Fairport man, Afghan and Iraq vet takes over Niagara Falls Guard unit

By in Fairport NY News

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WROC) – New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. Gary Barney of Fairport took command of the New York Army National Guard’s 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment at a ceremony in Niagara Falls on Sunday.

Lt. Col. Barney served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ceremony took place at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

Officials say the traditional change of command ceremony in which the flag of the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment was transferred from Secrest to Barney by Frank, signifying the transition to a new commander. The unit’s flag traditionally marked the location of the commander on the battlefield and the ceremony allowed the Soldiers to learn who they would follow into combat.

Lt. Col. Barney enlisted in the New York Army National Guard in 2000 as an artilleryman before earning a commission as an officer through the ROTC program at SUNY Brockport. He took part in the New York Army National Guard response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

After becoming an officer, Barney served on active duty with the 4th Infantry Division as a fire support officer and troop executive officer with the 8th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment in Iraq. He transferred from field artillery to armor and deployed to Iraq a second time as the commander of a company in the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 64th Armor.

While on active duty he also served as the National Training Center at Fort Irwin California and deployed to Afghanistan in support of the NATO mission to train the Afghan Army. He finished his active duty career as the commander of a cavalry troop in the 3rd Squadron of the 16th Cavalry Regiment and the operations officer of an infantry battalion.

After rejoining the New York Army National Guard, he deployed with the 42nd Infantry Division headquarters to Kuwait in 2019. He also served as a full-time federal technician at New York National Guard headquarters and served as the officer in charge of the Guard’s response to Lake Ontario Flooding.

During the COVID-19 pandemic he served as the commander of a task force in New York City during the National Guard’s pandemic response.

He has served as the 27th Infantry Brigade chief of operations and has served as the operations officer and executive officer of the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry.

Barney’s awards include the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.

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