News: North Dakota Guard unit dominates Army Engineer Awards: 188th Engineer Company earns 4 of the top 5 awards nationwide
Story by Bill Prokopyk
BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota National Guard's 188th Engineer Company (Vertical), of Wahpeton and Oakes, recently dominated the annual Army Engineer Regiment and Society of American Military Engineers-sponsored awards in the National Guard division by claiming four of the five top military honors. Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, attended the award presentation at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., April 19.
The 188th Engineer Company was selected as the 2012 Itschner Award winner. The award recognizes the best engineer company each year in three categories: U.S. Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. It is named in honor of Army Lt. Gen. Emerson C. Itschner, the 39th chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Besides being recognized as the best engineer company in the Army National Guard, the 188th Engineer Company soldiers captured the Sturgis Medal, "Best Engineer Platoon Leader (Grizzly)" and "Best Engineer Warrant Officer Award" for 2012.
"Never before has one of our units won so many awards simultaneously," Sprynczynatyk said. "The soldiers of the 188th Engineer Company have earned these military distinctions through their outstanding efforts and devotion to duty while deployed as well as their operations within the state. Their dedication and commitment to excellence is an inspiration to all of us."
Sgt. Jeremy F. Knudson, Blanchard, N.D., received the Sturgis Medal for outstanding contributions to military troop construction and base maintenance by demonstrating technical and leadership ability by an enlisted soldier. First awarded in 1955, the Sturgis Medal is awarded in honor of Lt. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis Jr.
Besides Knudson, three other North Dakota National Guard soldiers have previously earned this distinction: Sgt. 1st Class Jeffery A. Berg, 1996; Sgt. 1st Class Harley J. Schwind Jr., 1997; and Sgt. 1st Class Kevin J. Keefe, 1998.
Capt. Alan Roehrich, West Fargo, N.D., was selected as the "Best Engineer Platoon Leader" for 2012. The award is presented each year by the Army Engineer Association in each Army component (active duty, Reserve and National Guard) to a single engineer platoon leader judged to have made the most outstanding contributions of leadership and technical skills to military engineering.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Kendall, Lakewood, Colo., was selected as the "Best Engineer Warrant Officer" for 2012. The award also is presented annually by the Army Engineer Association to one engineer warrant officer in each Army component in recognition of outstanding contributions to military engineering by demonstrating technical and leadership ability.
"It's truly an honor for this unit to be recognized by the Itschner Award as the best engineer company in the Army National Guard," said Capt. Lucas Klettke, of Perham, Minn., who commanded the unit from June 2011 to December 2012. "The great soldiers directly responsible for this Itschner honor - coupled with the individual awards received by Roehrich, Kendall and Knudson - makes me extremely proud to have been a part of this great engineer unit."
During the award year, the unit accomplished more than 160 missions during an overseas deployment that directly supported the U.S. forces drawdown in Kuwait.
"These engineers never quit," Klettke said. "They exceeded expectations and set extremely high standards with their ingenuity and their ability to quickly adapt. Roehrich, Kendall and Knudson have extensive background with engineering operations, which contributed to the overall success demonstrated throughout the deployment."
During the unit's deployment as part of the Area Support Group-Kuwait, the 188th Engineer Company was assigned to the Tennessee Army National Guard's 230th Engineer Battalion, which was commanded by Lt. Col. Stephen Jaco.
"The 188th Engineer Company performed well beyond my expectations," Jaco said. "The unit's level of expertise in vertical construction continually exceeded that of other engineer companies I have worked with. The leadership had a 'can do' attitude that was reflected by their soldiers' performance at every level."
Four North Dakota Army National Guard engineer units have previously won the coveted Itschner Award. Those units are the Edgeley, Wishek and Linton-based Company D, 141st Engineer Combat Battalion in 1984; the Jamestown-based Company B, 141st Engineer Combat Battalion in 1987; Company B, 142nd Engineer Combat Battalion of Wahpeton in 2000; and most recently the Bismarck-based 957th Engineer Company (Multi-Role Bridge) in 2010.
"We cannot measure the level of determination, work ethic and professionalism displayed by these Engineer soldiers," Sprynczynatyk said. "We as an organization could not be more proud of them as they bring the Itschner Award back to North Dakota with dignity and honor."
This work, North Dakota Guard unit dominates Army Engineer Awards: 188th Engineer Company earns 4 of the top 5 awards nationwide, by Bill Prokopyk, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.
Date Posted:04.26.2013 17:30
Location:BISMARCK, ND, US
Hometown:BLANCHARD, ND, US
Hometown:LAKEWOOD, CO, US
Hometown:PERHAM, MN, US
Hometown:WAHPETON, ND, US
Hometown:WEST FARGO, ND, US