Friday, June 17, 2022

Statesboro and the Ga. ARNG: The 177th BEB

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

 

Left: The distinctive unit insignia of the 177th BEB. Right: Soldiers of the Statesboro-based 177th BEB detonate a demolition charge to clear
a wire obstacle at a live demolition training range during Noble Partner 20, Sept. 14, 2020. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class R.J. Lannom Jr.

Early History and World War II

Statesboro has been home to a Georgia National Guard unit since 1903 and the founding of the Statesboro Volunteers.[1] Today, Statesboro is home to the Headquarters Company, 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion.

 

Insignia of the 264th CAB. Georgia National Guard Archives

The Headquarters Company was originally constituted in the Georgia Army National Guard as Battery A, 264th Coast Artillery March 14, 1930.[2] On October 1, 1939, the 264th CA was reorganized as the 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery Group[3] with Battery A reorganized as Battery C. The 214th FAG was mobilized to the Pacific Theater of Operations and underwent reorganization in November 1943. The 1st Battalion 214th was redesignated the 528th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion with the Statesboro unit redesignated as Battery C. The unit maintained this designation through the war and was inactivated in December 1945 at Camp Stoneman, Calif.

 

The 528th AAA was reestablished July 11, 1946 by the Allotment of National Guard Ground Force Units for the State of Georgia. In October the 528th was consolidated into Headquarters Battery, 101st Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion with the Statesboro units designated Headquarters Battery and Battery A, 101st Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion.[4] Upon consolidation, the unit inherited the lineage and honors of the 101st CAB which received the Presidential Unit Citation for its service in Papua and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, for service from October 17, 1944 to July 4, 1945.[5] The unit was federally recognized June 17, 1947.[6]

 

STATESBORO, Ga. November, 1949 – The Statesboro-based Headquarters Battery and Battery A, 101st Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion paid
Guardsmen in silver dollars to show the merchants of Statesboro how much money the Guard brings into circulation each month.
Georgia National Guard Archives.



The Korean War Mobilization and Reorganizations

On August 14, 1950, the unit was ordered into federal service due to the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. As part of the 108th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade, the unit was initially mobilized to Camp Bliss, Texas. The 108th AAA provided air defense over industrial areas from Chicago to Philadelphia until released from federal service in April 1952.[7]

 

On July 1, 1959, the Statesboro units were reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters Battery and Battery A, 2nd Gun Battalion, 214th Field Artillery.[8] The Statesboro units were converted and redesignated as Headquarters Company and Company A, 265th Engineer Battalion May 1, 1962.[9]

 

The contract for the Statesboro Armory was awarded May 29, 1961.[10] On May 20, 1962, The Statesboro Armory was dedicated to the late Prince H. Preston, Jr., a former member of the Ga. National Guard and Congressman from Georgia’s 1st District from 1947 to 1961. In 2006, the armory was rededicated in honor of Brig. Gen. Terrell Reddick.

 

The Statesboro Armory in 2017. Photo by Capt. William Carraway

The 48th AD Era

In 1963, the Georgia National Guard received all personnel allotments for the 48th Armor Division. As part of the ensuing reorganization, the Statesboro units were consolidated to form Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment.[11] With the inactivation of the 48th AD January 1, 1968, the Statesboro unit was reorganized as Headquarters Battery 2nd Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment.[12]

 

Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 214th Field Artillery at their Statesboro Armory August 29, 1993. Georgia National Guard Archives.


Conversion and The Global War on Terror

Insignia of the 648th Engineer Battalion.
On September 1, 1993, the unit was converted and redesignated as Detachment 1,
848th Engineer Company.[13] 30 days later, the unit was expanded, reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters Company and Company A of the newly-established 648th Engineer Battalion with additional companies in Waycross, Douglas and Baxley.[14] Following the 1994 flood of Southwest Georgia from the effects of Tropical Storm Alberto, Soldiers and equipment of the 648th Engineer Battalion were employed repairing roads and assisting recovery operations.

 

Company C, 648th mobilized to Bosnia with the 48th Brigade in 2001. In December 2004, the battalion was ordered into active duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 648th deployed to Iraq in 2005 and returned the following year.

 

The 648th Engineer Battalion was redesignated as the 48th Special Troops Battalion September 1, 2007 with the Statesboro units redesignated Headquarters Company and Company A.[15] The 48th BSTB was ordered into active Federal service April 21, 2009 at home stations for service in Afghanistan with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The 48th BSTB was released from active federal service May 25, 2010 and reverted to state control. In recognition of its outstanding service rendered in support of the 48th IBCT in Afghanistan, the 48th BSTB was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation.


 Soldiers of the 48th BSTB roll into action as part of a vehicle recovery mission during the 48th IBCT's  Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise
 12-04 at Camp Ripley, Minn. August 15, 2012. Georgia National Guard Archives.
 

On September 1, 2013, Company A, 48th BSTB relocated to Glennville, Ga.[16] Exactly two years later, the Special Troops Battalion was converted and redesignated the 177th Engineer Battalion.[17] Lieutenant Colonel Kris Marshall and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Logan became the first command team of the 177th. Soldiers of the 177th supported the 48th IBCT’s Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise at Fort Stewart in June 2017 and mobilized with the brigade during its deployment to Afghanistan from 2018 to 2019.


Soldiers and colors of the 177th BEB in 2021. Photo by Maj. William Carraway


As organized, the 177th retained the mission of supporting the 48th IBCT while expanding upon the core engineer capabilities of the unit. The signal company of the BEB contributes to the IBCT’s awareness of the operating picture and keeps the brigade in constant contact with higher and subordinate units. The military intelligence capability of the BEB, housed in its MI Company provides the decision-quality information to the brigade commander. The BEB’s unmanned aerial surveillance capability enhances this information collection and analysis role. In addition to a headquarters company and two combat engineer companies, a forward support company completes the organization of the BEB.

The equipment and specially trained personnel of the 177th BEB have placed them in high demand for domestic response operations. 177th Engineers have assisted Georgia citizens during hurricane response operations and most recently during the state’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 177th has also maintained a steady operational training schedule over the years and mobilized overseas in support of exercise Noble Partner in the Country of Georgia in September 2020.


Soldiers with the Glennville-based Alpha Company, 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion, participate in the closing ceremony for Noble Partner 20
at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, Sept. 18, 2020. Photo by Sgt. Jordan Trent.
 

In June 2022, the 177th BEB once again mobilized to Fort Stewart Georgia in support of a 48th IBCT XCTC rotation.


Soldiers of Headquarters Company, 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion discuss the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s Exportable Combat
Training Capability exercise at Fort Stewart, Ga. June 12, 2022 with  Brig. Gen. Dwayne Wilson, commanding general of the Georgia Army National Guard
 and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Logan, State Command Sergeant Major of the Georgia Army National Guard.



[2] Military Department of the State of Georgia. Pictorial Review of the National Guard of the State of Georgia. Atlanta: 1939, 215.

 

[3] Center for Military History. “Lineage and Honors of the 1-214th Field Artillery Regiment.” U.S. Army.

[4] Center for Military History. “Lineage and Honors of the 1-214th Field Artillery Regiment.” U.S. Army.

 

[5] (HHC [then HHC 101st Coast Arty BN cited for period 23 Jul 1942 - 23 Jan 1943; WDGO 17, 1945 and DAGO 47, 1950).

 

[6] NG AROTO 325.4 March 17, 1958.

 

[7] Center for Military History. “Lineage and Honors of the 1-214th Field Artillery Regiment.” U.S. Army.

 

[8] RA 73-59 June 10, 1959 effective July 1, 1959.

 

[9] RA 47-62 April 16, 1962 effective May 1, 1962.

 

[10] State of Georgia Department of Defense. Annual Report, 1962. Atlanta: 1963, Sec XIV

[11] RA 57-63 March 21, 1963 Effective April 16, 1963.

 

[12] RA 71-67 December 14, 1967, effective January 1, 1968.

 

[13] OA 169-93 August 9, 1993 effective September 1, 1993.

 

[14] OA 170-93 August 9, 1993 effective October 1, 1993.

 

[15] OA 112-08 Ma7 21, 2008 effective September 1, 2007.

[16] OA 180-14 April 14, 2014 effective September 1, 2013.

 

[17] OA 434-14, Corrected Copy 1, 3 February 2015.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Battery B, 1-214th Field Artillery Regiment: 83 Years in Thomson, Ga.

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

 

Left: A World War II-era insignia of the 214th Coast Artillery Battalion. Right: An M109A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer crew of the
Thomson-based Battery B, 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment conducts live fire exercises at Fort Stewart Ga. March 16, 2016.
Photo by Capt. William Carraway.

The history of Battery B, 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery Regiment begins in Statesboro with the organization of the Headquarters Detachment, 264th Coast Artillery Battalion.[1] As originally organized, the unit consisted of one officer and eight enlisted Soldiers.

On September 27, 1939, Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 264th Coast Artillery at Statesboro was reorganized as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery in Thomson.[2] Captain James S. Asbury and 1st Lt. Harry O. Smith were assigned to headquarters company on that date.[3] Smith had served as the training officer for the 264th Coast Artillery Battalion.[4]

The 214th Coast Artillery Unit was brought into active federal service November 21, 1940.[5] Dispatched to the South Pacific, elements of the 214th arrived in Guadalcanal in successive waves in January 1943 culminating January 30, 1943.[6] The 214th relieved the 3rd Defense Marine Battalion and filled into the former unit’s billets and equipment to provide air defense over Henderson Field. The 214th provide cover over Henderson Field until November 1943 when the regiment was broken up and its elements redesignated. First Battalion 214th was reorganized as the 528th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion while 2nd Battalion constituted the 950th AAA Battalion. The third Battalion was redesignated the 250th Antiaircraft Searchlight Battalion.

CAMP STEWART, Ga. July, 1952. Private Bobbie Bohler (left) and his father, Staff Sgt. Lewis Bowler (Right) of Thomson’s Battery C, 950th AAA
Battalion show Maj. Gen. Ernest Vandiver, Georgia’s Adjutant General, a belt of .50 ammunition on the firing line where the unit is conducting
live-fire training. Georgia National Guard Archives.


The 528th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion and 950th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion inactivated 28 December 1945 at Camp Stoneman, California. In July 1946, the 528th was allotted to the State of Georgia[7] and subsequently consolidated with the 950th AAA.[8] Under the consolidation the Thomson unit was designated Battery B, 950th AAA. A 1955 reorganization of the Georgia National Guard saw the Thomson unit redesignated Battery C, 250th AAA.[9] Then in 1959, the unit was redesignated Battery C, 1st Gun Battalion, 214th Field Artillery Regiment.[10]

A helmet liner with the 214th FIeld Artillery insignia circa 1955. Georgia National Guard Archives.

On May 1, 1962, the Thomson unit was redesignated as Company C, 5th Medium Tank Battalion, 108th Armor Regiment.[11] The Thomson unit would operate the M48 Patton tank until 1963 when the unit was reorganized as Company A, 448th Supply and Transportation Battalion in support of the 48th Armor Division.[12] With the 1968 inactivation of the 48th Armor Division, the unit received its current designation as Battery B, 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment.[13]

Guidons of the Thomson unit during the 48th Armor Division Era. Georgia National Guard Archives. Photos by Ian Alderman.
 

Battery B was among the Georgia National Guard units called to active-duty May 11-18, 1970 following civil unrest in Augusta. The 214th arrived in Augusta in the early hours of May 12 by ground convoy while other units were transported by Georgia Air National Guard C-124 Globemasters.[14] In 1994, the Thomson unit was activated in response to widespread flooding in South Georgia following Trropical Storm Alberto.

Self-propelled howitzers of the 214th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Stewart in January 1983. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The 1-214th was ordered into active federal service March 15, 2003. Originally bound for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 214th was remissioned to Fort Bragg in support of Operation Noble Eagle. The 1-214th was released from federal service March 13, 2004. A combined unit of Soldiers representing companies of the 214th mobilized to Iraq in February 2006 in support of 34th Infantry Brigade Operations near Talil, Iraq.[15]

ELBERTON, Ga. Jan. 10, 2014 - Georgia Army National Guard Master Sgt. Clifton Williams
of Thomson Ga. hoists son Landry Williams at the return ceremony for the 1-214th
Field Artillery Battalion. The 214th deployed to Afghanistan in May 2013.
Photo by Maj. Will Cox.


With the September 2009 activation of the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the 1-214th was assigned to the Columbus-based brigade. The 214th was previously assigned to the 78th Troop Command.

The 214th was again called to active-duty February 23 2013 and deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.[16] The 214th conducted base defense operations in western Afghanistan and returned to Georgia in January 2014.[17]

An M109A6 Paladin howitzer with the Thomson-based Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery Regiment moves into firing position
during African Lion 2021, at the Tan Tan Training Area, Morocco, June 13, 2021. photo by Sgt. 1st Class R.J. Lannom Jr.

Since returning from Afghanistan, the 214th has maintained a robust training schedule with Soldiers of Battery B travelling to Fort Riley in 2019 and to Morocco in 2021 for Exercise African Lion.



[1] Military Department of the State of Georgia. Pictorial Review of the National Guard of the State of Georgia. (Atlanta: 1939) 213.

 

[2] Military Department State of Georgia. ”General Order No. 14. Atlanta: September 27, 1939.

 

[3] Military Department State of Georgia “Special Orders No. 213.” September 27, 1939.

 

[4] Military Department of the State of Georgia. Pictorial Review of the National Guard of the State of Georgia. (Atlanta: 1939) 212.

[5] Military Department State of Georgia. “General Order No. 37.” November 21, 1940.

 

[6] APO 709 “A Brief History of the Hundred Fourteenth Coast Artillery (AA) during Active Combat in the South Pacific Theatre of Operations.” San Francisco, Calif. June 30, 1943

[7] War Department. “Allotment of National Guard Ground Force Units for the State of Georgia.” July 11, 1946 amended August 8, 1946.

 

[8] Department of the Army. “AGAO-I 325 January 32, 1951 effective July 5, 1946.

 

[9] National Guard Bureau. “NG-AROTO-325.4.” October 17, 1955.

 

[10] National Guard Bureau. “RA 73-59.” June 10, 1959.

 

[11] National Guard Bureau. “RA 47-62.” April 16, 1962 effective May 1, 1962.

 

[12] National Guard Bureau. “RA 57-63.” March 21, 1963.

 

[13] National Guard Bureau. “RA 71-67.” January 1, 1968.

 

[14] “Governor Sends 2,000 Guardsmen to Augusta and Athens to Restore Calm in Wake of May Civil Disturbances.” The Georgia Guardsman. April-June 1970, 8-9.

 

[15] The Georgia Department of Defense. Annual Report 2006.

 

[16] Mike Thompson. “Elberton Gives 1-214th Field Artillery Battalion Send-Off Parade.” The Georgia Guardsman. March 2013, 13-14.

 

[17] Jasmine Jacobs. ”Welcome Home Granite Battalion.” The Georgia Guardsman. January 2014, 3.