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Real Heroes Recognized on Saturday

Above, 206th Engineering Battalion, Company C of Prestonsburg-prior to Afghan mission.

Ashland, Ky. -- Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky, will present several soldiers from the Kentucky Army National Guard's 201st Engineer Battalion with medals of valor in a ceremony to be conducted at 9 a.m. June 27 at the Ashland National Guard Armory at 2519 Lexington Ave.
 Following the awards will be a change of command ceremony during which Lt. Col. Michael Ferguson will relinquish command of the 201st Engineer Battalion to Lt. Col. Jerry Morrison.
 The 201 Engineer Battalion returned in March 2009 following a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
Following is a list of troops being honored Saturday.  Some Soldiers may not be in attendance.
 From Ashland:  Staff Sgt. Stephen Summers, Army Commendation Medal; Staff Sgt. Dwight Kinder, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device; Spc. Thomas Hay, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device; and Spc. Travis Steward, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device and a (second) Bronze Star Medal.
From Cynthiana:  Staff Sgt. Jerry Sipe, Army Commendation Medal; Spc Ryan Raker, Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with "V" device; and Spc. Michael Slone, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device.
From Olive Hill:  Sgt Joshua Brown, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device; and Spc. Justin Thuma, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device.
From Prestonsburg:  Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Matteini, Bronze Star Medal; Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Goble, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device; Staff Sgt. Kenneth Fairchild, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device;  Staff Sgt. Michael Crace, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device.
Summary of achievements by the 201st Engineers while in Afghanistan:
The 201st Engineer Battalion, comprised of a Headquarters Company (Ashland),
A Company (Ashland), B Company (Olive Hill), C Company (Cynthiana), C Company
206th Engineer Battalion (Prestonsburg), and 927th EN CO (Baton Rouge, LA) mobilized 2 MAR 2008- 6 MAR 2009 to conduct route and area clearance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
 (below - 206th soldier in Afghanistan - the surface of the moon.)
Route Clearance: The battalion experienced 467 engagements with enemy forces. Of these 467 engagements, 331 were Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) with the remainder of the engagements comprising enemy ambushes, mortar, and rocket attacks.  The primary mission of the 201st Engineer Battalion was to find IEDs.  This mission demanded the Battalion mitigate the IED threat to all Coalition Forces ground movements.  The Battalion averaged a 67% find rate out of the 331 IEDs encountered.  The remaining 23% of IEDs were successfully deployed by the enemy on 201st platoons, destroying vehicles and equipment. In spite of the rugged terrain which caused as much damage as the IED blasts the Battalion encountered, Kentucky's "Workhorse" Battalion maintained a 94.5% Operational Readiness rate of all equipment during their deployment through the Herculean maintenance efforts of its deployed Kentucky National Guardsmen.
Area Clearance: The battalion was responsible for clearing residual minefields in the vicinity of Bagram Airfield. The battalion set new records clearing over 1,014,000 square meters safely disposing 16,000 mines in over 20 different demining projects. 201st EN BN was the first unit ever to work with and train local Afghan de-miners.  Also, over 200,000 mines were cleared in other areas of Afghanistan.
Awards include:
-Combat Action Unit Streamer
- Earned through high volume of battalion contact with the enemy (65% of the battalion was in direct contact with the enemy).
-Charlie Company 201st was awarded the Itschner Award, which is given by the US Army Engineer Regiment to the best Engineer Company in the National Guard
- US Army Engineer Regiment's Platoon Leader of the Year awarded to 1LT Joseph Sloan, B Company 201st Route Clearance Platoon 3 Platoon Leader
- 413 Combat Action Badges earned by from contact with the enemy - 42 Purple Heart  
Recipients for injuries sustained from contact with the enemy
- 14 Bronze Stars for Valor earned by Soldiers leading valorous actions while
in contact with the enemy.
- 28 Army Commendation Medals for Valor earned by Soldiers performing
valorous actions while in contact with the enemy.
- 9 Combat Medical Badges earned by medical personnel giving aid in combat.
- 97 Bronze Stars for Achievement earned by Soldiers for performing duties well beyond the call of duty
- 342 Army Commendation Medals earned by Soldiers performing tasks above and
beyond the call of duty
- 29 Meritorious Service Medals earned by Soldiers for performing duties with
- 47 Army Achievement Medals for exemplary service while deployed

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