Local Army officer deployed to Afghanistan

Lt. Nora Pipia is part of the battalion sent to retrieve trucks, tanks and helicopters as American involvement ends

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  • 1st Lt. Tara Pipia at a 50-Cal (M2) range.




  • There were no funds to support the going away ceremony so in a þÄúlast minuteþÄù two week period Nora Pipia and her daughter turned to Talk of the Town clients and friends to raise over $200 along with supplies and baked goods for the troops. þÄúThis community is unbelievable,þÄù said Nora Pipia. þÄúI could have opened a bakery. I told my daughter that we would need a van for all these donations.þÄù In appreciation, the 1569th Transportation Company of the 369th Special Troop Battalion presented a þÄúspecial thanksþÄù plaque to Talk of the Town.



— Did you think all of our troops will soon be returning from Afghanistan and none are being sent back?

Think again.
On Sunday, March 9, the New York State National Guard 1569 transportation unit and the 369 Special Troops Battalion boarded an airplane headed to Fort Hood Texas, for special training until the end of April when they will be "boots on the ground" in Afghanistan for the next nine months or more.

Among those troops was Army 1st Lt. Tara M. Pipia, daughter of Ronald and Nora Pipia of Warwick.

"The job of transportation is to retrieve our trucks, tanks, helicopters and so forth but the majority of the public believes we are not sending any more troops the region," said Nora Pipia, owner of Warwick's Talk of the Town hair salon. "These young soldiers are involved in a dangerous mission. They are our neighbors from the Hudson Valley, who work and live in our communities."

'I want to contribute'
Her daughter graduated from John S. Burke Catholic High School in 1992. She then earned her bachelor of arts degree and a masters degree in English Literature from SUNY New Paltz.

Before entering military service, Pipia served as supervising obituary editor from 2002-2008 for The Times Herald Record and also wrote a weekly column on local running community which expanded in 2007 to include local activities such as sky diving, hiking, mountain climbing, triathlons and the like.

But a promising career in journalism was not in her cards.

"I felt I wanted to contribute to society in some way but was not sure what it was at the time," said Pipia. "I took a vacation to Hilton Head Island, where my family has a condo, to think about what direction I wanted my life to go in. It was there at the entrance of the condominium complex that I met a retired Marine. There was something about him that I admired, the way he carried himself, his work ethic, his energy and commitment to the community. Through him I learned more about the military."

Pipia wanted to go enlisted first to get experience so she joined the Navy in 2009 but the following year transferred to the New York Army National Guard to enter Officer Candidate School.

She was commissioned in the New York Army National Guard in October 2011 and then served with the 1569th Transportation Company as a platoon leader.

Grand send-off
After returning from her upcoming nine-month tour in Afghanistan, Pipia plans to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical psychology in order to help military members suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Many local politicians and high-ranking military officers along with approximately 600 family members attended the Sunday event at Stewart Airport.

"It is important to report on this deployment so that the community is aware of the service our young soldiers are still performing in this dangerous part of the world," said her mother, Nora Pipia.

Community
There were no funds to support the going away ceremony so in a "last minute" two-week period Nora Pipia and her daughter turned to Talk of the Town clients and friends to raise more $200 along with supplies and baked goods for the troops.

"This community is unbelievable," said Nora Pipia. "I could have opened a bakery. I told my daughter that we would need a van for all these donations."

In appreciation, the 1569th Transportation Company of the 369th Special Troop Battalion presented a "special thanks" plaque to Talk of the Town.

- Roger Gavan

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