Oct. 28, 2010

Gate City-based transportation battalion recognized as most outstanding unit in the Army National Guard 

By Cotton Puryear
Virginia Department of Military Affairs     

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Virginia National Guard’s Gate City-based 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group has been recognized as the most outstanding Army National Guard battalion in the country for the 2009 training year and was presented the General Walter T. Kerwin Award Oct. 26 at Association of the United States' Annual Meeting in Washington, DC during the Dwight D. Eisenhower Luncheon. The battalion also received the Maj. Gen. Milton A. Reckord Trophy Aug. 23 at the 132nd National Guard Association of the United States General Conference in Austin, Texas.


Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Army, presents the Walter T. Kerwin, Jr. Readiness Award for the Army’s Most Outstanding National Guard Unit to the senior leaders of the Virginia National Guard’s Gate City-based 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group, at the Association of the United States Army’s Eisenhower Luncheon Oct. 26  in Washington, D.C. From left to right, Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., Lt. Col. Doug Messner, 1st Sgt.  Ernest T. Miller and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

While the battalion was recognized with the award, Lt. Col. Doug Messner, commander of the battalion during the 2009 training year, explained that it was really a reflection of the state of readiness of the battalion's subordinate companies, many that were preparing for possible overseas federal mobilizations. The battalion's companies are located in Blackstone, Emporia, Gate City, Rocky Mount and Martinsville.

"It is recognition of leadership at the company level, from the company commander down to the squad leader that says these are the things we need to look at, these are the things that are important and these are the things that are going to keep our guys alive and make sure that they come back," Messner said.

“The 1030th Transportation Battalion had an incredible training year,” he said. “The success of the battalion came from the desire of the Soldiers and leadership to be ready to deploy. The commitment from the leaders created an environment conducive to training and mentoring Soldiers, and our Soldiers were given training that was well-planned, well-resourced and executed in a highly safe manner. The end result was highly motivated troops who received valuable, tough and realistic training.” Messner relinquished command July 10, 2010, to Lt. Col. Doyle Gillis.

“It is an honor and represents the quality of folks we have in Virginia,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “It sets a stake in the ground for what is possible for all of our units to strive to achieve. The units that win awards like this pay great attention to detail, and we need to have leaders who are willing to put in the time and be dedicated to make sure their unit is the very best.”

The National Guard Association, the Association of the United States Army, and the Reserve Officers Association of the United States present the Walter T. Kerwin Readiness Award jointly to the Army National Guard unit with the highest level of readiness in the country. The Chief of National Guard Bureau selects the Army National Guard winner.

"The Kerwin Award is one of the most prestigious awards given to a battalion-sized unit," said Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard. "The competition is keen and competition drives excellence."

Evaluation criteria for the awards include the areas of assigned personnel strength, percentage of personnel qualified in their duty position, attendance at monthly drill weekends and annual training, individual weapons qualification scores and physical fitness test scores. Battalions also must have an effective maintenance program for all units and must achieve readiness objectives as outlined by U.S. Forces Command.

Significant highlights for the 2009 training year for the 1030th include:

• The Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company returned from federal deployment to Iraq and the battalion provided Soldiers from the 329th Regional Support Group’s logistics advisory mission to Iraq.

• The Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company and the Martinsville-based 1173rd Transportation Company supported the 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division by transporting critical equipment from Fort Drum, New York to Fort Polk, La and back to Fort Drum, travelling more than 2,400 miles.

• The Rocky Mount-based 229th Chemical Company fielded new smoke generators during their annual training.

• The Blackstone-based 3647th Maintenance Company conducted annual training at Camp Dodge, Iowa to improve their ability to perform maintenance operations.

• The Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company received the Department of the Army’s annual Philip A. Connelly Award for excellence in Army Food Service in the National Guard Field Kitchen Category.

• The 1030th’s Headquarters Detachment, the 1032nd and 229th all conducted external maintenance inspections, and each unit passed with the lowest overall score being 97 percent.

The Kerwin award was named for retired Gen. Walter T. Kerwin, Jr., who served as the first commander of United States Forces Command and also as Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1974 to 1978. Kerwin was a strong advocate of the “One Army,” or “Total Army,” concept that recognized the important role of the National Guard and U. S. Army Reserve. The plans and programs he set in motion resulted in a significant improvement in the readiness of reserve components.

Milton A. Reckord commanded the 115th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division during World War I and was appointed Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard in 1920. In 1934, while still serving as Maryland’s Adjutant General, he assumed command of the 29th Infantry Division. After World War II, Reckord returned to his post as the Adjutant General of Maryland and continued to serve as Adjutant General until his retirement in 1966. During the years between the First and Second World War, Reckord was a leading advocate for increasing the role of the National Guard in the United States’ national defensive strategy. In 1933, he authored legislation that permanently gave National Guard personnel status as both state and federal troops.

Both the Kerwin Award and the Reckord Trophy are part of an awards program that began in 1936 with the initial presentation of the Pershing Plaques for unit marksmanship. In 1975, the Milton A. Reckord Trophies were added. In 1978, the General Walter T. Kerwin Award for Readiness was established.

Additional information:

1710th Transportation Company returns from Iraq

Virginia logisticians advise, mentor and coach Iraqi Army

Virginia Guard truckers support 10th Mountain Division

Gate City unit celebrates Connelly Award for food service excellence in the field

229th Chemical Company seeks zero visibility

3647th Maintenance Company heads to Iowa for valuable training

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