MEDIA ADVISORY: Ohio-based engineer battalion receives major Army unit award

By Maj. Oluwole OsiboduFebruary 5, 2016

DARIEN, Ill. - A U.S. Army Reserve engineer battalion from Monclova, Ohio, has been selected to receive the General Walter T. Kerwin Award.

The 983rd Engineer Battalion won the award based on their training and mission accomplishments during the 2014 training year.

The award will be presented in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Oct. 12 during the annual conference hosted by the Association of the United States Army. The current battalion commander and command sergeant major are expected to attend and receive the award on behalf of the unit and their troops.

"Awards like this are obviously all about the unit as a whole, not about the any individual. It is with pride and humility that we prepare to attend and accept this award," said Lt. Col. Stephen M. Spinelli, the battalion commander.

The 983rd En. Bn. was tasked to lead a joint, multi-national humanitarian civic assistance mission in the Dominican Republic from March 3 to July 11, 2014. Approximately 75 percent of the battalion's assigned personnel participated in the exercise. In all, more than 1,800 Soldiers, Marines and Airmen from the U.S., Dominican Republic, Canada, Chile, Brazil and Columbia participated in the exercise.

This annual civic assistance mission is called Beyond the Horizon, in which U.S. engineers and medics build infrastructure and provide aide with the help of international partners.

Throughout the exercise, the battalion had to simultaneously maintain its home-station mission of commanding 12 subordinate units with more than 900 Soldiers, with three of those units deploying to the Middle East.

During this mission, the 983rd En. Bn. assumed the name of Task Force Laminar, charged with training U.S. forces to complete five engineer construction projects, along with six weeks of medical and dental training events. These projects and medical training sessions were tailored to the needs and requests of the Dominican Republic Government.

To accomplish this mission, the battalion's forward support company established a base camp suitable to house, feed, sanitize and protect up to 340 rotational Soldiers at a time in 14-day cycles during a total of 13 weeks. Overall, nearly 40 units from the U.S. Army Reserve, active Army, Air National Guard, U.S. Marine Corps benefited from realistic training opportunities that also benefited the people of the Dominican Republic.