Story by Eric Durr, New York National Guard
SCHODACK LANDING, N.Y. – Glenville, N.Y. resident Timothy Zakriski, a rear Admiral in the New York Naval Militia, took command of the 2,800-member force during a traditional naval ceremony at Schodack Island State Park on Friday, June 22.
Zakriski took over from Rear Admiral Ten Eyck “Trip” Powell, a Coeymans, N.Y. resident who has been commander of the New York Naval Militia since December 2014.
The New York Naval Militia is composed of current Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Reserve members who agree to serve on state active duty when called by the state of New York. They put the skills they’ve honed in federal military service to work for New York.
Naval Militia members responded to Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the Buffalo snowstorm in 2014, Lake Ontario flooding in 2017 and snow storms in the Hudson Valley earlier this year.
The Naval Militia also operates a fleet of nine patrol boats which respond to state emergencies, augment law enforcement agencies and support the U.S. Coast Guard.
Friday’s change of command ceremony took place on the back deck of one of those boats, Naval Militia Patrol Boat 400, which was tied up at the state park dock on the Hudson River.
Zakriski, Powell, and Major General Anthony German, the Adjutant General of New York, were piped aboard the boat in traditional naval fashion to start the ceremony.
The change of command was marked by Powell reading orders relieving him of command, while Zakriski read orders instructing him to take command of the Naval Militia.
In his remarks, German thanked Powell for his service.
Under Powell’s command the Naval Militia responded when needed and responded professionally, German said. “You have done all the things we have asked you to do and more,” German told the more than 50 Naval Militia members and guests present.
Zakriski will continue to maintain the professionalism of the Naval Militia, German said.
The New York Naval Militia has “always ‘rogered up’ and gone to the sounds of the guns or the weather,” Powell said.
During Hurricane Sandy Naval Militia members spent three days hand carrying fuel up several flights of stairs to keep a hospital generator going to keep two patients alive, Powell said. During the Erie County snowstorm of 2014 they helped clear roads so emergency crews could get through, and in the past year the Naval Militia provided 4,400 man hours of service to the state, he added.
Zakriski thanked the young men and women of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserve who volunteer for Naval Militia service for making the organization effective.
“We bring a great amount of talents, knowledge and skill to the table,” Zakriski said.
“We have come a long way under prior leaders and I hope to have equal success as your commander,” Zakriski said.
Zakriski is a native of Glenville, and a graduate of Niskayuna High School and Hudson Valley Community College. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Union College.
Zakriski served as an enlisted Marine in the Marine Corps Reserve before being commissioned as an ensign in the Navy Reserve in the Civil Engineer Corps in 1982. He first joined the New York Naval Militia in 1980.
Zakriski served in a number of positions in the Navy Reserve during 30 years of service. He was the commander of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 21 at Lakehurst, New Jersey and served in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
In 1994 he served as the engineering coordinator for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Bosnian and as liaison to the UN Protection Force there.
He deployed to Umm Qasr, Iraq in 2007-2008 and served as Base Development Officer there.
Zakriski has served as Deputy Commander and the Commandeer of the Naval Militia’s Northern Command and in 2016 was appointed New York Naval Militia Deputy Commander.
He participated in the New York Naval Militia response to Hurricanes Irene and Lee and Superstorm Sandy.
Zakriski worked for the New York State Department of Public Service for 30 years before retiring in 2011. He currently works as a registered professional engineer and provides consulting services through his own company, Aero Engineering.