News: Wisconsin Guard unit honored as National Guard's best artillery battery
Story by Vaughn Larson
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Plymouth, Wis.-based Battery B, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery of the Wisconsin Army National Guard — also known as the Bravo Barracudas — received the 2013 Hamilton Alexander Award during a Wednesday night ceremony at the National Guard Professional Education Center in North Little Rock, Ark.
The Alexander Hamilton Award recognizes the year's outstanding National Guard field artillery battery for superb mission accomplishment and overall unit excellence.
"It was an honor to receive the award, and it was nice to be recognized by your peers," said Capt. Matthew Mangerson, Battery B commander, who accepted the award on behalf of the unit. "It means something to have the unit recognized at that level — not just for the battery but for our battalion and for the state of Wisconsin."
Battery B was selected for being the first National Guard unit in the nation to fire the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in combat during the unit's 2013 deployment to Afghanistan. Previously, only active duty HIMARS units saw combat.
The professionalism and expertise Battery B demonstrated during their deployment quickly earned the respect and trust of the Special Operations Task Force they supported.
That proficiency as a HIMARS unit played a role in Battery B's selection for the deployment. They developed an aggressive, deliberate and resourceful training plan that is being used for future deploying National Guard HIMARS batteries.
"The selection of Bravo Battery for the Alexander Hamilton award is just another indication of the quality and caliber of the professional Red Legs in the state of Wisconsin, but specifically this unit," said Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, a field artillery officer himself and also deputy adjutant general for Army. "Bravo Battery just recently returned from a historic deployment to Afghanistan functioning as it should — a field artillery battery providing support to forces on the battlefield — and they completed that mission in an exemplary fashion.
"My congratulations once again to the leaders of Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery on this recognition."
The Alexander Hamilton Award, established in 2002, is named after American statesman and skilled Continental Army artilleryman Alexander Hamilton. His battery was the first to fire at the British on July 12, 1776, and supported Gen. George Washington's Continental Army in numerous engagements. Washington made Hamilton his aide-de-camp in March 1777 before allowing Hamilton to command a corps of light infantry during the last assault at the Siege of Yorktown. Following the Revolutionary War, Hamilton helped frame the U.S. Constitution and served as the nation's first treasury secretary.