NEWS | March 5, 2021

Training awards handed to top Units

By Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Crane Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

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 KYARNG overall training readiness.

According to Lt. Col. Robert Andersen, KYARNG state training officer, there were five main criteria used to determine the Battalion. 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 623rd Field Artillery Battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Jonathan Gocke and Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Neathery. The 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.

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 KYNG headquarters.

This was the inaugural rollout KYARNG Unit Training Readiness Awards Program, there was concerns that with how 2020 went with the pandemic affecting the ways unit could train.
“Due to other initiatives, battle drills, and circumstances that happened with the pandemic, said Andersen. “I was a little concerned that this program was going to be drowned out. We could have just chalked it up a bad year and said nobody really had had a chance. but I'm glad we were able to push it through.”

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

“The fact that we chose the YTB event wasn’t just circumstance, it was an opportunity to have the largest audience,” said Andersen. “The attempt was to make a big deal out of it, and include the state's battalion and brigade leadership, we wanted to showcase was 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.”