Induction ceremony welcomes new engineer leaders

Recently assigned leaders of the 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command, Virginia Army National Guard ceremoniously attach battle streamers to the battalion colors during the inaugural 1st Virginia Regiment Induction Ceremony June 11, 2014, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. (Photo by Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Recently assigned leaders of the 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command, Virginia Army National Guard ceremoniously attach battle streamers to the battalion colors during the inaugural 1st Virginia Regiment Induction Ceremony June 11, 2014, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. (Photo by Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT A.P. HILL, Va. – The Virginia National Guard’s Petersburg-based 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command welcomed new leaders to its ranks in a ceremony held Jun 11, 2014, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va.

The ceremony is meant to charge the newly assigned officers and noncommissioned officers with preserving the military history and traditions of the 1st Virginia Regiment, whose lineage is now carried by today’s 276th Engineer Battalion.

The evening began with Command Sgt. Maj. Daryl Plude, command sergeant major for the 276th Engineer Battalion, leading the audience in a moment of silence in remembrance of the battalion’s Soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice, six of whom were lost in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns.

Following the moment of silence, the group of 16 inductees reverently attached the 16 campaign participation streamers to the battalion’s colors. One by one, newly assigned officers and non-commissioned officers approached the colors and attached each “battle streamer” to the flagstaff while a senior member of the battalion narrated the achievements and decorations of the battalion during its 223 years of official service to the U.S. Army and 363 years to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Streamers are awarded in recognition of a display of heroism or meritorious service that is the result of a group effort or indicate campaign or war service. The 276th Engineer Battalion has earned 26 campaign streamers and is in the process of replacing the 10 streamers not used during the ceremony.

“The battalion’s roots can be traced to 1652 when the House of Burgesses authorized the organization of the Charles City and Henrico County Regiment,” explained Capt. Shawn M. Otto, operations officer for the 276th Engineer Battalion. “After the war, under the new militia organization, the heritage of the 1st Virginia Regiment was split, with the 276th’s piece traced first to the Richmond City Regiment under the command of future U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, Col. John Marshall, which was soon reorganized as the 19th Infantry Regiment, Virginia Militia on December 31, 1791 and that is the officially recognized date as the official lineage for the 1st Virginia Regiment.”

More than 46 officers and non-commissioned officers participated in the ceremony as either inductees or audience members. “I think it was a great presentation, I liked the ceremony with the hanging of the streamers, I thought it made it really personal for me,” said 2nd Lt. Jason S. Reardon, platoon leader for the 237th Engineer Company.

“It was a good opportunity to get the senior NCOs and new lieutenants and captains in the battalion- who have never served in the battalion- to see what this battalion has endured from all the way back into the 1600’s through the present,” said Plude, “ It was a good chance to show those folks the heritage and lineage of the battalion.”

“This was an opportunity to let some of the newer members of the First Virginia Regiment learn a little about our heritage and lineage” explained Lt. Col. Garland H. Goodrich, commander of the 276th Engineer Battalion.

The newly joined leaders participated in what Goodrich hopes will become a lasting reminder of the battalion’s heritage and lineage and that it will continue building esprit d’ corps among the battalion’s leadership.

The ceremony marked the completion of a successful annual training for the 276th Engineers, the rigorous two-week period brought four of the battalion’s subordinate units to Fort A.P. Hill, Va., one unit at Fort Pickett, Va. and the last performing an Innovative Readiness Training project in Henry County, Va.

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