For the second time in the history of the Connecticut National Guard, one of its units has been awarded the Army Superior Unit Award for non-combat related meritorious performance during a difficult and challenging mission under extraordinary circumstances.
The 169th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) was awarded the ASUA during a ceremony at Camp Nett, Niantic, Conn. May 22, 2021.
“We come together today to recognize and celebrate sustained excellence of a unit,” said Brig. Gen. Ralph Hedenberg, director of the Connecticut National Guard joint staff and former commander of the 169th RTI, “but it’s more so about the Soldiers or its people … this unit epitomizes one of Gen. Funk’s – the current [U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command commanding general] – fundamentals: high standards, positive outlook, and excellence.”
The regiment earned the award between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 by achieving the highest rating possible and no negative remarks on any of the 28 specific accreditation-based functional areas of its triennial accreditation, developing and hosting a Training Institute Pre-Command Course to meet the needs of the state’s senior leadership, and provided strategic influence on the national rebalance of RTIs within the Military Police career management field.
All of these achievements were made during periods of limited or reduced staffing, including the loss of a civilian subject matter expert, and while mitigating a severe outbreak of norovirus.
Despite these mounting challenges the RTI faced, it persevered. It was that same level of dedication to the mission, and adaptability to the lessons learned, that helped cement the unit’s legacy as a superior unit which has carried on through the challenges of today’s training environment.
“Despite the COVID pandemic [the 169th Regiment] never stopped training Soldiers,” said Hedenberg. “I can tell you that’s not true across the country, a lot of RTIs shut down … but this regiment said ‘no. We’ll identify the risks, we’ll mitigate those risks as necessary, we’ll improvise, and we’ll accomplish the mission.”
Hedenberg continued: “I believe this is exactly the reason why the Secretary of the Army created this award in the 1980s. Up until that point, the only unit awards were for combat service and failed to recognize the significant contributions performed by units in a peacetime environment. The 169th Regiment has continuously displayed outstanding meritorious performance of a difficult and challenging mission carried out under extraordinary circumstances. That’s what they do every day.”
In addition to the Army Superior Unit Award, the unit also was awarded the Army Chief of Staff Supply Excellence Award – the first in Connecticut National Guard History – for distinguishing itself among all Army National Guard Battalions and Brigades by setting and exceeding the standard for excellence within the Command Supply Discipline and Logistics management through the 2018-2019 calendar year.
While this achievement was no less than a team effort, the 169th wanted to specially recognize one of its Soldiers for his leadership and dedication to go above and beyond the standard. Sergeant 1st Class Max Dobrushkin, supply non-commissioned officer in charge, was honored by being initiated into the Ancient Order of Saint Martin, a prestigious recognition for Soldiers who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity, moral character, and an outstanding degree of professional competence in the quartermaster career field.