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NEWS | Dec. 30, 2011

National Guard on-duty for New Year's Eve

By Capt. Alvin Phillips New York National Guard

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The 280 members of the New York National Guard's Joint Task Force Empire Shield will be on duty New Years Eve assisting police in security missions here.

National Guard members also will be on duty elsewhere, including in Las Vegas.

In New York, National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen will be visible at Grand Central Station, Pennsylvania Station, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport. Guard members will also be on duty at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

Nevada National Guard officials told civilian media that Guard members there will use New Year's Eve as a training exercise in addition to supporting civil authorities.

In New York, Joint Task Force Empire Shield members serve on state active duty under the command of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

"Members of Joint Task Force Empire Shield are proud to play a pivotal role in keeping their fellow New Yorkers and our guests from around the world safe and secure this holiday weekend," said Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, adjutant general.

Task Force members will assist the New York Police Department, Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department, Port Authority Police Department and Amtrak Police.

More than one million people are expected to gather to ring in the New Year according to the Time Square Alliance.

Joint Task Force Empire Shield consist of New York Army and Air National Guard members who work alongside New York City area police and security agencies and the Coast Guard to detect, deter and prevent potential terrorist operations.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the New York National Guard has maintained forces in New York City to assist and supplement civilian law enforcement. The task force also serves as a nucleus for expanded New York National Guard presence in New York City when required.