SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – Bravo Company, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, received the LTG Emerson C. Itschner award for most outstanding engineer company from the Society of American Military Engineers March, 2023.
The prestigious title is presented to one active duty engineer company annually, and for the first time since the conception of the award in 1960, a Bronco Brigade company was on the receiving end.
The competing units are graded across four major categories, contributions to the engineer corps image, retention, professional development programs, and mission related accomplishments.
The company's success can be attributed to the leadership of Capt. Michael Steele, commander, and B Co 1st Sgt. Jesse Frederick, who emphasized the importance of teamwork and fostered a culture of collaboration and support.
“This award is for the soldiers,” said Steele, “I see how hard these soldiers work every day and I’m extremely proud of this team and everything they accomplished this past year.”
The B Co Banshees became the face of the engineer branch across Indo-Pacific area of responsibility. Throughout 2022, the company participated in Operation Pathway exercises in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.
Steele assumed command of the company in May, taking the leadership mantle from Capt. Ryan Healy and built on the successes Healy put into motion.
In addition to the deployments supporting Operation Pathways, Steele and Frederick implemented regular scheduled professional development classes for junior soldiers, emphasized safety during all training events, and prioritized soldier reenlistments.
The end result was a resume of achievements that supported an exhaustive 99-page application tilting the scale in favor of Banshee Company being named most outstanding engineer company.
Being named best in the Army requires a team effort and buy-in from everyone, and 1st Lt. Mackenzie Corcoran, the engineer reconnaissance platoon leader, helped promote that culture both in garrison and when deployed to Malaysia.
“Seeing the passion and dedication the solders put into everything they did during Pathways was incredibly motivating,” said Corcoran. “It made me want to be the best leader I could be for them.”
For the Banshees, the award validates the overnight field exercises, the overseas deployments, the early mornings and long nights, and all hard work each soldier put forth.
LTC Joshua Long, the 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion commander, had this to say about the award.
“The LTG Emerson C. Itschner Award recognizes the excellence of Banshee Company’s achievements over the past year. This award confirms the dedication and commitment of the soldiers within the unit, and rightfully showcases the standards of excellence they uphold. Banshee Company ensure there are none better within the engineer regiment.”
As Banshee Company continues to serve the 25th Infantry Division, the soldiers can take pride in the knowledge that their hard work and sacrifice have not gone unnoticed.