CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan
– The nation’s two oldest field artillery regiments took part in an historic meeting during a transfer of authority ceremony here, March 16, 2010.
The 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment, Massachusetts National Guard, commanded by Lt. Col. James M. Hally, is replacing the second oldest, the 1st battalion, 118th Field Artillery, from Savannah, Ga., commanded by Lt. Col. Reginald G. Neal.
The 101st, from Brockton, Mass., was first founded in Salem, Mass., on Dec. 13, 1636. Nicknamed “the South Regiment,” the 101st is the oldest Field Artillery Regiment still active in the U. S. Army.
The South Regiment has fought in a total of 47 separate campaigns, ranging from the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The legacy of the South Regiment spans over three hundred and seventy four years. The 101st field Artillery Regiment once again answers the call and takes its streamer laden colors into another theater, Operation Enduring Freedom, Kabul, Afghanistan.
The 118th Field Artillery, “Old Hickory,” saw its beginning as a colonial militia, on April 18, 1751.
Camp Phoenix is not the first time these units have met one another. It is quite the opposite, the history between these great regiments spans over hundreds of years. They fought alongside each in the Revolutionary War.
Years later they were war-torn rivals as they conducted counter battery fires against each other in the Civil War, on the blood soaked grounds of Gettysburg, South Carolina, and Florida. In World War I and II the howitzers of the 101st and 118th became unified across the European battlefields.
These two old regiments have met once again in a new century and during yet another operation. As the sun sets on the 118th’s tenure in Afghanistan the responsibility to continue to build the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Security Force has now been passed to the 101st.