201st Field Artillery Regiment

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201st Field Artillery Regiment
201FARegtCOA.jpg
Coat of arms
Active 1735–present
Country United States
Branch West Virginia Army National Guard
Garrison/HQ Fairmont, West Virginia
Nickname(s) First West Virginia (Special Designation)[1]
Motto(s) Yes Sir
Engagements American Revolutionary War
War of 1812
Mexican War
American Civil War
War with Spain
World War I
World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
War in Southwest Asia
Iraq Campaign
Operataion New Dawn
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia 201FARegtDUI.jpg
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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200th Infantry Regiment 211th Infantry Regiment
U.S. Field Artillery Regiments
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197th Field Artillery 206th Field Artillery

The 201st Field Artillery Regiment ("First West Virginia"[1]) is the United States' oldest active National Guard unit, and oldest continually serving unit in the United States Army. Based in Fairmont, West Virginia, it was first activated in 1735. It currently perpetuates the Virginia elements of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment[2] of the American Revolution.

201st Infantry Regiment[edit]

On 6 January 1941, the regiment was activated as the 201st Infantry Regiment of the West Virginia Army National Guard.[3] It trained as a unit after activation, and was given 37mm anti-tank guns, thus beginning their eventual transformation to an artillery unit. On 3 September 1941, the 201st Infantry arrived on Kodiak Island, Alaska to serve as a garrison defense force.[4] By 20 September 1941, their strength on Kodiak Island was 1,424 men, smaller than an average infantry regiment, because their primary purpose was to man the anti-tank guns.[4] On 7 December 1941, the United States entered World War II after the Attack on Pearl Harbor. As the threat of Japanese invasion of Alaska loomed, 1,586 new recruits joined the 201st on 28 February 1942.[4] The regiment continued to guard the island of Kodiak until they departed on 23 January 1944.[4] They were converted into the 201st Artillery Battalion when the war ended and have continued to serve in this role since.[5]

Activities[edit]

In December 1990, the unit was called to serve in Operation Desert Storm. The unit was activated for 180 days unless sooner released or later extended. The 201st left Fairmont and went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky for training. It joined XVIII Corps Artillery, 18th Field Artillery Brigade.[6] On the exact 256th anniversary of its founding, the unit fired 256 rounds downrange at Iraqi forces. David Tucker was a chaplain's assistant of the unit at the time and noted this in a letter to The Fairmont Times.

The units of the 201st returned to their home base in May, 1991. The unit did not lose a single man during the war.

In December 2003, the 201st was again called to active duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The soldiers trained at Fort Drum, New York in January and February, 2004 before going overseas. While in theater, the battalion was subordinated to the 197th Fires Brigade of the New Hampshire National Guard and commanded by Colonel James Guise. The 197th reported directly to III Corps Artillery, under the command of Brigadier General Richard Formica. The unit spent one year in Iraq before returning home in February 2005. The Battalion Headquarters (HHB) operated out of Camp Cedar II and Tallil Airbase, both of which are approximately 10 miles (16 km) west of An Nasiriyah in the Dhi Qar province of Iraq. B Battery and Service Battery were co-located with the HHB. A Battery operated out of Convoy Support Center (CSC) Scania and C Battery operated out of CSC Navistar in Kuwait. The Battalion's mission was convoy security and route clearanace for Main Supply Route (MSR) Tampa, the primary route for supplies in Iraq at the time. C Battery would later move north to Camp Cedar II and Tallil Airbase and continue convoy security. Some members of C Battery were also attached to the 1st Cav Division in Jan 2005 to provide extra security in Baghdad (they were stationed in the Hotel District: the Baghdad, Palestine and Sheraton Hotels across the river from the Green Zone)for the first elections while the rest of the unit and battalion trained their replacements.

Distinctive unit insignia[edit]

  • Description: A Gold colored metal and enamel device 1 inch (2.54 cm) in height consisting of a shield blazoned: Or, a saltire per saltire Azure and Gray per cross counterchanged between in chief a rattlesnake coiled to strike Vert and in fess a sheathed Roman sword and a fleur-de-lis Gules, on a chief Azure two lions combatant of the first. Attached below the shield is a Gold scroll inscribed "YES SIR" in Blue letters.
  • Symbolism: The chief is blue for Infantry. The two lions represent the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The saltire counterchanged denotes Civil War service in both the Confederate and Federal armies. The snake alludes to Mexican–American War service. The Roman sword is indicative of Spanish War service and the fleur-de-lis refers to service in France during World War I.
  • Background: The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 201st Infantry Regiment on 20 November 1929. It was redesignated for the 201st Armored Field Artillery Battalion on 20 July 1953. It was redesignated for the 201st Artillery Regiment on 18 July 1960. The insignia was redesignated for the 201st Field Artillery Regiment on 19 July 1972.

Coat of arms[edit]

Blazon:

  • Shield: Or, a saltire per saltire Azure and Gray per cross counterchanged between in chief a rattlesnake coiled to strike Vert and in fess a sheathed Roman sword and a fleur-de-lis Gules, on a chief Azure two lions combatant of the first.
  • Crest: That for the regiments and separate battalions of the West Virginia Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors Or and Azure, a slip of mountain rhododendron in full bloom and leaved Proper.
  • Motto: YES SIR.

Symbolism:

  • Shield: The chief is blue for Infantry. The two lions represent the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The saltire counterchanged denotes Civil War service in both the Confederate and Federal armies. The snake alludes to Mexican–American War service. The Roman sword is indicative of Spanish War service and the fleur-de-lis refers to service in France during World War I.
  • Crest: The crest is that of the West Virginia Army National Guard.

Background: The coat of arms was originally approved for the 201st Infantry Regiment on 21 November 1929. It was redesignated for the 201st Armored Field Artillery Battalion on 20 July 1953. It was redesignated for the 201st Artillery Regiment on 18 July 1960. The insignia was redesignated for the 201st Field Artillery Regiment on 19 July 1972.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Special Designation Listing". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ Lineage and honors certificate, 201st Field Artillery Regiment (March 12, 2003).
  3. ^ http://www.cgsc.edu/CARL/nafziger/941UXIB.PDF
  4. ^ a b c d http://www.kadiak.org/timeline.html
  5. ^ http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/678
  6. ^ Dinackus, Order of Battle: Allied Ground Forces of Operation Desert Storm, 4-26 & 10-2

References[edit]