American Legion Post 50 SAL 50 New York USA
|March 30, 2009
WVOX 1460 AM WVOX.com
Sons of the American Legion Radio Report
Col. Geoffrey Slack, US Army
US Army War College
John Dunleavy, Chairman
New York St. Patrick's Day Parade
The "Sons of the American Legion Radio Report" can be heard live on WVOX
1460 AM in Westchester County and around the world on WVOX.com. The show is
held on the first, third, fourth and (Fifth) Tuesdays of each month from 2:30 to 3:00
The host of the program is Kenneth G. Kraetzer, Commander of Sons of the American
Legion in Pelham, NY; Vice Commander for Westchester County, and Vice
Commander for New York State. Please contact Ken at 914-450-9554 with any
questions or comments about this radio and Internet production.
The intro music, "To The Colors" has been provided courtesy of the US Navy band
based at Newport, RI.
The co-host on this segment was John Chuhran, a New Rochelle based PR executive
and Sons of the American Legion member.
Our next segments will be Friday February 27th at 7:50 AM and
on Monday March 2nd at 2:30 PM.
John Dunleavy with WVOX Sons of American Legion Radio Report Co-host John Chuhran
Colonel Geoffrey Slack was born and raised in Nassau County, NY. A graduate of
Wantagh High School and Hofstra University he received his commission into the Army as
a Second Lieutenant of Infantry from Hofstra ROTC in 1979.
Colonel Slack completed his Infantry Basic course training at Fort Benning Georgia then
spent the next four years in the 1st Infantry Division in Kansas. While there he married
Debbie, also from NY.
Returning to run his families arboricultural services business for his ailing father he spent
the next 19 years raising his family, participating in the New York Army National Guard
and working the family business.
Although Colonel Slack rose through the ranks from captain to lieutenant colonel while in
the National Guard, his busiest moments as a National Guardsman involved his
participation in numerous Defense Support to Civil Authorities missions throughout the
years. These included what became known as "The perfect Storm", the Suffolk County
wildfires, the ice storm in upper NY, a power outage and other fairly routine missions for
any National Guardsman. Colonel Slack expected his career to end as a lieutenant
colonel and would have considered himself successful with the career he had enjoyed
had not 9/11 occured.
One the morning of 9/11 Colonel Slack was preparing to leave home for work when he
was unofficially informed of the attack on NYC. Racing to his armory in Bayshore he
obtained a HUMWWV and raced into NY to find his soldiers already self mobilizing at the
69th Infantry's largest armory on Lexington Ave. Colonel Slack quickly moved to the
WTC site and arrived at 1145 only to find both towers down and chaos across the entire
area of lower Manhattan. Thus began a period of 264 days in which Colonel Slack, the
Fighting 69th and many other thousands of National Guardsmen performed service at
what remained of the WTC.
This horrific act of terrorism triggered a chain reaction of events well known to the world
and which continues today. What was not understodd by Colonel Slack and the soldiers
of the 69th Infantry was that their historic unit would be back in an active war less than 32
months in the future. The National Guard had not served in massive numbers in war
since WWII and few in Colonel Slack's unit thought they would be called. This was far
from the truth.
In May of 2004 the 69th did indeed move to Louisiana to team up with the famous Tiger
Brigade, train very hard for months at Fort Hood and the National Training Center in the
desert of southern California then move into first Kuwait then Iraq in the early fall of 2004.
Colonel Slack and the 69th Infantry gained a company of soldiers from the Tiger Brigade
to add to their ranks then went 20 miles north of Baghdad to the Al Taji region and began
a four month, but very bloody fight, with the insurgents. The 69th lost 10 men killed in Al
Taji and many wounded before being ordered back to Baghdad in a secret move to
augment the existing forces there in time for the National elections of January 2005 - the
famous "Purple finger" elections.
After completing this mission Colonel Slack and his command moved onto the main base,
Camp Liberty, in west Baghdad and assumed the tough mission of Route Irish, or the
Airport Road which connected the International Zone (or Green Zone) to the Baghdad
International Airport; a span of only 8 miles. This famous road was the scene of much
hard fighting for the next 7 months. Nine more 69th soldiers were killed on or near Route
Irish and many more wounded in relatively successful efforts to drive the enemy away
from that critically important road.
When Colonel Slack and the 69th Infantry left Iraq it had suffered 19 killed and 86
wounded, some with life altering wounds. The battalion nevertheless views its part in the
war with equal measures of pain and pride. As a National Guard unit it represents home
town America and thankfully, home town America has done nothing other than shower
the 69th with love ever since it arrived back from Iraq. In the 69th's case, home town
America includes Manhattan, NY and numerous other towns from Suffolk County all the
way to Buffalo. It has been truly amazing the endless outpouring of love and support the
69th has experienced from countless private citizens and groups who have contibuted
generously to provide extra funds to support the wounded soldiers on their long journey
It must be noted that Colonel Slack's story and the 69th's story diverge as they returned
home in the fall of 2005 yet the 69th's story continues proudly as well over 300 of its
soldiers redeployed in 2008 to Afghanistan where more were killed and wounded.
Upon his return in late 2005 Colonel Slack, like so many National Guardsmen, found his
civilian business no longer salvageable and was forced to close his family business.
Nevertheless, Colonel Slack returned to what had become (again) the passion of his life
and returned full time to the military in NY.
Colonel Slack was promoted to full colonel and placed in the senior operations and
training officer position within NY states largest combat formation, the 42nd "Rainbow"
Division. From that desk Colonel Slack was a key planner and staff officer working in the
mobilization and deployment of major units deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan which
included the 27th "Orion" Brigade of over 1700 soldiers and the 3-142 Aviation battalion
of over 400 soldiers. This complex and evolving mobilization process permitted Colonel
Slack an opportunity to put in practice some of his hard earned lessons from his
deployment to assist in the training of these great young Americans as they moved
towards harms way. Colonel Slack takes great pride in his modest efforts in assisting in
This past July, Colonel Slack was offered to attend the prestigious U.S. Army War
College as a resident student at Carlisle Barracks, PA. Colonel Slack has been in
attendance there for the past 8 months and will graduate with a Master's in Strategic
Studies degree in June after which he will return to an assignment in NY. He looks
forward to duty in his beloved state and hopes to serve it faithfully until retirement.