WORCESTER, Mass. –
Lexington, Bunker Hill, Antietam, Meuse-Argonne, Ardennes; these are the names of some of the most important battles in American history. They are a reminder of our nations past.
In the military, a unit remembers the battles or campaigns it served in by stitching the name of the campaign on a streamer and then attaching it to the guidon or flag. The streamers serve as symbols of the unit’s lineage; reminders that they “were there.”
In a ceremony at the Massachusetts National Guard Museum here, 27 campaign streamers were added to the 125th Quartermaster Company’s guidon Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, stating that they “were there.”
The 125th Quartermaster Company is a water supply company. Soldiers with the 125th have deployed to Iraq and in support of humanitarian operations in Haiti and throughout the state. The unit also placed first in the 2010 Annual Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Rodeo Competition, an Army-wide competition.
“The 125th is no ordinary company,” said Brig. Gen. Paul G. Smith, Assistant Adjutant General of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, in his remarks prior to placing the streamers on the company’s guidon.
It is now one of the oldest units in U.S. Army and the only unit with a unique distinction.
“This will make the 125th Quartermaster Company the only company in the U.S. Army to carry both the Lexington and Bunker Hill streamers,” said Col. (Ret.) Len Kondratiuk, Director of Historical Services and Director of Militia Affairs, Massachusetts National Guard.
Until recently, no one knew that the 125th had such a distinguished lineage.
“In early 2003, in my role as Historian of the Massachusetts National Guard, I noticed that the file folder for the 125th was empty,” said Kondratiuk, addressing the company and assembled families and former members. “No Records.”
Kondratiuk started with the unit in its present form and worked backwards. The unit had not always been known as the 125th Quartermaster Company; throughout history it had been known by, Company K, 1-181st Infantry Regiment, Company E, 1-181st Infantry Regiment, Company A, 26th Supply and Transport Battalion and Company A, 726th Support Battalion.
Kondratiuk’s research traced the unit’s lineage back to 1660.
Throughout history the unit had served in World War I and II, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War (12 campaigns), and dating back to the Colonial period when the unit served the English crown as a company in the Marlboro militia before being mobilized against the English at the start of the Revolutionary War where they assisted in forcing the British to retreat to Boston after the battles of Lexington and Concord.
“Today, it is now official that our lineage is shared with the same citizen-soldiers that fought in the Revolutionary War and beyond,” said Capt. Brian M. Ferland, commander, 125th Quartermaster Company.
“For 351 years, under many different designations, the soldiers of the 125th Quartermaster Company have carried out the mission of protecting their community, colony, state and nation,” said Kondratiuk.
In total, 27 streamers, with seven from the Revolutionary War and 12 from the Civil War along with more from the Spanish-American War and both World Wars, were added to the unit’s guidon to display the storied history of the 125th.“Bear in mind that these streamers were earned by the blood of your predecessors,” said Kondratiuk, addressing the soldiers currently serving in the 125th, “Your challenge will be to uphold these honors and carry them with pride in the months and years ahead.”