FORT LEONARD WOOD, Missouri – Recently senior leaders from the U.S. Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) school here, selected the top performing CBRN companies for 2019 in the Active Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard and presented each of the winners with the prestigious Maj. Gen. William L. Sibert Award for Excellence during a ceremony at the Baker Theater here June 27.
The annual award program is designed to provide deserving recognition for units in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps, while instilling pride and reinforcing the essential elements of mission readiness, leadership, discipline, unit training, safety, reenlistment, maintenance and organizational excellence. The units are also recognized for providing outstanding support to the joint warfighter.
Clenching this year’s top honors for the U.S. Army Reserve was a CBRN company located in Bell, California; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 453rd Chemical Battalion, 209th Regional Support Group, 76th Operational Response Command.
“I was really humbled to receive this award,” said Army Reserve 1st Lt. Nina N. Kazibwe, company commander, HHC, 453rd Chem. Bn., 209th RSG, 76th ORC, and aide to the deputy commanding general, 76th ORC. “It really shows how hard my Soldiers have worked and it’s a testament to their commitment to individual and unit readiness.”
In addition to hard work, there were a host of key factors Kazibwe said helped put them on top of the competition this year. “I think one thing that sets us apart is that not only were we able to perform our mission, but we are able to provide support to other units in the battalion as well,” she said. “Our Soldiers also did a lot of volunteer work and were heavily involved in the local community. Some helped with the fires in California last year, some were involved with the local schools and the fire departments, some donated clothes to local missions, and some participated in back to school campaigns helping to gather school supplies for kids in need.”
With her unit success now in the spotlight, Kazibwe offered some advice for other company commanders. “I think the most important key to success is humility and having the right mind set,” she said. “Be humble, be willing to learn and know when to take a step back. Make sure you are training on your Mission Essential Task Lists and ensure you are maximizing time with your Soldiers. Do a Field Training Exercise (FTX) every quarter. That’s vital to keeping Soldiers engaged and ensuring they know how to do their jobs, and it helps them become more efficient and perform better. Staying on top of medical readiness is crucial as well.”
Kazibwe’s hard work and unit leadership was quickly noticed by her battalion commander. “Lieutenant Kazibwe is incredibly competent and frankly she has done an absolutely excellent job as a company commander,” said Lt. Col. Maxcy Hanna, commander, 453rd Chem. Bn., 209th RSG, 76th ORC. “Of all the company commanders I have worked with over the past five-years, I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Sibert Award.”
Hanna also praised Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Hickman, company first sergeant, HHC, 453rd Chem. Bn., for his hard work and dedication in helping the company prepare for and win this year’s award. “Sgt. 1st Class Hickman is really a master of all trades,” said Hanna. “Since I’ve known him, he has epitomized professionalism and what I think the Noncommissioned Officer Corps is supposed to look like. He is on the ball and he gets the job done.”
Kazibwe also gave a lot of credit to Hickman. “His support was absolutely vital and I could not have done this without him,” she said. “I simply gave him my intent and he made it happen. He is the one that ensured the training was executed. His hard work has been invaluable, and we worked really well together as a team.”
Hickman accredited his unit success to his Soldiers and the command team relationship. “We could not have been successful without the Soldiers doing their jobs, maintaining their individual readiness and attending battle assemblies,” he said. “Our success is a direct reflection of their hard work and dedication.”
“I’m definitely proud of the work our Soldiers have done over the course of the last year,” said Kazibwe. “Thinking back to all the long nights and hours spent working on the unit, this award has made it worthwhile.”
“Overall, I’m extremely proud of the company leadership and my staff who worked closely together to receive this recognition,” said Hanna. “I’m going to urge all of my company commanders to compete for the Sibert Award next year, and I would absolutely love to see another one of my companies win.”
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