Col. David Martinez, an Albany resident and veteran of the Iraq War, has been named to command the New York Army National Guard’s historic 369th Sustainment Brigade.
Nicknamed the “Harlem Hell Fighters” and based in New York City, the unit traces its lineage back to the African-American soldiers of the 15th New York Infantry formed just before the United States entered World War I.
“The Harlem Hell Fighters are one of the most storied units in American military history,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release. “Its soldiers fought proudly and distinguished themselves in World War I, and also served with distinction during World War II, Desert Storm, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
The 369th served more than six months on the front lines during World War I and sustained 1,500 casualties.
Martinez, a full-time employee of the New York Army National Guard, replaces Col. Reginald Sanders as commander of the brigade. He and his wife, Pauline, who is also a member of the New York Army National Guard, have two adult sons.