HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The oldest Field Artillery unit in the United States Army is preparing for change. The 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment conducted officer and non-commissioned professional development training for artillery leaders from both Massachusetts and Vermont at Hanscom Air Force Base on Jan. 11, 2014.
Col. Lloyd Caviness, senior Guard advisor, United States Army Fires Center of Excellence, Fort Sill, Okla. and Sgt. Maj. Bryan Tyler, senior enlisted advisor, United States Army Fires Center of Excellence, Fort Sill, Okla., participated in the training and gave important briefings on the future of the Field Artillery.
The fires battalion will transition to the composite fires battalion in order to support the new Infantry Brigade Combat Team structure. This organizational change will establish a third firing battery with a new howitzer system, the M777, 155MM howitzer returning to a three firing battery structure for the battalion.
This new structure will also include the assignment of a fire support element of approximately 100 forward observer Soldiers that were previously assigned to the Infantry and Armor Maneuver Battalions.
The new changes are scheduled for implementation in 2016. The changes will result in greater opportunities for Field Artillery officer and non-commissioned officer career progression in the future.
Historical presentations of the regiment were made by 1st Lt. Christopher Ocasio, intelligence officer, of the 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment, and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Larry Conway, commander of the Second Corps of Cadets Veterans Association. Both officers gave a summary of the significant contributions of this historic command to the lineage of the regiment. The traditional name of Second Corps of Cadets is embedded within Battery B, 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment.
Later that evening, the 1-101st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. James Yates and Command Sgt. Maj. Peter Chase, hosted the annual Red Leg Ball. More than 200 Service Members and guests assembled into the Hanscom Air Force Base Commons Ballroom.
The ball kicked off with an incredible social hour, where service members and guests had the chance to mix and mingle with each other. After the social hour concluded the ceremony formalities begun with the posting of the colors and the playing of the National Anthem.
During the event, former Commander Thomas Moran, Second Corps Cadets Veterans Association, presented Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General of Massachusetts and key note speaker, with a framed legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President of the United States, designating Salem, Massachusetts as the birth place of the National Guard. Although widely accepted locally, Salem’s designation as the birth place of the National Guard became official only when President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on January 10, 2013.
The celebration continued with the inducting of five Soldiers and one family member from the 101st Field Artillery Regiment into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara and the Artillery Order of Molly Pitcher, respectively.
Soldiers receiving the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara were recognized for their hard work and contributions to Field Artillery by demonstrating competence, integrity, moral character. The Artillery Order of Molly Pitcher recognizes spouses of Field Artillery soldiers who contributed to the Field Artillery community by supporting their Soldiers.
“The Order of Saint Barbara signifies long standing contributions to the Field Artillery and the Field Artillery community, commitment to excellence and selfless service,” said Col. Sterling D. MacLeod, senior Massachusetts Red Leg, and former 101st Field Artillery Battalion Commander who is retiring after 36 years of distinguished service.
As the formal portion came to a close, Rice congratulated the Soldiers of the battalion for their hard work while serving within the command, wished them good luck in their upcoming training rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La., and thanked everybody for a wonderful evening. The battalion is scheduled for a month-long JRTC rotation with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in June. JRTC represents the premier U.S. Army training event for a unit to “hone” their war fighting skills.
The award ceremony took place after dinner, and no ball would have been complete without traditional festivities. Several toasts rang through the room, one being a silent toast to fallen comrades. After the formal portion of the ball concluded, the lights were dimmed, and all members were invited to the dance floor.
The 101st Field Artillery Regiment carries the lineage and honors of the 101st and 241st Field Artillery Regiments. The 241st was organized on Dec. 13, 1636 in Boston as the South Regiment and later designated as the Boston Regiment. This regiment provided units for various Colonial Wars and the Revolutionary War.
Today the 101st Field Artillery Regiment consists of the 1st Battalion with elements in both the Massachusetts and Vermont Army National Guard. Elements of the regiment have recently served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The colors carry four unit award streamers and 61 campaign streamers symbolizing service from 1775 to present.