1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery (United States)

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1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery
320FARegtCOA.jpg
320th Field Artillery Regiment coat of arms
Active 1917 – present
Country United States
Branch Regular Army
Type Field artillery
Size Battalion
Part of 101st Airborne Division
Garrison/HQ Fort Campbell
Nickname "Top Guns"
Motto "Volens Et Potens"
Equipment 105mm howitzers
Engagements World War I
World War II
Operation Power Pack
Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operations Enduring Freedom
Decorations
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for Ste. Mere Eglise
  • French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II for Cotentin
  • French Croix de Guerre, World War II, Fourragere
  • Military Order of William (Degree of the Knight of the Fourth Class) for Nijmegen 1944
  • Netherlands Orange Lanyard
  • Belgian Fourragere 1940
Battle honours
  • World War I: St. Mihiel; Meuse-Argonne; Lorraine 1918

World War II: *Sicily; *Naples-Foggia; *Normandy (with arrowhead); *Rhineland (with arrowhead); *Ardennes-Alsace; *Central Europe

Armed Forces Expeditions: *Dominican Republic (Operation Power Pack); *Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury)

Southwest Asia: *Defense of Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Shield) *Liberation and Defense of Kuwait (Operation Desert Storm)
Commanders
Current
commander
LTC Mark B. Sherkey
Notable
commanders
MG John J. Ryneska
Insignia
"Willing and Able" 320FARegtDUI.jpg

The 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment is a U.S. Army field artillery battalion assigned to the 2d Brigade Combat Team 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The battalion has been assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, 11th Airborne Division and 101st Airborne Division. The battalion has participated in World War I, World War II, Operation Power Pack, Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

History[edit]

World War I[edit]

The 1-320 FA's beginnings can be traced back to America’s entry into the First World War. As part of the nation’s mobilization, 1-320th was constituted, organized and activated in August 1917 as Battery A, 320th Field Artillery (A/320th FA). As part of the original 82nd Division, A/320th FA played a key role at Lorraine, St Mihiel, and the Meuse Argonne region in France. Following the Armistice, the 320th FA demobilized, only to be reconstituted in June 1921 as part of the United States Organized Reserves.

World War II[edit]

In August 1942, when the 82nd Infantry Division was converted to an airborne division, the 320th FA (including A/320th) was reorganized and redesignated as the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion (GFAB). As part of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 320th GFAB fought in a number of hot spots. First, the 320th GFAB was part of the campaign in Sicily, acting in reserve. The unit first saw action at the Volturno River on the Italian mainland. The crucial Normandy invasion was the next stop for the 320th GFAB. Under difficult conditions, the unit helped make the invasion a success. As a result of the 320th’s actions during Operation Overlord, the unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. The 320th GFAB next fought in Operation Market Garden and then the Battle of the Bulge when the Germans attempted their last-ditch offensive. The 320th GFAB then fought and played a role in the final push through the Rhineland to defeat Germany. Upon the war’s end the unit completed its duties in Europe as part of the post-war occupation in Berlin.

Post-World War II[edit]

After the war, the 320th GFAB went through a number of transitions. It was inactivated on 15 December 1948 and relieved from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division on 14 December 1950. On 1 August 1951 it was reorganized and redesignated as the 320th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion (AFAB), and activated at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Post-Korean War[edit]

During the 1950s, the 320th FA served as the field artillery battalion of the separate 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. When the Army eliminated infantry regiments and battalions from division and organized under the Pentomic structure, the 320th Field Artillery was reorganized as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regiment System. A/320th FA was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division in Germany. A/320th FA was inactivated on 1 July 1958 in Germany when the 11th Airborne was inactivated and replaced by the 24th Infantry Division. A/320th FA were redesignated on 15 November 1962 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Artillery, and assigned to the 82d Airborne Division (organic elements concurrently constituted).

26 April 1965, President Johnson ordered paratroopers from the 82d Airborne Division; XVIII Airborne Corps; Company E, 7th Special Forces Group; and Marines from the Amphibious Squadron 10 to the Dominican Republic as part of Operation Power Pack to protect American lives and to prevent a possible Castro-type takeover by Communist elements. The 1-320th FA was alerted on 28 April 1965 and ordered to move to the Dominican Republic by 1 May 1965 as part of Task Force Power Pack II, which contained two airborne infantry battalions of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment (AIR)[1] and other supporting elements totaling 2,276 men. The remainder of the 325th AIR and 1-320th FA were send as part of Power Pack III a few days later.[2][3] On 26 May 1965, Us Forces began withdrawal from the Dominican Republic as Central and South American troops assumed peacekeeping duties.

Post-Vietnam[edit]

On the evening of 23 October 1983, (same day as the Bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut) the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, including the 1- 320th FA and other support units were alerted as the 82d Airborne Division's "Division Ready Brigade" to begin its 18 hour rapid deployment sequence to execute combat operations in support of Operation Urgent Fury on the Caribbean island of Grenada. The DRF 1 (Division Ready Force 1) package was activated and paratroopers of 2d Brigade were "wheels up" from Pope Air Force Base within 17 hours of notice. Parts of the 1-320th FA were sent to an intermediate staging base (ISB) in Barbados to await the staging of the rest of the division to concentrate the projection of forces from a shorter distance. Once Rangers from 1st & 2nd Battalions had secured Point Salinas Airport during an airborne assault of the airport, the 82d Airborne elements cancelled their airborne assault and air-landed at Point Salinas. Elements of Batteries B and C arrived on the island during the evening of 25 October 1983 without their guns and provided rear area security in the vicinity of the runway. Early on the morning of 26 October 1983, Battery B's guns began arriving, followed closely by most of C Battery's guns. Battery B began firing direct support missions later that morning from the south side of Point Salinas airfield. Once Battery C's guns arrived, that battery was repositioned to the north side of the runway near the airport terminal. From there Battery C fired numerous missions including the 30 minute prep fires for the assault by the Rangers on Calvigny Barrack. Batteries B and C redeployed to Fort Bragg early in November 1983. Combat operations continued till 15 December 1983 when last elements of the battalion redeployed to Fort Bragg, NC.

1-320th FA remained a part of the 82nd until Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986 [4] and on 2 October 1986, 1-320th FA was relieved from assignment to the 82d Airborne Division and assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Simultaneous assignments resulted in all three field artillery battalions in the 82nd carrying the designation of the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment (AFAR) and all in the 101st being flagged as elements of the 320th Field Artillery Regiment. Prior to the reflagging, the 82nd Division Artillery consisted of 1–319th, 1–320th, and 2–321st FA, while the 101st Division Artillery consisted of 3–319th, 2–320th, and 1–321st FA.

Gulf War[edit]

1st 320th AFAR next saw action in the Middle East from 1990 until 1991. As a part of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the battalion was part of the massive US force that drove the Iraqi Army from Kuwait.

Operation Iraqi Freedom I[edit]

During the preparations for OIF I, A/1-320th deployed two weeks ahead of the battalion's main body to support port operations of the entire division.[5]

Operation Iraqi Freedom III[edit]

A silhouette photo of soldiers from Battery B, 3d Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, pose at the end of a patrol near Wynot, Iraq much like the cover of Band of Brothers.

1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment under the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) was ordered to deploy to the CENTCOM AOR in late September 2005. Upon completion of a JRTC mission rehearsal exercise in April 2005, it began a 5-month intensive train up to prepare for the next deployment.

LTC Rafael Torres, Jr. took command of the unit on 17 March 2005 and immediately began to prepare for Iraq. The battalion conducted live fire exercises in June and then began transitional training in motorized infantry tactics due to the change of mission for Iraq.

The battalion began deployment in August 2005. The rest of the battalion began deploying in late September to Camp Taji the second week of October 2005. Iraqi National elections were scheduled to be held on the 15th of October, equipment was delayed in Kuwait until the 20th, after the elections. The unit conducted a RIP/TOA (relief in place/transfer of authority) with 1–118th FA (Georgia Army National Guard) and the 70th Engineer Battalion (3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division) and completed the TOA on the 26th. The 1–320th detached a firing platoon from B Battery to 1–502 Infantry Battalion to conduct counter fire operations in Mahmudiyah. The battalion’s radar section deployed with the 4th BDE 101st, to the Mahmudiyah area also. While in Mahmudiyah, the Radar section conducted numerous counter-fire missions which resulted in the firing of over 1400 rounds of artillery. The 1–320th also detached a MiTT (Military Transition Team) team to work with an Iraqi Army Battalion in support of 1–22 IN and 1–10 CAV in and around Southeast Baghdad and at FOB Falcon.

1–320th FA controlled check points, conducted cordon and searches and patrolled villages with populations up to 1000 residents. The battalion detained over 100 insurgents, which resulted in a third of them being prosecuted and imprisoned at Abu Ghraib. The unit was also responsible for finding numerous weapons and ammo caches which included hundreds of mortar, artillery, tank rounds and 200 pound aerial bombs; seized weapons including 8 mortar tubes, 500 rifles and RPG launchers, and thousands of rounds of small arms ammunition.

In Taji, Iraq the battalion suffered 6 KIAs by enemy action:

  • Master Sergeant James F. Hayes,

SSG James E. Estep, SGT Clarence L. Floyd, SPC Matthew J. Holley, SPC Alexis Roman-Cruz, and PFC Travis J. Grigg

In late November, the battalion received a change of mission to assume the duties of the Area Defense Operations Cell (ADOC) at Camp Victory located in the Victory Base Complex (VBC) surrounding the Baghdad International Airport.

The 1–320th conducted a RIP/TOA with the 2–299th IN (Hawaii Army National Guard) and completed the TOA on the 7 January 2006. Its mission on Camp Victory required the 1-320th to conduct patrols in three villages neighboring the camp in Baghdad, control entry access and patrol the Al Faw Palace, as well as numerous Force Protection missions to ensure the security of the Multi-National Coalition-Iraq (MNC-I) and Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I) Headquarters on Camp Victory.

While conducting ADOC operations on Camp Victory, 1st 320th FA distinguished themselves by providing exceptional security and CMO operations to the VBC and surrounding villages of Al Furat, Iraqi Family Village, and Airport Village. 1–320th completed over 200 force protection improvement projects on Camp Victory and conducted over 3 million dollars in projects to improve the quality of life for our Iraqi neighbors. Meanwhile, at FOB Falcon, 16 soldiers of the "Top Guns" Battalion Military Transition Team (MiTT) were conducting continuous combat operations in support of 1–22 IN and 1–10 CAV in and around Southeast Baghdad.

The battalion redeployed to Fort Campbell in August 2006.

Operation Iraqi Freedom V[edit]

1-320 FA deployed to Iraq for a third time in October 2007, remaining more than a year and redeploying in late 2008.

Operation Enduring Freedom 10-11[edit]

1-320 FA deployed to southern Afghanistan in July 2010. Under the command of LTC David Flynn, the battalion operated in the Arghandab District of Kandahar Province.[6][7]

Lineage & Honors[edit]

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted 5 August 1917 in the National Army as Battery A, 320th Field Artillery, an element of the 82d Division
  • Organized 29 August 1917 at Camp Gordon, Georgia
  • Demobilized 12 May 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey
  • Reconstituted 24 June 1921 in the Organized Reserves as Battery A, 320th Field Artillery, an element of the 82d Division (later redesignated as the 82d Airborne Division)
  • Organized in December 1921 at Columbia, South Carolina
  • Reorganized and redesignated 13 February 1942 as Battery A, 320th Field Artillery Battalion
  • Ordered into active military service 25 March 1942 and reorganized at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana
  • Reorganized and redesignated 15 August 1942 as Battery A, 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion

(Organized Reserves redesignated 25 March 1948 as the Organized Reserve Corps)

  • Withdrawn 15 November 1948 from the Organized Reserve Corps and allotted to the Regular Army
  • Inactivated 15 December 1948 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina

(320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion relieved 14 December 1950 from assignment to the 82d Airborne Division)

  • Redesignated 1 August 1951 as Battery A, 320th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion, and activated at Fort Benning, Georgia
  • Reorganized and redesignated 1 March 1957 as Battery A, 320th Artillery, and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division
  • Inactivated 1 July 1958 in Germany and relieved from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division
  • Redesignated 15 November 1962 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Artillery, and assigned to the 82d Airborne Division (organic elements concurrently constituted)
  • Battalion activated 7 December 1962 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • Redesignated 1 September 1971 as the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery
  • Relieved 2 October 1986 from assignment to the 82d Airborne Division and assigned to the 101st Airborne Division
  • Relieved 16 September 2004 from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division and assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

Honors[edit]

Heraldry[edit]

Distinctive unit insignia[edit]

Description/blazon[edit]

A Gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86 cm) in height overall consisting of a shield blazoned: Gules, on a palmetto tree eradicated Or a Lorraine cross Azure. Attached below and to the sides of the shield a Gold scroll inscribed "VOLENS ET POTENS" in Red letters.

Symbolism[edit]

The shield is scarlet for Artillery; the palmetto tree, representing South Carolina, alludes to the district to which the unit was allocated. The Lorraine cross represents service in the Lorraine sector, France.

Background[edit]

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Organized Reserves on 27 July 1925. It was redesignated for the 320th Field Artillery Battalion on 23 April 1942. It was redesignated for the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion on 22 October 1942. The insignia was redesignated for the 320th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion on 15 October 1951. It was redesignated for the 320th Artillery Regiment on 24 September 1958. Effective 1 September 1971, the insignia was redesignated for the 320th Field Artillery Regiment. The insignia was amended to update the description on 3 February 2005.

Coat of arms[edit]

Description/blazon[edit]

Shield[edit]

Gules, on a palmetto tree eradicated Or a Lorraine cross Azure.

Crest[edit]

On a wreath Or and Gules, issuing from two pairs of wings conjoined, elevated and addorsed Argent a lozenge of the like bearing a four-bastioned fort one bastion to chief parti per pale of the second and Azure charged with a lion's face Gold.

Motto[edit]

VOLENS ET POTENS (Willing and Able).

Symbolism[edit]

Shield[edit]

The shield is scarlet for Artillery; the palmetto tree, representing South Carolina, alludes to the district to which the unit was allocated. The Lorraine cross represents service in the Lorraine sector, France.

Crest[edit]

The design of the crest commemorates three of the unit's especially noteworthy actions in World War II; i.e., the amphibious assault at Maori, Italy, the glider assault into Normandy, and participation in the Battle of the Bulge. The two pairs of wings from the arms of the Province of Salerno, where Maori is located, refer to that action. They also refer to the unit's service as a glider unit during World War II and its continued assignment to airborne organizations. The lion's face, alluding to the lion "gardant" in the arms of Normandy, stands for the assault into that province of France. The fort represents Bastogne and the white background the snow covered terrain of the Battle of the Bulge. The red and blue vertical divisions of the fort is taken from the arms of Bastogne; the bastions overlooking four directions refer to its strategic location at the cross roads of major lines of communication. The red, white and blue color combination of the design also alludes to the unit's war service with the "All American" Division, the 82d Airborne.

Background[edit]

The coat of arms was originally approved for the 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Organized Reserves on 27 July 1925. It was redesignated for the 320th Field Artillery Battalion on 23 April 1942. It was redesignated for the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion on 22 October 1942. The insignia was redesignated for the 320th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion and amended to delete the Organized Reserves' crest on 15 October 1951. It was redesignated for the 320th Artillery Regiment on 24 September 1958. It was amended to add a crest on 1 April 1965. Effective 1 September 1971, the insignia was redesignated for the 320th Field Artillery Regiment. It was amended to correct the colors of the wreath in the blazon of the crest on 8 November 1972. It was amended to correct the blazon of the crest on 3 February 2005.

See also[edit]

In 2003 the 1/320th deployed with the 101st. in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Division was eventually spread all over Mosul Iraq. Returned to the States early 2004.

References[edit]