“Always Ready, Always There”. These honored words describe the US National Guard, as shown with a PowerPoint show to 36 attending Y’s Men of Meriden during a Feb. 16 Zoom presentation by Lieutenant Colonel Ben Neuman, lifelong Meriden resident.
Neuman, based at the Hartford Armory, is a 25-year member of the CT National Guard and the U.S. Army, is assigned as the battalion commander of the 192nd Engineer Battalion (headquartered in Stratford, CT), and is currently attending the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. Among other actions, the CT Army National Guard, originally formed in 1672, has been active during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the War of 1812, World War I and World War II. Today’s unit has an authorized strength 3592 with 13 readiness centers (armories), 4 maintenance centers and 3 training centers. International deployments, started since the end of the Cold War and the 9/11 terror attack, include Cuba, Germany, Bosnia, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
As a member of the 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry, Neuman joined 500 soldiers from 115 Connecticut communities for a one-year deployment to Afghanistan in April 2006. He gave the Y’s Men a narrative account of the scene where they provided security platoons and provincial reconstruction. Projected slides included photos of villages (generally separated from neighboring villages by mountain ranges), helicopters at a small CT Air National Guard base, local translators, Taliban captives, and two Taliban at a Council meeting. Neuman pointed out that Humvees were replaced by the larger better-reinforced “Mine Resistant Armored Vehicles”. And a final slide of a military cemetery: Neuman’s unit suffered two fatalities and 30 wounded.
Recently, the CT National Guard sent 300 military police, medical personnel and working dogs to Washington, D.C. following the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol Building and is currently active in COVID response.
For further information about the Y’s Men of Meriden, go to ysmenofmeriden.com or call 203-238-7784.