CAMP GRAFTON TRAINING CENTER, N.D. — Soldiers of the Fargo-based Battery C (Charlie), 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment were formally presented the 2019 Hamilton Award on July 27 at the N.D. National Guard’s Camp Grafton Training Center near Devils Lake. This award is presented annually by the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) branch to the ADA battery that has demonstrated exceptional achievement and mission accomplishment through the course of the year.
Representing the air defense artillery community at the presentation were Brig. Gen. Frank M. Rice, U.S. Army National Guard Deputy Commanding General (ADA) of the Fires Center of Excellence, Fort Sill, Okla. Presenting the award was Col. David Shank, the Acting Commandant of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery school. The leadership team of Capt. Cody Brekken and 1st Sgt. David Saari accepted the award on Charlie Battery’s behalf.
Among the Charlie Battery’s 2019 accomplishments were high retention, skills qualification and physical fitness test rates along with a highly successful training evaluation at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, Calif. About 76 Soldiers participated at NTC in the unit’s first force-on-force mission where they supported the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team from the Idaho Army National Guard.
“This award proves you are the best air defense artillery Soldiers in the National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. Leo Ryan, Army commander for the N.D. National Guard. “You have a long list of impressive achievements which earned your unit this recognition.”
The award is named in honor of Alexander Hamilton, who served as an artillery officer and aide de camp to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War and was appointed the first Secretary of the Treasury of the newly founded United States of America.
Senior N.D. National Guard leaders present at the ceremony included Brig. Gen. Leo Ryan; Command Sgt. Major Derek Heck, State Command Sergeant Major for the N.D. National Guard; Col. Ben Cleghorn, commander, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; and Lt. Col. Walyn S. Vannurden, commander of the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
“I’m really proud of the non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and Soldiers of Charlie Battery,” said Command Sgt. Major Derek Heck. “The unit’s NCOs truly shined during the NTC rotation – their leadership ensured 100% mission success through 90 simulated enemy aircraft engagements with no friendly fire incidents, which kept their supported ground forces safe from enemy aircraft.”
The North Dakota National Guard is a trained and highly motivated force of about 4,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen. We are always prepared to provide ready units, individuals and equipment in support of our communities, state and nation. Always ready, always there.