201st Field Artillery Regiment

The 201st Field Artillery Regiment ("First West Virginia"[1]) was organized in 1735, nearly 100 years following the National Guard's 1636 organization in Massachusetts.[2] Based in Fairmont, West Virginia, it currently perpetuates the Virginia elements of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, which fought in the American Revolution, and is the oldest regiment in the U.S. Army still active today. Units also saw action on both sides of the American Civil War, with many companies of the regiment combined to form the Union Army's 1st West Virginia Infantry.[3][4]

201st Field Artillery Regiment
201FARegtCOA.jpg
Coat of arms
Active1735–present
CountryUnited States
BranchWest Virginia Army National Guard
Garrison/HQFairmont, West Virginia
Nickname(s)First West Virginia (Special Designation)[1]
Motto(s)Yes Sir
EngagementsFrench and Indian War
American Revolutionary War
War of 1812
Mexican–American War
American Civil War
Spanish–American War
World War I
World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Gulf War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia201FARegtDUI.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

201st Infantry RegimentEdit

On 6 January 1941 the 201st was inducted into federal service at Morgantown, West Virginia, and moved to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, on 10 January 1941 where it was attached to the Second Army. The regiment staged at Camp Murray, Washington, on 5 August 1941 until it departed the Seattle port of embarkation on 12 September 1941, arriving at Kodiak, Alaska, on 16 September 1941. The 201st transferred to Adak Island in November 1942 and to Amchitka in January 1943 before departing Alaska on 22 March 1944 and returning to the Seattle port of embarkation on 2 April 1944. The regiment moved to Camp Carson, Colorado on 10 April 1944 under the XVI Corps, and was reassigned to the XXXVI Corps on 17 July 1944. Beginning in April 1944, the regiment provided an accelerated six-week course of infantry training (four weeks of familiarization, qualification, and transition firing, and two weeks of tactical training) to men who were formerly members of disbanded anti-aircraft and tank destroyer units or who had volunteered for transfer to the infantry from other branches of the Army..[5] It relocated to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, on 10 September 1944 under IX Corps and was assigned to XXIII Corps on 25 September 1944. It arrived at Camp Rucker (now Fort Rucker), Alabama, on 3 March 1945 under the Replacement & School Command and was inactivated there on 26 September 1945.[6]

Following the war’s end the 201st reverted to state control where it was reorganized and redesignated as the 201st Field Artillery Battalion.[7]

ActivitiesEdit

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.[8] 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 clearance 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 insigniaEdit

  • 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 Union and Confederate 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 armsEdit

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.

NotesEdit

  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. ^ "How We Began - About the Guard - The National Guard". www.nationalguard.mil. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  3. ^ eWV–The West Virginia Encyclopedia, 201st Field Artillery, retrieved 2019-12-22
  4. ^ Lineage and honors certificate, 201st Field Artillery Regiment (March 12, 2003).
  5. ^ Beardwood, Jack (1946). History of the Fourth Army, Study No. 18. Historical Section, Army Ground Forces. p. 70-71.
  6. ^ Stanton, Shelby L. (1984). Order of battle, U.S. Army, World War II. Novato, CA: Presidio. ISBN 089141195X. OCLC 10727063.
  7. ^ "e-WV | 201st Field Artillery". www.wvencyclopedia.org. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  8. ^ Dinackus, Order of Battle: Allied Ground Forces of Operation Desert Storm, 4-26 & 10-2

ReferencesEdit