MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (3/27/13) – In a time of budget cuts, drawdowns and a post-war scramble for resources and money, the Muhlenberg County based 238th Regimental Training Institute (RTI), has caught the eye of the United States Army - and in a good way.
The 238th RTI has been designated as an "Institute of Excellence" by the Army, the culmination of a series of inspections that resulted in a 98% average. This designation covers a variety of disciplines to include field artillery, infantry, military police, officer candidates and warrant officer candidates.
Colonel William A. Denny, commander of the 238th RTI, told SurfKY News there are a number of reasons the men and women who make up the institute are able to delivery "more bang for the buck" in a time of budget cutbacks.
"The number one reason is the professionalism of everyone here. Their commitment to maintaining the highest standards possible goes a long way toward reaching our goals. Also, the support we get from the Kentucky National Guard as a whole and the senior leaders here, along with the state staff, are a huge plus. Third, it's just the Guard tradition of being cost efficient. We pride ourselves on being able to improvise and being able to prioritize and get by with less resources."
"This Institution of Excellence accreditation puts us in the top echelons of our peers," Col. Denny added.
"This is important as it gives us a leg up when competing for resources, additional courses and other opportunities. We are in an uncertain environment due to a shift in strategy, a transition from an Army at War to an Army in Preparation, and an era of fiscal uncertainty," said Denny. "However, this accreditation puts us in excellent position to maintain and to grow and to continue to add benefit to the Kentucky National Guard and the One Army School System."
Denny also emphasized that the Guard men and women from all over the state appreciate the support and positive reinforcement they receive from Muhlenberg County's residents and businesses.
"There are a lot of great guard towns throughout Kentucky, but I would put Muhlenberg County right up there with the best. We've had as many as 2000 trainees here at one time, and all that translates into dollars spent in the area. Our soldiers, when they have the chance, buy from local businesses in the county, buy their gas, and eat at local restaurants. We hope this makes a positive economic impact." Denny said.
One positive result of the facility is the fact that what was once abandoned strip mine land is now being utilized to prepare Guardsmen on a daily basis.
David Altom of the Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Division noted that the 238th RTI was originally stationed at Fort Knox, but since moving to Muhlenberg County "our Guardsmen don't have to wait in line to use training facilities. It's been a great partnership between the 238th, the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center and Muhlenberg County. Our on-site staff is around a hundred people and they all love living there."
Chief instructor Master Sgt. John Hazlett sums it all up with practical optimism: "The future of the Kentucky National Guard is happening now at the 238th," said Hazlett. "The point of the spear is right here. New ideas that come out of active duty, from Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa, we're the first to implement those right here, right now. When a Soldier comes here, they truly learn how to be a leader, how to lead a squad, a platoon or a company. When they leave here, they leave better than they ever were before."
All photos courtesy of Ky.National Guard/Photos by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond
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