Local SD Army Guard units receive national Superior Unit Award

RAPID CITY – Twenty-three out of 42 South Dakota Army National Guard units received the National Guard Bureau’s Superior Unit Award in recognition of outstanding achievement during training year 2016.
This year’s recipients of the Superior Unit Award include: Headquarters Company, 153rd Engineer Battalion  –  Huron; Forward Support Company, 153rd Engineer Battalion  –  Huron and Parkston; 147th Army Band   –  Mitchell; Company B, 139th Brigade Support Battalion  –  Mitchell.
This is the fourth straight year the 153rd Engineer Battalion has received this award.
The Superior Unit Award is presented to units that meet highly-enforced military standards in the areas of personnel, training and readiness.
“The South Dakota Army National Guard makes up only 9/10ths of one percent of this nation’s National Guard, but we earned 66 percent of the Superior Unit Awards for training year 2016,” said Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the South Dakota National Guard.
“This is yet another example of how the South Dakota National Guard stands head and shoulders above our contemporaries.”
In order to earn the SUA, units must achieve 95 percent in unit strength, monthly drill attendance, annual training attendance and weapons qualification. In addition to meeting these readiness goals, units must also achieve 90 percent in physical fitness tests and duty-qualified Soldiers. Unit admin and maintenance inspections also factor into award requirements.
“We are a metrics-driven organization and paying close attention to the most important readiness metrics has earned 23 of our units the distinction of earning the coveted Superior Unit Award,” said Reisch.
The top award for the state went to the 147th Army Band of Mitchell, which received the Eisenhower Trophy for the most exceptional SDARNG unit. The Eisenhower Trophy is named in honor of former General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower and awarded by the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to the ARNG unit in each state rated the most outstanding during the training year.
“To be selected from among all of the other very deserving units in the South Dakota Army National Guard is, of course, a huge honor,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Terry Beckler, 147th commander. “It’s one more reason to be proud of these soldiers.
“I can’t say enough about the work that all of our Soldiers put in,” continued Beckler. “They show up each and every drill and work extremely hard to develop a great product. I know they want to represent the South Dakota National Guard and the Army to the best of their ability. It shows in their hard work.”
More than half of the SUA units are continuing consecutive years of training excellence – with four units receiving the award for the second time in a row, three units for a third straight year and five units for four consecutive years. The 211th Engineer Company has earned the SUA five years in a row and the 740th Transportation Company has received it five out of the last six years.

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