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Company A, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Rhode Island Army National Guard, is located at the Middletown Armory, 106 Airpark Access Road, Middletown, Rhode Island 02842. Soldiers in this unit are trained as Special Forces Operators (MOS 18A, 180A, 18B, 18C, 18D, 18E, 18F, 18Z).
Company A, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Fiorces claims Pawtucket, Rhode Island as its original home and place of origin. Its history as a fighting unit is long and illustrious. To properly trace the background of Company A one must revert to the early days of the American Revolutionary War. In the year 1774 we find the first record of an organized, home town, military unit in the Pawtucket area. It was known as the North Providence Rangers. The Rangers distinguished themselves in several engagements during our struggle for freedom. This unit earned battle streamers bearing the name:
RHODE ISLAND 1777
RHODE ISLAND 1778
In so doing they established a sound foundation for the numerous military organizations that were to succeed it and which eventually led to the present day company.
This unit earned battle streamers bearing the name:
BULL RUN (1st MANASSAS)
After the Civil War the Rangers reorganized in Pawtucket as the Tower Light Battery. It was at this time that the Pawtucket Group made its first transition from infantry to artillery. It remained an Artillery Unit for the next 15 years, the latter part of which period its designation was Co. B, 1st Battalion, Light Artillery of the Rhode Island Militia.
Between the years 1879 and 1908 the outfit operated once again as an Infantry Unit under the titles: Tower Light Infantry, Co. F, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Rhode Island Militia and Co. H, 1st Infantry Regiment R.I. Militia.
In 1908 it transitioned back to an artillery unit (Coast Artillery) and from that time until the outbreak of World War I the unit was known as the 8th Co. Coast Artillery Corps., 1st Artillery District of the Rhode Island National Guard. In World War I its new name became the 22nd Company, Narragansett Bay. Upon the cessation of hostilities in 1919 the unit returned to Pawtucket with a commendable war record to its credit and it once again assumed the title of 8th Co. C.A.C., Rhode Island National Guard. In 1923 Battery H of the 243rd Coast Artillery Corps came into being and joined the Harbor Defense network in Rhode Island.
The years between 1924 and 1940 were relatively quiet. At the outbreak of World War II, however, Battery H commanded by Capt. P. Thibodeau, was again federalized into active service. At this time the unit was a three inch Artillery Gun Battalion. During the course of the war Battery H remained in or around Fort Adams, R.I., as part of the Narragansett Bay Harbor Defense. After VJ Day Battery H of the 243rd CAC was disbanded.
On July 28, 1947, a group of two officers and 12 enlisted men were federally recognized as Battery C, 705th AAA Gun Battalion, Rhode Island National Guard. Battery C’s first Battery Commander was 1st Lt. Walter C. Majka (later Capt. Majka), a former Private in the old Battery H. There were several others among the original twelve Enlisted Men who had also served in Battery H. Of the original 12, four who remained with the battery are: WOJG Frank A. Marsh, Unit Administrator; M/Sgt Gerard A. Breault, 1st Sgt; SFC Delphis E. LaFond, Mess Steward; and Ovila A. Dufour, SFC Gun Sgt. Junior Officers of Battery C since its formation have been in order: Lt. Norman P. Hearn (later Capt. Hearn), Lt. Lawrence A. McGuire, and 2nd Lt. Omer G. Sylvester. The unit was then a 90mm mobile antiaircraft Gun Battery.
Battery C trained for two hours a week plus a seven day summer encampment at Sun Valley, R.I., in 1947 and two, two-week encampments at Camp Edwards, Mass., in 1948 and 1949. With this training to their credit 42 Enlisted Men and three Officers came into Federal Service on the 14th of August, 1950, as a result of the Korean situation. Battery C’s first stop after leaving R.I. was Camp Gordon, Georgia, where the unit was expanded to full T/O & E strength with fillers from all over the country. On October 10, 1950, the entire unit moved to Camp Stewart, Georgia, for basic and artillery training.
The battalion arrived at Naha, Okinawa on 15 November 1951 aboard the USNS General Morton. The bulk of the battalion equipment was waiting on the dock, havingarrived ahead of the troops. Early on the morning of the 16th the units debarked and immediately moved into field positions which had been previously selected. After two years of service the unit returned to the US on _______.
The unit was converted to Special forces on 21 March 1960 and designated as Company D, 16th Special Forces Group with home station at the Pawtucket Armory. In February 1966, the unit was redesignated as Company D, 19th Special Forces Group and moved to the Cranston Street Armory. Redesignated again in 1979 as Comapny A, 2nd battalion, 19th Special Forces Group with home station at Camp Fogarty, East Greenwich.
In 1995, twenty-two personnel deployed to Haiti as part of Operation Maintain Democracy.
Today, the citizen soldiers of Company A, Rhode Island Army National Guard, continue to carry on the proud traditions of their forefathers and stand ready to answer the call to defend the nation or provide emergency services to the State of Rhode Island and its residents.