RICHMOND, Va. –
Virginia Army and Air National Units were recognized for exceeding standards for readiness at the state and national level and for outstanding mission accomplishment at the inaugural Virginia Military Ball held April 29, 2017, in Richmond, Virginia. Retired Army Col. Roger Donlon, the first person to receive the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, served as the guest speaker and shared his experiences and personal stories of Soldiers he served with in Vietnam.
This event was a partnership between the World War I and World War II Commission, the Virginia National Guard Enlisted Association, the
Virginia National Guard Association and the Virginia Department of Military Affairs to recognize our Commonwealth’s proud military legacy and the Guard Soldiers and Airmen who continue to serve honorably today. This year, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, the 75th anniversary of World War II, the 52nd anniversary of the Vietnam War, and the 27th anniversary of the Gulf War.
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, recognized multiple units for exceeding readiness standards at the state and national level as well as outstanding mission accomplishment.
The Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team was recognized as the recipient of the Milton A. Reckord Trophy for 2016 training year. The National Guard Association of the United States presents the Reckord Trophy each year to the Army National Guard battalion that achieves the highest state of readiness in the country. The unit will receive the trophy later this year at the NGAUS National Conference.
The 192nd Intelligence Squadron, 192nd Fighter Wing was recognized for earning the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award for the second year in a row. The MUA honors exceptionally meritorious achievement and outstanding service in direct support of combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and recognizes the unit’s outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions
The Christiansburg-based Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment received the Eisenhower Trophy as the top company-level unit in the Virginia Army National Guard, and Suffolk-based Bravo Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team was presented the Adjutant General’s Cup. The Bedfrod-based Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team received the state-level National Guard Pershing Trophy and Certificate of Victory for marksmanship.
Bravo Troop also received the Draper Armor Leadership Unit Award. It is presented in each region of the country to the Army National Guard armor company or cavalry troop based on physical fitness, individual weapons qualification, crew-served weapons qualification, Excellence in Armor, safety and maintenance.
Virginia Delegate Richard Anderson, a retired colonel who served for 30 years in the U.S. Air Force and co-chairs the Virginia General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus, presented a resolution from the Virginia House of Delegates commending the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force for their outstanding contributions in service to both commonwealth and country.
The Virginia National Guard World War I Color Guard made their first public appearance at the ball. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the official formation of many of the military units serving in the Commonwealth of Virginia today. The 29th Infantry Division, 116th Infantry Regiment, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 54th Field Artillery Brigade and 246th Field Artillery Regiment were all formed in 1917 from existing militia units as the United States prepared to enter World War I. The 29th, 116th and 111th are still in active service today, and the 329th Regional Support Group carries the lineage of the 54th, and the 429th Brigade Support Battalion carries the lineage of the 246th.
Read more about the ceremony commemorating the U.S. entry into World War I held April 6, 2017, at the Virginia War Memorial Carillon in Richmond, Virginia, at https://go.usa.gov/x5PZS.
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Photos on the Va. National Guard Facebook page:
Background on awards presented at the ball:
For the Milton A. Reckord Award, the battalion must have demonstrated superior performance in the areas of personnel strength, retention, duty MOS qualification, individual and crew served weapons qualification, the Army Physical Fitness Test, drill weekend attendance and annual training attendance. The battalion, along with its organic units, must have demonstrated a commitment to the welfare of its members and their families and to its communities during the training year for which being nominated.
The Eisenhower Trophy recognizes the most outstanding company-level unit in the Virginia Army National Guard during the training year and is presented to the unit that ranks the highest in 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.
The Adjutant General’s Cup is awarded to the unit achieving the highest overall average in the areas of overall assigned personnel strength, attendance at monthly drill weekends and attendance at annual training, and both units tied in the evaluation criteria.
The state-level Pershing Award is presented for the highest marksmanship scores in the Virginia Army National Guard in annual qualification with assigned individual weapons.
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.