FORT PICKETT, VIRGNIA — The Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Mark A. Milley, has recognized the 276th Engineer Battalion of the Virginia Army National Guard for outstanding vehicle maintenance, according to senior Pentagon officials.
The battalion’s high vehicle readiness came to the attention of the Army Staff last week, during an individual emergency deployment readiness exercise in Richmond, Va. During the exercise, 1st Lt. Joshua Yabut conducted a two-hour tactical convoy movement in an M577 Armored Personnel Carrier without any prior preparation, except standard preventive maintenance checks and services.
Incredibly, the vehicle remained fully operational throughout the entire exercise.
Lt. Col. Lee Jenkins, commanding the 276th Engineer Battalion, said he could not have been prouder of the performance of the Armored Personnel Carrier during the exercise.
“We don’t get the best equipment. Most National Guard vehicles break down the second you start them up,” Custer said after an awards ceremony. “We’re very proud of our maintainers for keeping our vehicles in this top condition, ready to very literally fight tonight.”
General Milley, before presenting an award to the battalion, said that they should be proud of what they have done.
“At any time, any one of you could be called upon to pick up those vehicles and drive them into battle,” Milley said. “We live in the most dangerous world I have ever seen. Right now, we have to be prepared to face North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, the remnants of the Islamic State, and even Canada is looking pretty threatening right now. You have proven to America’s enemies that you are ready to beat them in any battle.”
Yabut’s actions were “an incredible example of mission command,” according to Lt. Col. Jenkins. “He got the order to make this movement happen from the voices in his head, and executed after only conducting hasty mission analysis using the Army’s Ground Risk Assessment Tool. This is the sort of leadership that I would expect from not just the regular army, but really an elite unit like the special forces. One team, one fight!”
The award presented to the battalion consisted of a puke-green streamer and a signed certificate that Gen. Milley made on PowerPoint.