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North Collins resident NY Army National Guard 2nd Lt. Clayton Cerne recognized for service in Ukraine

STAFF REPORTS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE -- New York Army National Guard 2nd Lt. Clayton Cerne, a North Collins resident, has been recognized for his service in Ukraine by Major General Raymond Shields, the commander of the 10,300-member New York Army National Guard.  Collins is currently serving as the communications officer for the Joint Multinational Training Group - Ukraine He received a challenge coin from Shields in recognition of his service during a May 25, 2018 visit to the 220 New York Army National Guard Soldiers serving with the training group at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center in Ukraine.

The New York Army National Guard Soldiers are part of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Syracuse.

Shields presented Collins with a challenge coin. Challenge coins are presented to Soldiers by high-ranking officers to recognize their work.

Overseen by U.S. Army Europe's 7th Army Training Command, the Joint Multinational Training Group-- Ukraine is a multinational collection of Soldiers working to help Ukraine increase its capacity to defend its sovereignty. Alongside Soldiers from Canada, Denmark, Lithuanian, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, the 27th brigade Soldiers have spent the last seven months giving insight and guidance to the Ukrainian Soldiers who train at the center.

Shields visited the New Yorkers along with New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski and New York Army National Guard Command Chief Warrant Officer Jacqueline O'Keefe.

"The chance to visit our Soldiers helping to train the Ukrainian Army just reinforced my pride in the Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard," Shields said. "We asked them to leave their families and civilian jobs on short notice and they rose to the occasion and have performed extraordinarily well."

The New York National Guard Soldiers will turn over their part of the mission to Soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard's 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is scheduled to occur later this summer.