining the New York Guard, Riley became commander of the COVID response force in upstate New York, a force that included 600 service members.

The ceremony marked the capstone of the weeklong annual training for more than 160 New York Guard volunteers, highlighting academic and field training for the force.

The New York Guard’s proven response capability over the past 20 years make it an integral part of the New York Military Forces for disaster response, Riley said.

“The New York Guard does face many challenges,” Riley said about the future. “The Guard needs to be flexible, proactive and anticipate the most dangerous, not just the most likely, scenarios in an uncertain environment.”

Looking back over his career, Warager said he witnessed the evolution of the New York Guard.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to be the Commanding General of the New York Guard,” Warager said. “The New York Guard gave me the chance to serve in the military and serve my fellow citizens. I watched and participated as the New York Guard evolved from the reserve “cadre” force that I originally joined to today’s New York Guard, called to serve on State Active Duty multiple times in the last few years.”

Riley previously served in the Army National Guard as the commander for Joint Task Force Empire Shield in New York City from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.

“I just want to say what an honor and privilege it is to lead the New York Guard,” Riley said. “For over 100 years the New York Guard has served the people of New York. The New York Guard will be ready, willing and able to continue to serve all New Yorkers no matter what terrorist threat or natural disaster occurs.”

Riley currently works as the Director of Veterans Services at Pace University.

Warager retires from service after a career in the New York Guard spanning 36 years.

His service included deployments for the National Guard response to 9/11 for Operation Trade Center and the New York Guard response efforts during Super Storm Sandy in 2012.

“I have had the privilege of working with truly wonderful people in the New York Guard and other New York Military Forces,” Warager said. “I take satisfaction in knowing that Brig. Gen. Pete Riley, with his team of staff and commanders, will take the New York Guard to even greater accomplishments.”

Source: DVIDS

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