Thursday, October 13, 2022

A History of Battery C, 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment

By Maj. William Carraway, Historian, Georgia Army National Guard



Left: Members of Waynesboro’s Battery D, 101st AAA Battalion disassemble a 90-millimeter antiaircraft artillery gun at Camp Stewart
where they are undergoing two weeks of field training in July 1949. Right: Flames erupt from the muzzle of a Georgia Army National Guard
howitzer of Battery C, 1-214th Field Artillery during live-fire training at Fort Stewart in March, 2016. Photo by Capt. William Carraway

Early History

Battery C was originally organized February 5, 1890 as the Burke Light Infantry.[1] On July 5, 1916, the unit, then serving as Company E, 1st Georgia Infantry Regiment, was mobilized to the Mexican Border. The company served in El Paso, Texas before returning to Georgia in April 1917. Remaining in federal service, the company was redesignated Headquarters Battery, 118th Field Artillery Regiment September 23, 1917 and on October 1 was redesignated Battery C, 118th FA.[2] The unit mobilized to France with the 31st Infantry Division in October 1918 but arrived too late to take an active part in combat operations during World War I.

CAMP WHEELER, Macon, Ga. February 21, 1918 – Members of the 118th Field Artillery Regiment conduct “Butts Manual Drill” (rifle PT)
at Camp Wheeler. Photo 5485, National Archives Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Md.

The battery was reorganized in Waynesboro June 18, 1924 as Battery A, 118th Field Artillery Regiment, a unit of the 30th Division.[3] On December 1, 1934, the 118th was converted from horse-drawn artillery unit and received trucks for its towed 75mm howitzers.[4] In 1939, on the eve of World War I, the unit’s command team consisted of Capt. William J. Hatcher and 1st Sgt. Wister Black.

World War II

Ordered into federal service September 16, 1940, Battery A mobilized to Fort Jackson, S.C. for initial training with other units of the 30th Infantry Division. In June, the 30th ID mobilized for the Tennessee Maneuvers which put the Soldiers of the 118th in the field training until August 1941 when they returned to Fort Jackson.[5] That fall, the 118th departed for the Carolina Maneuvers, a massive training exercise conducted in North and South Carolina. During the maneuvers, the 30th Infantry Division was part of the I Corps, First Army.[6]

At the conclusion of the maneuvers, the 118th returned to Fort Jackson and in the summer of 1942 traded its 75 mm guns for 105 mm towed howitzers. In October the 118th traveled to Camp Blanding Fla., where it conducted training with the new weapons systems through May 1943. A training stint at Camp Gordon followed after which the battalion mobilized to Camp Tick, Tenn., where the battalion tackled field problems and maneuvers. This training rotation ran through November 1943 when the 118th was dispatched to Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Here, the battalion honed its expertise with the howitzer in preparation for deployment to the European Theater. In February 1944 the battalion was transported by rail to Camp Miles Standish, Mass. From there, the 118th set sail for England on the John T. Erickson on February 12, 1944.[7]

The 118th was in camp in England on June 6, 1944 when Operation Overlord was launched. Six days later, the 118th left camp just after 3:00 in the morning and arrived 12-hours later at a marshaling point near Dorchester.[8] Battery C loaded onto Landing Ship Tank 30 along with Headquarters Battery for transport to the continent and arrived the next day.

The 1st Battalion 118th Field Artillery Regiment unloads equipment on Omaha Beach June 13, 1944.

On June 13, 1944, the first elements of the 118th Field Artillery Battalion went ashore on Omaha Beach. Reaching a position near Neuilly, France, the Soldiers of the 118th established their first firing positions in an orchard outside of town. Three days later, an observation post overlooking the Vire Et Taute Canal called in a fire mission which was routed to one of the howitzers of Battery C. Thus, on the afternoon of June 16, 1944, with the pull of lanyard cord, Battery C fired the first round of the war for the 118th. Battery C and the 118th Field Artillery served with the 30th Division from France to Germany earning four Meritorious Unit Commendations. For their actions at the Battle of Mortain, the 118th received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Post War Reorganization and the Korean War

BG Paul Stone January 1963

Following the post-World War II reorganization of the Georgia National Guard, The former Battery C, 118th FA was reestablished in Waynesboro as Battery D, 101st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion assigned to the Winder-based 108th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade. The 101st was called to active federal service on August 14, 1950 with other units of the 108th AAA.[9] With a combined strength of just over 1,000 men, the 108th was dispatched to Fort Bliss Texas and assigned to the 8th U.S. Army. In November 1951, the 108th was dispatched to the Midwest and the 101st was garrisoned at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. From there, the batteries of the 101st were assigned to protect the skies over cities and industrial centers of the Midwest with Battery D protecting the skies over Chicago.

The Waynesboro Battery remained in position through April 1952 with Capt. Paul Stone in command. After demobilizing at Camp McCoy, the 101st returned home. Over the next seven years, the Waynseboro battery earned six consecutive superior ratings and Stone received the Georgia Distinctive Service Medal and promotion to major.[10] After a brief tenure on the staff of the 108th AAA, Stone transferred to the Georgia Air National Guard. He retired in 1971 as a brigadier general having served eight years as commander of the Ga. ANG.[11]


The Berlin Crisis

On July 1, 1959 Battery D was reorganized as Company B, 111th Signal Battalion.[12] Later that year, Company B became the first unit of the Georgia National Guard to receive a live video broadcast which was sent from Fort Gordon, Ga.[13] The battalion conducted annual training at Fort Gordon June 26-July 10 1960 and July 16-30, 1961.

FORT GORDON, Ga. November 30, 1959 - Major General George Hearn, Georgia's Adjutant General, and Brig. Gen. David P. Gibbs,
commanding general of the Signal Training Center conduct the first live telecast sent to National Guardsmen during training.
More than two hours of live and video taped messages were transmitted from Fort Gordon to the Waynesboro, Ga. Armory of Company B,
 111th Signal Battalion. Georgia National Guard Archives.

In August 1961, after months of tension between the United States and Soviet Union the Soviets blocked the lines of communication into Berlin, isolating the city and began construction of the Berlin Wall. In response, President Kennedy activated 156,000 Guard and Reservists and dispatched two additional Army divisions to Europe. While several units of the Georgia National Guard were placed on alert the 111th Signal Battalion was the only one called to active federal service. The 111th reported for active-duty October 15th and departed by train for Fort Meade, Md. October 25th.[14]

Guardsmen of Waynesboro-based Company B 111th Signal Battalion. Georgia National Guard Archives.

Arriving at Fort Meade the next day, the 111th replaced an active-duty signal battalion which had been mobilized to Europe. Within 24 hours, the Berlin Crisis reached new heights as U.S. and Soviet tanks faced each other with live ammunition at Checkpoint Charlie, a crossing point between East and West Berlin. Ultimately, Kennedy and Khruschev, speaking through intermediaries, agreed to deescalate the situation and the tanks were withdrawn.

Unaware of how close the United States had come to the brink of war, the 111th settled into their new environment at Fort Meade. In addition to their regular duties, the 111th trained aggressively for possible deployment, conducted field problems and became more proficient in switchboard operation and the emerging technology of television.

In May, 1962, the 111th Signal Battalion participated in Operation Wet Horse II, a U.S. Army amphibious assault exercise designed to test the capability of reserve units to conduct large-scale landing operations. Cameras of the 111th Signal Battalion covered the operation as tanks of the 150th Armored Cavalry Regiment drove ashore from landing craft piloted by the U.S. Army Reserve’s 231st Transportation Company. Images of these landings were prominently featured in U.S. and European newspapers and conveyed the resolve of the United States’ position in Berlin.

FORT MILES, Del., May, 1962 - A jeep with a trailer slashes through the surf as it disembarks from an Army landing craft at Fort Miles during
Exercise Wet Horse II. It will be followed by an M-48 Patton tank.  Photo by Georgia Army National Guard, 111th Signal Battalion, Photo Platoon.
  Image courtesy of National Guard Educational Foundation, Washington, D.C.

On August 9, 1962, their mission complete, the Georgia Guardsmen of the 111th Signal Battalion boarded charter aircraft for the flight home. Landing at Bush Field in Augusta, the 111th received a hero’s welcome. Major Gen. Hearn greeted each Guardsman as they departed the aircraft then read a special citation from Governor Ernest Vandiver commending the Soldiers for their” loyalty and sacrifices made in the national interest.”[15]

Reorganization, the 48th AD and Return to Artillery Mission

The 1963 reorganization of the Georgia Army National Guard prompted the conversion of Company B to form Company C, 3rd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment.[16] The conversion brought the company under the 48th Armor Division. This command relationship held through the December 1967 inactivation of the 48th AD whereupon the unit was converted to its present designation, Battery C, 214th FA, and equipped with self-propelled 155mm howitzers.[17]

Soldiers of Battery C were among the 500 Georgia Guardsmen activated in response to the winter snowstorm of February 10-11, 1973. The Waynesboro Guardsmen responded to more than 200 calls for assistance and delivered 18 stranded motorists to the Waynesboro Armory for shelter where they provided them blankets, lodging and meals.[18]

FORT STEWART, Ga. July 1974 - Georgia National Guard Soldiers of Battery C, 1st Battalion 214th Artillery of Waynesboro, Ga. receive a briefing
before a firing mission at annual training at Fort Stewart, Ga. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The Waynesboro Battery mobilized to Norway for annual training as part of the NATO Composite Force in 1992, 1994 and 1996.[19] Operating more than 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the artillerymen of the 1-214th trained in a region that had previously been the target of Russian invasion. Within weeks of their return from Norway in 1994, the Waynesboro Guardsmen were deployed in response to Tropical Storm Alberto which caused widespread flooding in South Georgia in July 1994.

In 1998 the 214th received the M-109A6 Paladin, the most advanced self-propelled howitzer in the Army inventory. The Paladins replaced the older model M109A3 Howitzers.[20]

The War on Terror to Present

ATLANTA, April 26, 2014 - Specialist Jonathan Mathews of Battery C, 1-214th Field Artillery is honored by Governor Nathan Deal during
a ceremony following the return of the unit from Afghanistan. Georgia National Guard archives.

The 214th was activated March 20, 2003 for service in Iraq. After arriving at Fort Bragg the battalion’s mission was changed to support Operation Noble Eagle which encompassed state-side security operations. Soldiers of Battery C were among the nearly 500 Soldiers mobilized and were the last to return from mobilization in January 2004.[21]

Battery C mobilized to Iraq in June 2007 following a train up at Fort Bliss and assumed the detainee security mission at Camp Bucca. The unit returned to Georgia June 2, 2008.[22]  

In 2013, the 1-214th again mobilized overseas to provide base defense operations in western Afghanistan. As part of the mission the 1-214th secured entry control points, provided flight line security and patrolled an area of 315 square kilometers.[23]

FORT STEWART, Ga. March 16, 2016 – Battery C, 1-214th Field Artillery conducting live-fire training. Photo by Capt. William Carraway.

In 2020, Battery C relocated from Waynesboro to Ellenwood.[24] The following year the unit added to its long history over overseas mobilizations with personnel and howitzers participating in Exercise African Lion in Morocco in June 2021.


The guidon of the Ellenwood-based Battery C, 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery, 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, stands at the ready during
M109A6 Paladin howitzer training during African Lion 2021 at Cap Draa, Morocco, June 16, 2021. Photo by Sgt. Nathan Baker.


The battery guidon of the Ellenwood-based Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery, 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Georgia Army National Guard, stands at the ready during M109A6 Paladin howitzer training during African Lion 2021 at Cap Draa, Morocco, June 16, 2021. Photo by Sgt. Nathan Baker.

[1] Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Georgia and Official Register of the National Guard for the Year 1920. (Atlanta: Chas. P. Byrd) 169.

[2] Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Georgia and Official Register of the National Guard for the Year 1920. (Atlanta: Chas. P. Byrd) 169.

[3] Center for Military History. “Roster, Federally Recognized National Guard Units. (Parts 1 and 2) 1917.” Unpublished manuscript, 1925, typescript.

[4] Center for Military History. “Form 3-10955 Battery A 118th FA (typescript)”

[5] Gordon Burns Smith. History in Action: 118th Field Artillery, 30th Infantry Division 1942-1945, 2nd Edition. (Washington, D.C.: Florida “Gator” Chapter, 1988) 8.

[6] Christopher R. Gabel. The U.S. Army GHQ Maneuvers of 1941. (Washington, D.C: Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1992) 200.

[7] Gordon Burns Smith. History in Action: 118th Field Artillery, 30th Infantry Division 1942-1945, 2nd Edition. (Washington, D.C.: Florida “Gator” Chapter, 1988) 19.

[8] Gordon Burns Smith. History in Action: 118th Field Artillery, 30th Infantry Division 1942-1945, 2nd Edition. (Washington, D.C.: Florida “Gator” Chapter, 1988) 33.

[9] Renee Hylton. Where Are We Going: The National Guard and the Korean War 1950-1953, 51.

[10] “Brig. Gen. Paul S. Stone Becomes Asst. Adj. Gen. for Air.” Georgia Guardsman, January 1963, 5.

[11] “Retirements.” Georgia Guardsman, May 1974, 20.

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

[13] “Closed-Circuit Telecasts Beamed to 111th Sig BN.” Georgia Guardsman, Oct-Nov-Dec 1959, 8.

[14] “President Mobilizes Georgia Guard’s 111th Signal Battalion.” Georgia Guardsman. Oct, Nov, Dec 1961, 4-5.

[15] “Signal Battalion Returns to Georgia After Ft. Meade Duty.” Georgia Guardsman, July-August 1962, 8-9.

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

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

[18] “Guardsmen Rescue Georgians and Travelers.” Georgia Guardsman, March April 1973, 2-4.

[19] “Ga. Guard Spans Globe for Annual Training.” Georgia Guardsman, March 1993, 5.

[20] Building for the New Century: The Georgia Department of Defense in 1998. (Atlanta: 1998) 7.

[21] First Friday Briefing, February 7, 2004.

[22] First Friday Briefing, June 2008, 1 and 15.

[23] Jasmine Jacobs. “Welcome Home Granite Battalion. Georgia Guardsman, January 2014, 3.

[24] OA 133-20 September 29, 2020 effective May 25, 2020.

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