NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – The New York Army National Guard's Alpha Battery of the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, has been recognized as the most outstanding Guard artillery battery in the country by the Field Artillery School.
The Alexander Hamilton Award for 2020 was presented to the battery Soldiers by Brig. Gen. Andrew D. Preston, the commandant of the Field Artillery School and Army chief of artillery, at the unit's home at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in New Windsor Sept. 11.
The annual award recognizes the most outstanding National Guard field artillery unit in the country.
"I rarely distinguish the difference between the active-duty Army and the National Guard," Preston said. "But over half of the military's field artillery is in the National Guard; we are one force and one team, and I am honored to recognize this year's best field artillery battery."
The battery was recognized for meeting Army standards for training, logistics, maintenance and fitness, while also playing a key role in the New York National Guard response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Alexander Hamilton Award was created in 2002 and is named after American statesman and Continental Army artilleryman Alexander Hamilton.
Hamilton was an outstanding artillery battery commander and an aide to Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He shaped the Constitution and served as the nation's first treasury secretary.
Lt. Col. Marc Lindemann, the commander of the 258th Field Artillery, praised the Soldiers of Alpha Battery for winning the award.
"Their versatility in the face of adversity to overcome pandemic-related challenges but also maintain tactical proficiencies was incredible," Lindemann said.
Soldiers were evaluated on mission execution, training, deployment service, equipment maintenance, logistics program, fitness, family readiness and community service from October 2019 through September 2020.
During the period, the Soldiers conducted training and firing exercises with their M119A3 105 mm howitzers, trained on individual Soldier skills and played key roles in the state's response to the pandemic, Lindemann said.
The battery also achieved perfect scores on maintenance and logistics inspections.
During the pandemic, the battery distributed millions of meals to vulnerable New York City residents and helped administer thousands of COVID-19 tests while still training during drill weekend, he said.
"The last year was challenging, with activating Soldiers and having our force spread out across the multiple missions. But the Soldiers and leaders we had banded together and still accomplished anything and everything that we still had to get done," said Staff Sgt. Drew Brown, the battery's training sergeant.
The battery of 75 Soldiers is commanded by Capt. Daniel Rogers.
1st Sgt. Brian Badgero, the battery's senior enlisted leader, said he was proud of his Soldiers.
"They have come a long way in the past year and continue to maintain readiness and proficiency in their jobs," Badgero said.