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 Tropical 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.

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