FRANKFORT, Ky. –
For the fifth straight year, a Kentucky Army National Guard engineer unit was named the best in the Guard.
The 130th Engineer Support Company received the 2021 Lt. Gen. Emerson C. Itscher Award for the most outstanding engineer company in the National Guard.
While deployed in 2020-21, the 130th put their skills to work, completing 161.5 miles of road repairs, repairing 463 wall breaches, and building a small arms qualification range.
1st Sgt. Jerrod Franklin, senior noncommissioned officer in the 130th Engineer Support Company, credits their junior NCOs with the unit’s success to win the award.
“Leadership really pushed our junior NCOs to be engaged and take ownership. This was an E5 and E6 driven mission,” said Franklin. “We wanted to empower them to make decisions. They took off with that and took ownership of that. Empowerment was the key to success. I’m proud of this unit.”
For Sgt. Britni Riggle, this award was extra special, being in the 130th for eight years and being a part of the unit’s growth.
“During our deployment and since we’ve been home, a lot of our junior NCOs have stepped up and found their confidence,” said Riggle. “We had encouragement from our senior leadership, and we really worked together as a team.”
Riggle went on to talk about the pride the Soldiers in the 130th Engineer Support Company have.
“We have a lot of respect for each other and for the uniform, and that really plays a role in our success and in winning this award.”
Upon their return in November of 2021, the 130th didn’t have much downtime before they were tasked for another real-world mission.
When an EF4 tornado that travelled 123 miles hit the western part of the state on December 10, 2021, the unit answered the call to action to assist the devastated areas despite many of them being affected.
From working alongside local agencies, assisting in warehouses, debris removal, and supply distribution, Soldiers with the 130th didn’t hesitate to volunteer and provide aid to the communities in need.
The Itschner Award, first awarded by Society of American Military Engineers in 1960, is named in honor of Lt. Gen. Emerson C. Itschner, USA. The plaque was presented to the most outstanding U.S. Army engineering company each year. In 1974, the competition for the Itschner Award was broadened to include the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. The award is given annually to the top Army engineering units.