Battalion Training awards handed to top Units in the state

The top two battalions for training year 2020 in overall training readiness went to Artillery units, shown here is the 623rd FA in training with their High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane, State Public Affairs Office

GREENVILLE, Ky. – Three outstanding Kentucky Army National Guard units were awarded for their dedication and hard work during the yearly training brief at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center Feb. 26.

The Unit Training Readiness Awards Program is the G3 (Operations) selection of the Battalion-level element boasting the best units measured in areas that are specific to training and contribute directly to overall individual or collective training readiness. 

This brand new program, initiated last year, is intended to promote a culture of professionalism and healthy competition among each Battalion, in an effort to raise the organization’s overall training readiness.

Brig. Gen. Robert Larkin awards the top battalion for training year 2020 in overall training readiness to the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery’s commander, Lt. Col. Michael Woodson and Command Sgt. Maj. David Page.

According to Lt. Col. Robert Andersen, KYARNG state training officer, there were five main criteria used to determine the best Battalions. Each category was assessed as a percentage and based off their assigned strength. The unit with the highest cumulative percentage was then considered the winner of the program. Those criteria were: Best Professional Military Education – percentage of overall PME complete; Physical Fitness – percentage of overall highest passing physical fitness score; Individual Weapons Qualification – percentage of overall highest passing IWQ score; Duty Military Occupational Specialty Qualification – percentage of overall duty DMOSQ; IDT Attendance – Percentage of overall highest IDT attendance.

The top battalion for training year 2020 in overall training readiness went to 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery; commanded by Lt. Col. Michael Woodson and Command Sgt. Maj. David Page. In the five assessed categories they ranked first in AFPT, DMOSQ, and PME percentage. The battalion came in second in IDT attendance and IWQ.

Second place was awarded to the 1-623rd Field Artillery Battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Jonathan Gocke and Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Neathery. The 1-623rd Field Artillery performed among the best in DMOSQ, PME, and IWQ qualification. They qualified  94 percent of their Soldiers in their individually assigned weapons, thirteen percentage points more than the next closest battalion.

The banners that will be hung in the 2/138th Field Artillery Headquarters and Kentucky National Guard Headquarters.

Third place went to the Soldiers of the 103rd Chemical  Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Gary Barr and Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Fairchild. The Battalion boasted some of the state’s best scores in APFT, DMOSQ, and IWQ, which amounted in an overall third place finish and among the best in individual and collective readiness.

Each of the three units were awarded a plaque in the form of the state of Kentucky with their name, their placement and the training year to be displayed in their unit’s headquarters. Third place received one seat to a professional development school, in addition to receiving $4,000 to go toward leader development initiatives. Second place also received one seat in a professional development school but received $7,000 to go toward leader development initiatives. First place received three seats to a professional development school, $10,000 to go towards leader development and also will be presented banners to display in their unit common area and in the Kentucky National Guard headquarters.

This was the inaugural rollout of the KYARNG Unit Training Readiness Awards Program. There were significant concerns over the last year that the ongoing pandemic would continue to affect the ways units could train.

“Due to ongoing initiatives, battle drills, and circumstances that happened with the pandemic, I was a little concerned that this program was going to be drowned out ,” said Andersen. “We could have just chalked it up a bad year and said nobody really had a chance, but our Battalions made the most of the opportunity and we were able to push through.”

Brig. Gen. Robert Larkin, deputy Adjutant General –Army was on hand to present the awards to unit representatives at WHFRTC. 

“The fact that we chose the YTB to present these awards wasn’t just circumstance, it was an opportunity to have the largest audience available,” said Andersen. “We wanted to include the state’s battalion and brigade leadership and showcase our best and brightest. Our goal is to spark healthy competition among the battalions for all the right reasons and then reward them for a job well done in front of their peers.”


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