LATHAM, NY — A West Orange resident has received a citation for his service to the New York Guard.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Desch of West Orange, who serves with the New York Guard Headquarters, received the New York Guard Commander's Citation, according to Major General Raymond Shields, the Adjutant General for the State of New York. Desch received the honor for his "continuing commitment to serve community, state and nation as part of New York State's Military Forces."

A graduate of the University of Dayton, Desch has been volunteering his time for the New York Guard for 11 years. He works as a Special Education supplemental teacher for the West Orange School District.

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The New York Guard is a force of 500 uniformed volunteers, organized as a military unit, who augment the New York National Guard during state emergencies. Members of the New York Guard provide administrative and logistics support to the National Guard.

Unlike members of the New York National Guard, members of the New York Guard do not have a federal military role and do not deploy outside the state. New York Guard members usually train in a volunteer status and are only paid when they are placed on state duty during emergencies.

Previous military membership is not a requirement for New York Guard service. People who have served in the military can serve in the New York Guard up until age 68.

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