35th Infantry Division receives Meritorious Unit Commendation

By Maj. Margaret St. PierreOctober 4, 2023

Santa Fe Division earns Meritorious Unit Commendation
Former Commanding General, 35th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. William Blaylock and former Division Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuenkel added an Army Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer to the Division's colors during this year's Division Dining Out and Awards Ceremony in Leavenworth, Kansas, Sept. 9, 2023. The Division earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation Citation while supporting the Retrograde Operation from Afghanistan, Operation Allies Refuge, and Operation Allies Welcome during their 2022 overseas mobilization. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Evan Anderson) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Evan Anderson) VIEW ORIGINAL

The 35th Infantry Division added another Meritorious Unit Commendation streamer to the division colors during this year's division dining out and awards ceremony in Leavenworth, Kansas, Sept. 9. The streamer was added by former 35th Infantry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. William Blaylock and former Division Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuenkel, who led the division during their 2022 deployment.

The Army MUC is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during the period of military operations against an armed enemy occurring on or after 1 January 1944. Service in a combat zone is not required, but must be directly related to the combat effort.

“It was a great honor to place the streamer on the 35th Inf. Div. colors,” said Blaylock. “The Soldiers of the 35th performed so well and made a significant impact on the region during our deployment. It was humbling to place the streamer alongside those of previous mobilizations.”

The Division earned the Meritorious Unit Commendation Citation while supporting the retrograde operations from Afghanistan - Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome - during their 2022 overseas mobilization. The 35th Inf. Div. facilitated the deliberate withdrawal of United States and partner nation forces from Afghanistan, culminating in the largest evacuation of non-combatants in United States military history. Division units were also tasked with the withdrawal of military equipment along with United States coalition and contractor personnel concluding the two decades of combat operations in Afghanistan.

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments this streamer represents,” said Blaylock. “The division came together as a team: we were a team who strove to accomplish our mission.”

Although both Blaylock and Stuenkel are no longer with the division due to their recent retirements from the military this past summer, they returned to Leavenworth to celebrate the accomplishments of the division and wish the division well in future endeavors.

“Take the lessons learned from being a part of a division that worked so well together,” said Blaylock. “We demonstrated what strength in unity can accomplish. Work to build those relationships wherever you are assigned. Remember that you won't always have all of the answers; our partners brought forth solutions to issues that we probably wouldn't have thought of. Be willing to listen - we are stronger together.”