FORT MCCOY, Wis. — The Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 426th Regional Training Institute earned the U.S. Army’s Superior Unit Award for its performance in 2014-15, a year in which the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command recognized the unit as an Institution of Excellence.
The 426th RTI’s current commander and command sergeant major affixed the Superior Unit Award streamer to its regimental colors during an April 11 ceremony at Fort McCoy.
The unit, which houses a field artillery school, a number of military professional development courses such as master resilience training, comprehensive health and wellness, unit movement officer, and medic refresher courses, as well the Wisconsin Military Academy, which commissions officers and warrant officers through the Officer Candidate School, displayed a superior level of instruction and customer service to units and personnel from the National Guard, Army Reserve, and active component Army during the cited period.
The professionalism and quality of the 426th’s instructors and staff resulted in the prestigious award for the institution and its personnel. The Army recognized the 426th as an Institution of Excellence in conjunction with the unit earning its accreditation in 2016.
“A tremendous amount of work went into preparing for that, but beyond that single effort, the regiment’s culture, the relationships made, and systemic overhaul of processes led to many successes,” retired Col. Greg Hirsch, the 426th’s commander during that time, said. “The award is a nice recognition, but the real reward is what came out of all these changes and the long-term impact of those changes and relationships.”
The 426th is known across the Army for the quality of its instruction, Hirsch said, noting that after its accreditation in 2016 amongst the top one percent of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command schoolhouses, the RTI was selected as the Army’s sole provider for the Army’s Master Resiliency Training program. It also became the first Army National Guard schoolhouse to train active duty Army Soldiers in its noncommissioned officer education courses as well as the first fully certified joint fires observer program in the Reserve Component.
“Those things bring tremendous benefit to the Wisconsin Army National Guard, the Reserve Component as a whole, and they made huge contributions to integrating the total force,” he said. “The award is important, but the tangible accomplishments that led to the award continue to provide benefit to every Soldier and leader in the state.”
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Moehrke, who served as the RTI command sergeant major during that time was also on hand for the ceremony.
“This award came as a result of tremendous collaboration, selfless service, and commitment to excellence of every Soldier in the organization working to promote the overall success and legacy of excellence of this great institution,” current 426th commander Col. Carl Meredith said during the ceremony.”
“Congratulations to Col. Hirsch, Command Sergeant Major Moehrke, and every servant leader who faithfully discharged their duties with a spirit of excellence,” he said. “It is truly a reflection of your outstanding leadership.”
The Superior Unit Award is a decoration awarded by the United States Army in peacetime to any unit of the Army that displays outstanding meritorious performance.