A unit of 3,000 Iowa National Guard members has been awarded a "Citizen-Patriot Award" by the Reserve Forces Policy Board (R.F.P.B.) Fellows Society, a non-profit and non-partisan organization that educates on topics of interest to the U.S. National Guard and Reserves.
From July 2010 to August 2011, the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division" deployed some 3,000 Iowa, Nebraska, and other personnel to Eastern Afghanistan.
Units that receive Citizen Patriot Award are judged to "have made a substantial contribution to the security and/or defense posture of the United States of America in a manner worthy of recognition at the national level and will have demonstrated a quantifiable and recognizable pattern of excellence."
The award will be presented tonight, Sept. 5, 2012, at a dinner at Fort Myer, Va.
A 7-minute video supporting the unit's application for the award is available online here. The video notably opens with an introduction by U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who was commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan during the 2-34th BCT deployment. The video also mentions the four Red Bull citizen-soldiers who were killed in 2011.
The Citizen Patriot Award for Distinguished Service was established in 2002, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Reserve Forces Policy Board (R.F.P.B.). The 20-member board is a federal advisory committee within the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
The award is now administered by the RFPB Fellows Society, membership in which is limited and exclusively comprised of former board chairmen, members, and staff. The award takes the form of a bust of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, himself a former National Guard soldier and president when the board was established.
Since 2002, the Citizen Patriot Award has been awarded to 8 individuals and 7 units. According to criteria posted on the society's website, individuals who receive the award are judged to "have made a substantial contribution to the nation’s defense and to national security. Recipients will have demonstrated a quantifiable and recognizable pattern of excellence over a lifetime."
Previous individual and unit recipients of the award include:
- Individual Award: G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery
- Unit Award: “The First Shot Club” Veterans USS Ward (DD 139)
- Individual Award: Melvin R. Laird
- Unit Award: 200th and 515th Coast Artillery, New Mexico National Guard, each of which took part in the Philippines Campaign (1941-42) and the Bataan Death March.
- Individual Award: Robert Dole and Terrence O'Connell
- Unit Award: 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve