STAUNTON, Va. –
Veterans of the 116th Infantry Regiment and Soldiers currently assigned to 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team gathered for the 50th annual 116th Regimental Muster Nov. 11, 2017, in Staunton, Virginia.
“I am humbled and honored to be here tonight to celebrate old friendships and create new ones,” said Col. E. Scott Smith, commander of the 116th IBCT. “This 50th annual Muster reflects upon the century passed since America’s entry into WWI.”
During the Muster, Smith updated more than 250 guests on the training achievements by the 116th Brigade. A few of the many topics was the IBCT hosting the Expert Infantryman Badge test, the Kentucky National Guard’s 1st Battalion,149th Infantry Regiment becoming the third infantry maneuver battalion for the brigade and the brigade’s recent return from the U. S. Virgin Islands hurricane recovery duty.
Brig. Gen. Christopher L. Donahue, the 57th commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, served as the guest speaker. He spoke about doing more with less in the military and being resilient in the ever changing battlefield.
This year’s Superior Unit Award went to the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment. During the training year, 1st Battalion received two national level training awards and was recognized as the most combat-ready Army National Guard battalion in the country. The battalion received the Walter T. Kerwin, Jr., Readiness Award from the Association of the United States Army and the the Major General Milton A. Reckord Trophy from the National Guard Association of the United States.
AUSA, along with NGAUS and Reserve Officers Association, presents the Kerwin Award each year to the most outstanding Army National Guard and Army Reserve units. Evaluation criteria for the Kerwin 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.
NGAUS presents the Reckord Trophy each year to the Army National Guard battalion that achieves the highest state of readiness in the country.
The Muster was not the only event of the day for the brigade. Early that morning the 116th Infantry Regiment Annual 5K Race was held at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton, VA. and the 15 year reunion of 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment’s deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was held at the Staunton readiness center. During this reunion, more than 40 former members of the 2nd Battalion shared stories and reminisced about the first Virginia National Guard battalion to deploy overseas for other than training since World War II.