“Getting shot at is always a memorable experience, especially your first few times.” (Video Interview, 9:45)
Having enlisted in the regular Army just as the Vietnam War
was coming to an end, Mark
Warnecke would not see his first combat until Operation
Iraqi Freedom. As the commander of a New York National Guard
Infantry Battalion, Warnecke is able to compare and contrast
the role of the National Guard to that of the active duty
Army. Some experiences, such as seeing boys become men in
the face of combat, are universal. Warnecke saw the greatest
difference in the skill sets which those in his battalion
brought to their National Guard duty from their civilian life.
He could draw on their diverse occupations, from prison guards
to mechanics and electricians, to get the job done. Warnecke
finds great satisfaction in knowing that the current conflict
has demonstrated the ability of the National Guard to perform
just as well, if not better, than their active duty counterparts.