Sep 16, 2020 6:00 AM

Kansas National Guard battery recognized as best in nation

Posted Sep 16, 2020 6:00 AM
<b>Members of the&nbsp;Kansas National Guard's Battery C, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery Regiment attach an award streamer to their guidon during the award ceremony Saturday.</b> Photos courtesy Kansas National Guard
Members of the Kansas National Guard's Battery C, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery Regiment attach an award streamer to their guidon during the award ceremony Saturday. Photos courtesy Kansas National Guard

A Kansas National Guard battery has been recognized as the best in the nation.

The Kansas National Guard's Battery C, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery Regiment, Newton, received the Alexander Hamilton Award for 2019 during a ceremony at the National Guard armory in Newton on Saturday.

This annual award recognizes the most outstanding National Guard field artillery unit in the country. The award recognizes the outstanding Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery, Reserve Component, U.S. Army National Guard battery of the year for exceptional achievement, superior mission accomplishment and overall unit excellence.

Col. Paul Schneider, 130th FAB commander, congratulated the unit's efforts.

"This has been an outstanding past couple of years," Schneider said. "It's great to see the hard work pay off and be recognized as the 2020 Hamilton Award winner."

<b>Members of the&nbsp;Kansas National Guard's Battery C, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery Regiment participate in the awards ceremony Saturday.</b>
Members of the Kansas National Guard's Battery C, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery Regiment participate in the awards ceremony Saturday.

Units considered for the award are reviewed on physical readiness, safety, soldier care, unit strength, weapons qualification and other readiness and training achievements. The Hamilton award is named after Continental Army artilleryman Maj. Gen. Alexander Hamilton, who was known for his military leadership, appointed as aide-de-camp to Gen. George Washington and helped frame the U.S. Constitution.

Capt. Joseph Kinsey, battery commander; 1st Sgt. Wesley Poell, battery first sergeant; and Sgt. 1st Class Brian McKinney, readiness noncommissioned officer and rear detachment commander, formed the leadership team.

"Winning this award was a team effort," said Kinsey. "It couldn't have worked if we didn't have teamwork within the organization."

The unit also achieved numerous readiness milestones including the completion of Table XVIII gunnery qualification while overseas; meeting 119 percent of their reenlistment mission; 100 percent Army Physical Fitness Test take rate; 88 percent APFT pass rate; and 100 percent qualification on personal weapons.

Battery C's rear detachment, led by McKinney, supported civil authorities during multiple periods of state active duty through wildland firefighting efforts as well as providing stranded motorist assistance response teams during winter inclement weather.

"The future of the profession is strong in Kansas with field artillery men and women like this in our ranks," said Schneider.

Battery C is a subordinate unit of the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery, Hutchinson. The battalion also has units located in Abilene, Dodge City, and Garden City.