The leader of a Colorado Springs-based National Guard unit accepted a prestigious strategic-defense award last week, marking the first time an Army unit has won it.
Army Col. Michael Hatfield, commander of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, accepted the U.S. Strategic Command’s 2019 Omaha Trophy for Global Operations on Thursday from Rear Admiral William W. “Trey” Wheeler III — chief of staff at U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Neb. — during a ceremony at U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Headquarters on Peterson Air Force Base .
“Winning matters, and claiming this award is a testament to all the soldiers of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade and their steadfast dedication to our presidentially directed homeland defense mission,” Hatfield said in a press release from the Colorado National Guard. “Their accomplishments, mission effectiveness, formal evaluation and inspection results and meritorious achievements throughout 2019 set them apart from other contenders.”
The brigade received the award for executing the first salvo test launch of Flight-test Ground-based Interceptor 11, a ground-based midcourse defense system, in cooperation with mission partners at Schriever Air Force Base and the 49th Missile Defense Battalion crew at Fort Greely, Alaska.
During the test, the brigade’s ground-based interceptors destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile test vehicle launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
The crews had no advanced notice of the launch, according to the press release.
The trophy, created by the Strategic Air Command Consultation Committee in 1971, has been presented annually since, continuing after the activation of STRATCOM in 1992. It was initially presented to the command’s best wing, but five awards have since evolved: one for the best intercontinental ballistic missile wing, one for best ballistic missile submarine, one for best strategic bomber wing, one for best global operations unit and one for best strategic aircraft wing.
The brigade is the only in the country dedicated to defending the U.S. and designated areas from intercontinental ballistic missile attacks via ground-based interceptor missiles, at Fort Greely and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.