MILFORD, Mass - The Massachusetts National Guard held an inactivation ceremony on Camp Edwards July 21, 2012 for a key unit that played a significant role during the Global War on Terror.
Battery E (Target Acquisition Battery), 101st Field Artillery, Massachusetts Army National Guard cased its colors signifying the end of the unit’s service with the state.
Beginning in 2002, Battery E (TAB) provided support in Iraq and Afghanistan during numerous deployments and varied locations, by finding and pinpointing the origin of enemy fire to keep America’s Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airman safe from rockets and artillery.
The unit returned from its last overseas mission in November 2011 and appropriately, was inactivated at the Sgt. Michael J. Kelley Tactical Training Base on Camp Edwards. Kelley, a Scituate resident and member of the unit, was killed in action when his helicopter-landing zone came under enemy fire June 8, 2005 in Shkin, Afghanistan.
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Jose Monteiro was Kelley’s section chief in Afghanistan. Discussing his feelings about the inactivation and Kelley Monteiro said, “This is a bittersweet moment for me. It’s sad to see the colors go with all of the unit’s history and deployments. It’s difficult for me every time I come here, I always remember him [Kelley] and the sacrifice he made.”
In true artillery fashion the ceremony began by firing ceremonial cannons. Joining the cannon crewmembers were Kelley’s parents, Joe and Karen, and younger sister Colleen. After firing the cannon Colleen said, “It was awesome! They weren’t as loud as I thought they would be.”
The unit’s equipment and manning positions will be transferred to the 197th Fires Brigade, New Hampshire Army National Guard. Representing the New Hampshire National Guard during the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Peter L. Corey, director, Joint Staff, New Hampshire Joint Force Headquarters.
Sharing his experience with the unit Corey said, “I had the pleasure of visiting this unit in Iraq. The lived in the most austere conditions but did an outstanding job 24 hours a day, seven days a week protecting others from enemy fire throughout Iraq. We will honor the lineage of this unit in New Hampshire.”
Battery E (TAB) deployments include: OEF 2002 – 2003, OEF 2003 – 2004, OIF 2004 – 2005, OIF 2004 - 2005, OIF 2004 - 2005, OEF 2005 – 2006 and 2010 - 2011.