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Fourth JAG Officers Association celebrates 60th anniversary of detachment

Colonels Nicholas Satriano and Francis Kelly celebrated at dinner

April 16, 2019 Rob Abruzzese
The 4th JAG Officers Association held its 60th anniversary gala in Manhattan on Friday at which it honored Col. Francis Kelly (left) and Col.Nicholas Satriano during a ceremony. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

The 4th Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officers Association held its 60th anniversary gala at which it honored two of its past commanders, Col. Francis Kelly and Col. Nicholas Satriano, and presented them with officer’s sabres during a ceremony at the India House in Manhattan on Friday.

“In our long history, we have epitomized professionalism, dedication, unparalleled success, unparalleled knowledge, intimate knowledge of foreign places and foreign persons,” said Michael Farkas, who helped to organize the event and served as master of ceremonies, “and, of course, an unnatural obsession with the bagel.”

From left: Maj. Andres Gil, candidate for Queens DA Jose Nieves, Michael Farkas, vice president of the association, and Col. Luis Burgos. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
From left: Maj. Andres Gil, candidate for Queens DA Jose Nieves, Michael Farkas, vice president of the association, and Col. Luis Burgos. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Col. Alphone Naclerio, president of the association, and Col. Milton Norman, founding member of the association and its first president for over three decades‎, WWII combat veteran and former POW. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Col. Alphone Naclerio, president of the association, and Col. Milton Norman, founding member of the association and its first president for over three decades‎, WWII combat veteran and former POW. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

Kelly is the current commander of the 4th Legal Operations Detachment, headquartered at Fort Totten, Queens. Satriano is the immediate former commander. He’s still serving as an Army Reserve JAG officer‎ and he’s also a former Queens ADA.

The two honorees also attended high school and ran track together at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens in 1979.

“Those of you who thought you were coming to the 60th anniversary of the 4th JAG dinner where we were honoring Col Kelly and Col. Satriano did not know that you were actually coming to the 40th anniversary of Molloy High School,” joked Alphonese Naclerio, the president of the association. “What are the odds that we get two commanders back to back who were classmates in high school, both on the track team?”

Col. Anthony Benedict, secretary of the association. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Col. Anthony Benedict, secretary of the association. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Col. Ralph Sabatino, former deputy commander of the 4th JAG and former borough chief, corporation counsel of the Juvenile Delinquency Prosecution Unit of the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Col. Ralph Sabatino, former deputy commander of the 4th JAG and formerly with the juvenile prosecution unit at the NYC Corporation Counsel’s office. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

A group that included Col. Paul Frohman, Col. Anthony Benedict, Col. Ralph Sabatino, Lt. Col. Joseph Mazel and Maj. Cindy Barrois gave an oral history of the 4th JAG detachment. Before they were introduced by Farkas, he also talked about the importance of past president Col. Milton Norman to the association.

“There is no 4th JAG Officer’s Association without Col. Milton, who is currently president emeritus,” Farkas said. “He led our organization for decades. His history as a WWII veteran and POW are well known to this group. He deserves every accolade and honor that they bestow upon him.”

Maj. Cindy Barrois, former enlisted soldier in the 4th JAG, now an Army Reserve JAG officer and an FBI agent. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Maj. Cindy Barrois, former enlisted soldier in the 4th JAG, now an Army Reserve JAG officer and an FBI agent. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Maj. David Yee, Scott Horton and Capt. and Mrs. Lee Weidl. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Maj. David Yee, Scott Horton and Capt. and Mrs. Lee Weidl. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

After Farkas and Naclerio introduced each of the night’s five oral historians, each of them shared stories from the historic to the absurd. The common theme was how the 4th JAG detachment helped improve each of their lives and careers.

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“I am not aware of any other existing group of active, inactive, or retired JAG officers in this country that is similar to our association,” said Frohman, who told the story about a group from the 4th JAG Officers Association getting sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court together. “Sixty years ago, we recognized the benefits derived from working together and sharing experiences. We don’t want to lose the relationships with those who are retiring or were reassigned to other units.”

From left: Col. Ronald Salvatore, Col. Charles Grinnel, Brigadier General Richard O'Meara and Col. Basil Apostle. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
From left: Col. Ronald Salvatore, Col. Charles Grinnel, Brigadier General Richard O’Meara and Col. Basil Apostle. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Lt. Col. Jeff Gershuny, judge in Queens Criminal Court, and Col. Leonard Livote, justice in Queens Supreme Court, Civil Term. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Lt. Col. Jeff Gershuny, judge in Queens Criminal Court, and Col. Leonard Livote, justice in Queens Supreme Court, Civil Term. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

The 4th JAG detachment was activated on May 1, 1959 in Manhattan. Its headquarters has shifted over the years. It was the 77th Regional Support Command’s only Army Reserve unit comprised exclusively of attorneys, paralegals and enlisted soldiers whose mission it was to provide legal services to the Army.

It routinely deploys teams to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. It supports reserve units and active duty installations all over the U.S.

From left: Biktoria Kurbatskaya, Lt. Col. Joseph Mazel, Lt. Col. Michael Diederich and Lt. Col. Thomas Roughneed. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
From left: Viktoria Kurbatskaya, Lt. Col. Joseph Mazel, Lt. Col. Michael Diederich and Lt. Col. Thomas Roughneen. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Col. Paul Frohman (left), treasurer with Michael Farkas, helping him to read from his notes. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
Col. Paul Frohman (left), treasurer with Michael Farkas, helping him to read from his notes. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

“These gentlemen represented not just terrific military men, but they were great people, great attorneys with great experience,” Satriano said. “When I joined, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to join this bar association that is going to help me become a better man and a better person.’ So that’s what I did and it was easy because I learned from watching great men and they taught me that the most important job that we have is to take care of soldiers.”

Farkas thanked many of the members for helping him to put together the event including Scott Horton, Benedict, Capt. Jose Nieves and Naclerio.

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