By Sharon McBride, USAFA SchoolDecember 20, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. - The Knox, Hamilton and Gruber award program of the U.S. Army Field Artillery School is designed to promote, sustain and recognize excellence within the U.S. Army Field Artillery, and this year's recipients were picked from among 40 entries.
The Henry A. Knox award is given to the best active duty battery, while the most outstanding battery within the Army National Guard is presented the Alexander Hamilton award. An individual whose thought and innovation results in significant contributions to or the enhancement of the field artillery's warfighting capabilities, morale, readiness, and maintenance is awarded the Edmund L. Gruber award.
The 2011 Knox, Hamilton, and Gruber award recipients are as follows:
• Knox Award -- Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery from Fort Campbell, Ky.
• Hamilton Award -- Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery from Kentucky.
• Gruber Award -- SFC Malcolm A. Lewis from Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery, Fort Bragg, N.C.
2011 Knox Award -- HHB, 3rd BN, 320th FAR
This battery was the nucleus of Task Force Red Knight during the 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans" deployment to Regional Command East, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 10-11.
Task Force Red Knight was a composite unit commanded by 3-320th FA, consisting of two infantry companies, an engineer company, a forward support company, a Vermont Army National Guard infantry company and two organic field artillery batteries. HHB, 3-320th FA had a diverse and difficult support mission coordinating air assault and air transport, providing liaison with U.S. Army Rangers and counter-fire radar support at Combat Outpost (COP) Sabari.
HHB had several accomplishments during the course of their deployment, which included the radar section tracking more than 500 rockets and recoilless rifle rounds and the Focused Targeting Force (FTF) distinguishing themselves in two particular missions -- while assaulting an ambush near COP Cheratow in early spring 2010 and rescuing stranded Afghan civilians from the monsoon floods in July 2010. HHB also played an instrumental role in the defense of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno in July 2010, after more than 50 insurgents sought to kill as many American Soldiers as possible in a suicide attack.
At the conclusion of their deployment, HHB Soldiers had received abundant awards for valor and achievements. These included one Soldier's Medal, 15 Bronze Star Medals, four Air Medals, one Bronze Star Medal with Valor, numerous Army Commendation Medals with Valor and one Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.
2011 Hamilton Award -- B/1-623 Field Artillery
This Army National Guard battery had one of the most demanding years in the history of its battalion. The battery had several accomplishments during 2011. Besides completing rigorous training that led to successful certification of all crews and weapons systems, they also successfully conducted convoy operations from home station in Campbellsville, Ky., to Fort Chaffee, Ark., for annual training for a total distance of 1,284 miles.
The "Stallion" warriors also conducted 16 state active-duty missions to support the communities within Taylor, Marion, Green and Adair counties. These missions included positive community relations at county fairs, fall festivals and the Bluegrass State Games. The unit also supported flood relief efforts in Western Kentucky. The Battery maintained a 96 percent strength level throughout FY11 and 87 percent of its Soldiers were MOS qualified.
2011 Gruber Award -- Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm A. Lewis, from A/3-321 Field Artillery
This field artilleryman displayed unquestionable personal courage and selfless service when faced with harsh and hostile conditions at FOB Andar, Afghanistan, while deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom XI-XII.
Among Lewis' numerous accomplishments include drastically improving the conditions his Soldiers lived and worked in during deployment, while supervising the firing of more than 1,000 rounds in support of maneuver forces in Task Force Iron's (3-187 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division) and TF Ramrod's (2-2 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division) areas of operations.
While deployed, his platoon fired more than 30 lethal fire missions, resulting in more than 60 insurgents killed in action and more than 100 wounded in action. Most noteworthy, Lewis demonstrated exceptional technical and tactical skills as he led his team in the employment of the new Excalibur precision guided munitions, which resulted in precision lethal effects on enemy positions. Throughout the deployment, Lewis' platoon also routinely fired counter-fire missions which suppressed enemy indirect fire and preserved friendly combat power.