||Histories for 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery (1960s to Present)
8th Artillery Regimental History
8TH FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENTAL HISTORY
The 8th Field Artillery was constituted in the Regular Army on 1 July 1916 under the National Defense Act of 3 June 1916. The unit was organized on 7 July 1916 at Fort Bliss, Texas from personnel of the 5th and 6th Field Artillery, each of which furnished some 275 men, mostly NCOs around whom the regiment was built. The regiment initially consisted of the 1st and 2nd Battalions consisting of a two Headquarters and Headquarters Batteries, as well as Batteries A through C, and Batteries D through F, respectively. Each battery had four 3.8-inch howitzers, for a total of 24 within the Regiment. The 8th Field Artillery was first commanded by Lieutenant Colonel E. F. McGlachlin, followed by Lieutenant Colonel H. G. Bishop, who assisted in establishing the regiment. Upon the arrival of Colonel Peyton C. March (later General March, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, May 1918 - January 1921) in August 1916, he assumed command of the 8th Field Artillery Regiment and remained in command until June 1917. He was then promoted to Brigadier General, USA, and designated as the Commander of Artillery, American Expeditionary Forces.
The 8th Field Artillery Regiment upon organization had an authorized strength of 51 officers and 1,323 enlisted. The regiment was the first and only artillery regiment with horse-drawn 3.8-inch howitzers. It was also the first portee (truck transported) regiment in the US Army and its equipment consisted of four Packard trucks on which guns could readily be loaded for quick movement into Mexico. While assigned to Fort Bliss, the regiment completed its organization and performed guard duty on the Mexican Border. On 24 May 1917, the Regimental Headquarters and 1st Battalion, 8th Field Artillery moved to Camp Robinson (Sparta), Wisconsin, where it organized the 16th and 17th Field Artillery Regiments on 1 June 1917. The 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where it organized the 14th Field Artillery, and fired for the new School of Fire. On 8 November 1917, the 8th Field Artillery Regiment (less 2nd Battalion) departed Camp Robinson and moved to Camp Wheeler (Macon), Georgia. The 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery rejoined the regiment at Camp Wheeler on 24 December 1917.
World War I
On 6 December 1917, the War Department directed the organization of the 7th Division, Regular Army, and designated Camp Wheeler, Georgia as the location for the Division Headquarters. The 7th Division was organized under the square division structure (Tables of Organization of August 1917): two infantry brigades, one field artillery brigade and divisional support troops. The units selected to form the division consisted of the 13th Infantry Brigade, comprised of the 55th and 56th Infantry Regiments, and the 20th Machine Gun Battalion; the 14th Infantry Brigade, comprised of the 34th and 64th Infantry Regiments, and the 21st Machine Gun Battalion; and the 7th Field Artillery Brigade, comprised of the 8th Field Artillery Regiment (Heavy), 79th Field Artillery Regiment (Light), 80th Field Artillery Regiment (Light), and 7th Trench Mortar Battery. Men from the 8th Field Artillery formed the nucleus for both the 7th Trench Mortar Battery and Brigade Headquarters. In April 1918, orders were received to turn-in horses and reorganize as a motorized regiment of heavy field artillery with three battalions. The 8th FA was designated the general support artillery battalion for the division and converted to the M1917 Schneider, 155mm howitzer. On account of space limitations, only the Brigade Headquarters, 8th Field Artillery and 7th Trench Mortar Battery located at Camp Wheeler. The 79th Field Artillery was stationed at Camp Logan (Houston), Texas, and the 80th Field Artillery at Camp Oglethorpe, Georgia. Subsequently, the latter regiment was transferred to Camp MacArthur (Waco), Texas, until the entire 7th Field Artillery Brigade assembled at Camp McClellan, Alabama in June 1918, for additional training.
Enroute to France, the 8th FA departed Camp McClelland and moved to its port of embarkation on 18 July 1918, via Camp Merritt, New Jersey. On 18 August, the 7th FA Brigade departed Hoboken, New Jersey on the U.S.S. George Washington and closed on Brest, France, on 28 August. After consolidation at the port of debarkation, the 7th FA Brigade moved by rail to Malestroit, Morbihan (Plo?el Area) on 31 August for training, while the rest of the division moved to the 15th Training Area (Ancy-le-Franc, Yonne). The 7th Division was placed under the administrative control of VI Corps from 2-14 September. On 15 September, the 7th Division was placed under the control of First Army, and then under IV Corps on 24 September. The artillery moved to Camp de Meucon (Morbihan) for intensive artillery training.
The 7th Division (less the 7th FA Brigade) relieved the 90th Division on the front on 10 October. The 5th FA Brigade (5th Division) and 160th FA Brigade (-) (85th Division) was attached to the 7th Division and provided fires in support of operations in the Puvenelle Sector (Lorraine) until the Armistice on 11 November 1918. The 7th FA Brigade was detached from the 7th Division and remained under the control of First Army. The artillery continued to train at Camp de Meucon until 9 February 1919. After the Armistice, the 7th Division served with VI Corps and Second Army from 13 November 1918 until 1 April 1919. The 8th Field Artillery began moving to Pont-?ousson, with the 2nd Battalion moving first on 9 February, followed by The Regimental Headquarters and 1st Battalion on 6 March, and then 3rd Battalion on 6 March. Upon closure, the regiment reverted to 7th Division control. On 6 April, the division (less artillery) moved to the 6th Training Area (Colombey-les-Belles). The 8th Field Artillery moved to Rozieres-en-Blois (Meuse), and the 7th FA Brigade moved to Commercy. The 7th Division then came under the control of IX Corps. In preparation for the movement back to the United States, the regiment turned in equipment and moved to the Le Mans American Embarkation Area at Fresnay Sur Sarthe, with 2nd Battalion at St. Aubin and 3rd Battalion at Douliet Le Joye, two small villages nearby. On 6 June 1919, the regiment moved to Camp Pontenazenthe Embarkation Center, Brest on 12 June and sailed to Camp Mills, New York on the U.S. Emperator. Upon consolidation and demobilization of emergency officers and men, the 8th Field Artillery departed Camp Mills on 26 June 1919 for Camp Funston, Kansas and rejoined the 7th Division. The 8th Field Artillery earned its first campaign streamer for serving in the World War I theater.
During the eighteen-month stay of the regiment at Camp Funston, the strength of the regiment varied from 3 to 20 officers and 125 to 398 men. Officers and men from the regiment did guard duty at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and strike duty at Pittsburg, Kansas and Denver, Colorado. In January 1920, the regiment was allotted to the State of Indiana for recruiting. Most of the recruits who joined at Camp Funston were from Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Oregon.
The 8th Field Artillery was relieved from assignment to the 7th Division on 12 January 1921 and departed Camp Funston, via San Francisco, for Hawaii. The regiment departing the Presidio of San Francisco on 4 February aboard the transport U.S.A.T. Sheridan and arrived on Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, on 12 February 1921. The unit was stationed at Schofield Barracks and assigned to the Provisional Field Artillery Brigade. On 1 March 1921, the Hawaiian Division was organized consisting of the 21st Infantry Brigade, comprised of the 19th and 21st Infantry Regiments; the 22nd Infantry Brigade, comprised of the 27th and 35th Infantry Regiments; and the 11th Field Artillery Brigade, comprised of the 8th, 11th and 13th Field Artillery Regiments. At that time, it was the largest field artillery brigade in the U.S. Army. The 8th Field Artillery was configured with 24 British-made M1917, 75mm guns. Over the next twenty years, the battalion conducted training and garrison duties at Schofield Barracks and was the first artillery unit to conduct a road movement through Kolekole Pass. During the 1920?s, the regiment acquired the nickname "Parsons" because its athletic teams were coached by a Chaplain Champitt and won numerous post sports championships. In 1925, the prestigious Knox Trophy was presented to Battery A, 8th Field Artillery. The trophy was awarded annually by the Society of the Sons of the Revolution in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the best U.S. artillery unit.
As war threatened, the War Department concluded that the square division was too cumbersome for modern warfare and adopted a new triangular division design of three infantry regiments, four field artillery battalions plus divisional support troops. At Schofield Barracks on 1 October 1941, the Army activated two triangular divisions, designated the 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions, using the units from the Hawaiian Division. The 19th and 21st Infantry Regiments and the 11th and 13th Field Artillery were assigned to the 24th Infantry Division. The 27th and 35th Infantry Regiments and the 8th Field Artillery were assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. To provide the third infantry regiment, the 25th Division was assigned the 298th Infantry Regiment of the Hawaiian National Guard, which was called to federal service in 1940. The 8th Field Artillery Regiment, the "Gunners" as they were known, was disbanded and formed into three field artillery battalions ? the 8th FA, 64th FA, and 89th FA. The units were eventually fielded with the M2A1, 105mm howitzer which they later used throughout the war in the Pacific. The 90th FA, designated as the general support battalion, was formed from personnel from the 11th Field Artillery Regiment and fielded the M1, 155mm howitzer (maximum range 16,355 yards). On 3 August 1942, the 161st Infantry Regiment of the Washington National Guard replaced the 298th Infantry Regiment.
World War II
On 7 December 1941, the 8th Field Artillery was awakened to the bombing of nearby Wheeler Army Airfield and strafing attack on Schofield Barracks. After the attack by the Japanese, the 25th Infantry Division moved to defensive positions on Oahu in anticipation of a Japanese invasion. The 8th Field Artillery Battalion occupied defensive positions in Honolulu, with the Battalion Headquarters establishing its command post at Roosevelt High School, Honolulu. Through most of 1942, the 25th Division remained in Hawaii and provided for the defense of the islands. During this time, the 27th Infantry Regiment and 8th Field Artillery Battalion conducted jungle and amphibious training vicinity Waianae and Waimanelo in anticipation of commitment to service in the Central or South Pacific theaters. Security considerations added to the Division vocabulary. All major units received code names beginning with the letter "L": "Lightning" for the Division Headquarters, "Lion, Leopard and Lynx" for the infantry regiments, and "Lobster, Lizard and Lancers" for the artillery battalions.
On 30 November 1942, the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided to send the 25th Infantry Division to the South Pacific. The Division Headquarters and the 35th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) sailed directly for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands to relieve the 1st Marine Division. The 27th RCT, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Infantry Battalions, and the 8th Field Artillery Battalion, departed Honolulu on 6 December and landed at Guadalcanal (Beach RED), via Suva, on 1 January 1943. The unit occupied positions east of the Lunga River. Upon arrival on Guadalcanal, the 27th Infantry Regiment consisted of 3,315 personnel (139 officers and 3,176 enlisted). The 8th Field Artillery consisted of 572 personnel (30 officers and 542 enlisted). The 161st RCT arrived on 4 January and became the division reserve. The 25th Division, operating as part of the XIV Corps (activated 2 January 1943), commenced offensive operations against the Japanese on 10 January 1943. At 0550, with H Hour set at 0635, the 8th FA participated in a thirty-three minute artillery preparation to support the attack. The divisional time-on-target (TOT) was controlled by the 8th Field Artillery?s fire direction center and was the first employed during the Guadalcanal campaign, and possibly the first divisional combat TOT fired by American artillerymen during World War II. Over the next four days, the 8th FA provided indirect fires in support of 27th Infantry Regiment operations. The infantry was tasked to capture the high ground referred to as the "Galloping Horse," which dominated the Point Cruz area to the north. After securing and consolidation on the objective, the 25th Division continued its attack to Kokumona. The 27th RCT was to attack and seize a ridgeline, called the "Snake." On 22 January 1943, four artillery battalions fired an artillery preparation on enemy positions prior to the attack. The 8th FA fired at an extremely rapid rate ? fourteen and one-half rounds per gun per minute. The 27th RCT?s fast advance in capturing the "Snake" necessitated exploitation of its success. The regiment continued forward and captured Kokumbona on 24 January. By 26 January, the elements of the Americal Division and 2nd Marines relieved the 25th Division. XIV Corps then tasked the division to establish a perimeter defense around Henderson and Carney airfields in anticipation of a Japanese attempt to retake Guadalcanal.
The 25th as part of the XIV Corps was then committed to operations to seize the remaining Japanese held islands in the Solomons. From 3 July to 6 October 1943, the 27th RCT (minus the 8th Field Artillery Battalion) participated in the seizure of the islands of New Georgia, Vella LaVella, Sasavele and Kolombangara. The 8th Artillery remained on Guadalcanal in defensive positions until mid-November. Upon conclusion of the Solomons campaign, the division re-assembled on Guadalcanal and then moved to New Zealand for rest and training. The 25th Division occupied various camps north and south of Auckland. The 27th Infantry Regiment, 8th FA, 64th FA and 90th FA arrived via army transports and occupied camps in the Warkworth area. On 18 January 1944, the New Amsterdam arrived with 2,500 replacements for the division. The unit underwent refit and retraining prior to their movement to Noumea, New Caledonia on 8-27 February 1944. While in New Caledonia, the 25th Division prepared for an assault on Kavieng, New Ireland but it was later canceled on 1 June. Early in September, the division was alerted for participation in Leyte-Samar (KING II) operations. The division was later relieved from participation in the operation and assigned to the Luzon (MIKE II) operation as the Sixth Army reserve. On 17 December 1944, the 25th Division convoy known as Task Unit 77.9 sailed to Luzon to take part in the re-occupation of the Philippines.
the On 11 January 1945, the 25th Division, now assigned to the Sixth Army, landed on Luzon at White Beach 3, Lingayen Gulf vicinity San Fabian and concentrated its forces vicinity Manaog. On 16 January, the 25th Division (-) passed to I Corps control. The division met fierce resistance from Japanese forces as it liberated key towns in the Central Plains along the left flank of Sixth Army. The 8th Field Artillery entered combat near the town of Ureneta on 17 January 1945. On 30 January, as elements of the 27th Infantry were preparing to dig in for the night near Pamienta, a column of Japanese tanks and trucks moving towards San Jose and the Caraballo Mountains turned and attacked. Using 8th Field Artillery indirect fires that were previously registered on the road, the 27th Infantry engaged and destroyed 28 enemy vehicles, 8 tanks and 12 field artillery pieces. After that battle, the Japanese began to withdraw into the Caraballo Mountains and offered only delaying actions until the Central Plains campaign ended on 10 February.
To secure the left flank of the Sixth Army as it drove for Manila, the 25th Division attacked Japanese forces in the Caraballo Mountains beginning on 21 February 1945. The 8th Field Artillery moved to Sibul, just east of San Jose. After about three weeks near San Jose, the battalion moved to a position vicinity Digdig occupying a recently evacuated Japanese supply and assembly point. Taking to the ridges that ran parallel to Highway 5, the "Wolfhounds" began an advance toward the main objective, Balete Pass. In a classic example of effective fire support, on 21 March the Japanese attacked the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry in the Myoko Mountains, but were effectively repelled. During the fight, clerks, cooks, and wiremen joined the gun crews to ward off the Japanese. In a 1-1/2 hour period, the 8th Field Artillery fired more than 1,100 rounds. In some of the fiercest fighting of the Pacific war, the division fought its way through the Japanese defenses on one hill after the other along Highway 5 with the key terrain, Balete Pass, falling to U.S. forces on 13 May 1945. Mopping up operations continued until the 27th RCT and the division were taken off the line on 30 June 1945. The 25th Division had suffered the most casualties of any division in the Sixth Army in its record establishing 165 days of continuous combat. Listed on the proposed order of battle for Operation OLYMPIC (the invasion of Japan), the 25th Division was in rehabilitation at Camp Patrick near Tarlac when the war ended. The 8th Field Artillery Battalion was awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its actions and was credited with participation in three campaigns of the Asiatic-Pacific Theater: Central Pacific, Guadalcanal, and Luzon.
Occupation Duty (Japan)
After the Japanese surrender on 14 August 1945, the 25th Division was chosen to be part of the Occupation Forces for Japan (Operation BLACKLIST). On 26
September 1945, the first assault echelon departed White Beach Two, Lingayen Gulf and landed on Honshu Island, Japan near Nagoya and Yokkaichi, on 27 October. The rest of the 25th Division closed on Japan by 3 November 1945. The 8th Field Artillery and the 27th Infantry occupied areas in Naka, Gifu Prefecture. The Division Headquarters located initially in Nagoya and later re-located to the city of Osaka. The 161st Infantry Regiment was inactivated in Nagoya, Japan and was replaced by the 4th Infantry Regiment on 1 November 1945. On 7 November, all matters pertaining to the collection and disposition of Japanese war materiel were delegated to the Commanding General, Division Artillery, for supervision and coordination. The 89th Field Artillery Battalion was inactivated on 15 December 1946 followed by the 4th Infantry's inactivation on 31 January 1947. The division relieved the 33rd Division on 8 January 1946 and assumed all occupational duties in the prefectures of Kyoto, Shiga, Fukai, Ishikawa, and Toyama. On 17 January, the division relieved the 98th Division. The expansion of the division?s zone caused the movement of several units. On 22 January, the 8th Field Artillery moved to Nara to relieve elements of the 98th Division. Battery A assumed control of the huge Uji Powder Plant, while Battery C guarded the Tsu Naval Arsenal on the east coast of Miye Prefecture. Near the end of January, the 90th Field Artillery joined the 8th Field Artillery at Nara, followed by the 64th Field Artillery. During this period, the 25th Division was assigned to I Corps and passed to Eighth Army control upon inactivation of the Sixth Army on 26 January. On 1 February 1947, the 24th Infantry Regiment along with the 159th Field Artillery Battalion were assigned to the 25th Division. Both units were manned by African-Americans as the Army was still segregated at that time. Over the next several years, units continued to move to new locations within zone upon completion of demilitarization tasks. By 1949, the 8th Field Artillery re-located to Camp McNair, Nara. On 20 March 1949, Battery C was inactivated and unit personnel were split between Batteries A and B. It was during this period that the 27th Infantry Regiment and the 8th Field Artillery Battalion became sponsors of the Holy Family Orphanage in Osaka. The dedication and generosity of the infantry and artillery soldiers in supporting the children?s orphanage resulted in worldwide recognition of their efforts. In 1955, Columbia Pictures made a movie about the 27th RCT?s support of the orphanage called "Three Stripes in the Sun." The 8th Field Artillery and 27th Infantry were also chosen and served as part of General Douglas MacArthur?s honor guard during the five years the units performed occupation duties in Japan.
The North Koreans launched a surprise invasion of the Republic of Korea on 25 June 1950. U.S. Army divisions stationed in Japan were rushed to the defense of South Korea. Of the four divisions in occupation duty, the 24th Infantry Division was the first to deploy. Soldiers from the 25th and 7th Infantry Divisions and the 1st Cavalry Division, provided personnel to bring the 24th Division to fighting strength. On 5 July 1950, the 25th Division was the next division ordered South Korea. The 8th Field Artillery deployed to Korea on 7 July 1950 and landed in Pusan on 11 July. As the "Bark of the Wolfhounds," the 8th Field Artillery continued to provide direct support fires to the 27th Infantry Regiment. The unit moved by rail to Uisong and then to Andong. The battalion saw its first action in Korea on 23 July near Yongdong between Taejon and Taegu. Firing over 2,600 artillery rounds in support, the 27th Infantry was able to hold off three waves of three North Korean Divisions that were pressing south. Forced back into what became known as the Pusan Perimeter, the American and South Korean forces fought stubbornly to halt the North Korean advance. From 24-26 July, the 27th RCT forced two enemy divisions driving south to halt their attack. The 8th Field Artillery earned its first Distinguished Unit Citation for their gallant stand. The entire Division rushed from the right flank to the left to block a new threat to Pusan. Taking up positions near Chindong-ni, only 35 miles west of Pusan, the battalion earned a ROK Presidential Unit Citation in ten days of bitter fighting from 1-11 August. On the morning of 3 August, a battalion of North Korean infantry drove up and de-trucked about a thousand yards from the 8th Field Artillery Battalion CP. The Battalion Commander stepped outside the FDC and adjusted fire on them. A check of the area afterwards revealed that the enemy suffered over four hundred casualties.
On the 7th of August, the R.O.K. Government assigned 30 National Police troopers to help ward off guerrilla attacks, and keep the 8th Field Artillery protected while on the move. As the line became more secure, the 27th Infantry and 8th Field Artillery became the Eighth Army reserve. They formed what became known as the "Fire Brigade," moving to whatever part of the perimeter that was threatened by the North Koreans. During the period 21-24 August, the 8th Field Artillery earned another Distinguished Unit Citation as it defended an area near Taegu called the "Bowling Alley." With reinforcing fires provided by the 37th Field Artillery, more than 3,000 enemy soldiers were killed. On 22 August, two enemy rounds hit the headquarters CP destroying the battalion fire direction center and radio truck. In the attack, the battalion executive officer was killed along with four officers and four enlisted soldiers. Battalion tactical fire direction control was passed to the 37th Field Artillery until the battalion headquarters CP was able to re-organize. Up until this time, only two firing batteries provided the outstanding fire support from the battalion. On 27 August, the battalion fell back to Taegu. While there, Battery C was activated and filled by men from the 10th Provisional Artillery Battery which had arrived from Camp Carson, Colorado. The battalion also was increased by 100 new KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to United States Army) soldiers that were assigned to the unit. By 8 September, the North Koreans southward advance had been stopped.
During the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter in the middle of September, the 8th Field Artillery moved more than 250 miles at night from Masan to Koesan. The United Nations forces drove to the 38th Parallel, destroying the North Korean Army in the process. On 25 October, U.N. forces crossed the 38th Parallel and the 25th Division, along with the rest of the Eighth Army, advanced into North Korea. From Koesan the battalion continued on to Kaesong, through Pyongyang to Ipsok, only 65 miles from the Yalu River. In October 1950, the Chinese sent large numbers of troops across the Yalu River in support of the North Koreans. On 26 November, the battalion occupied positions vicinity Ipsok to support Task Force WILSON when they encountered a head long attack by infiltrating Chinese forces. During the engagement, much of it was conducted with direct howitzer fires into the attacking Chinese, the battalion was eventually able to withdraw without losing any equipment. The unit fell back to Kaesong, later to gain fame as the first site of the truce negotiations. Moreover the battalion CP, while in Kaesong, was located in the house later used for the truce talks. The Chinese launched a massive offensive that drove the U.N. forces back below the 38th Parallel where the enemy was finally halted. Moving farther south, the 8th Field Artillery occupied position in Paju along the Imjin River, before fighting a delaying action south of the Han River and eventually occupying positions vicinity Chonan. After a week at Chonan, the battalion moved north to Shihung, passing through Osan and Suwon. During the retrograde action, Battery C was the last mobile unit to cross the Han River before the bridges were demolished. Battery C was then attached to the 27th Infantry and given the mission of supporting the "Wolfhound?s" withdrawal. In early January 1951, the Chinese offensive came to a halt.
The battalion supported limited attacks conducted by Task Forces WOLFHOUND and KILLER during January 1951. It was during the attack by Task Force KILLER in the hills north of Yongdongpo that Captain Lewis Millet was recommended and subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor. An artilleryman stationed in Japan and subsequently deployed to Korea as a forward observer supporting the 27th Infantry. He transferred to the infantry and commanded E Company, 27th Infantry and led the last officially recognized bayonet charge when he attacked and routed Chinese attacking his company?s position. The military historian Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall called it "the most complete bayonet charge by American troops since Cold Harbor" (Civil War). BG Marshall personally wrote Captain Millett?s Medal of Honor citation. Captain (later Colonel) Millett?s Medal of Honor is currently on display at the Artillery Museum at Fort Sill, where it is the centerpiece of the Artillery Medal of Honor exhibit.
Throughout 1951, the 8th Field Artillery supported various attacks around the Han River. On 7 March 1951, the battalion fired 2,478 rounds in support of the 27th Infantry as they crossed the Han River and attacked Kwangju. On returning to the north, the battalion came up the West-Central Front, rather than along the coastline route that it had followed previously. Passing through the dense Korean National Forest, the battalion moved into the village of Pochan and then into the rugged Chorwan Valley. On 22 April, the enemy?s Spring Offensive started and once again the 8th Field Artillery covered the U.N. forces withdrawal. Within a month, the U.N. units had rallied, and the battalion resumed movement north again. On 29 May, the battalion crossed the 38th Parallel for the fifth time. As the front began to stabilize during the summer of 1951, the battalion occupied positions vicinity the Iron Triangle, so named because the three cities of Kumhwa, Chorwan and Pyonggang formed a huge triangle. At times the firing batteries were only 400 yards behind the infantry lines. The front quieted down as truce talks got under way during the Summer of 1951. During this time two Chinese planes bombed the 8th Field Artillery Headquarters located at Kumhwa. In the Fall of 1951 several changes in the units of the division took place. On 1 October 1951, the 24th Infantry was inactivated and replaced by the 14th Infantry; and the 69th Field Artillery Battalion was replaced by the 159th Field Artillery Battalion. The 79th Tank Battalion, assigned to the 25th in 1949 (re-designated the 755th in August 1951), was inactivated on 14 November 1951 and replaced on that date by the 89th Tank Battalion.
The Korean War would drag on in a series of limited operations designed to enhance each side's military positions in anticipation of a conclusion in truce talks underway at Kaesong, and then later Panmunjom. The remaining two years were spent on a more or less static line. During this time, the 8th Field Artillery occupied positions throughout various sectors on the front, from the "Punchbowl" and Pia-ri on the east coast, through "White Horse," Kumhwa and "Old Baldy" in the central sector, to the extreme left flank and Panmunjom area. In the last-named position, forward observation posts were maintained on both sides of the neutral corridor. The battalion forward observers had direct observation of the hut where the delegates discussed the terms of the armistice. On 14 July 1953, the battalion was alerted and moved to new positions near Chorwon when the Chinese broke through the R.O.K. 6th Division?s lines. U.N. forces were able to re-establish the line and the 8th Field Artillery eventually returned to positions vicinity Munsan-ni. Finally on 27 July 1953, a truce agreement was signed effectively ending the Korean War. In the 1,112 days since 11 July 1950, the battalion had fired 499,403 rounds of ammunition against the enemy. The 8th Field Artillery Battalion greatly distinguished itself in the 37 months of combat in the Korean War. The battalion received two U.S. Presidential Unit Citations (Army) for heroism, one U.S. Presidential Unit Citation (Navy), one Navy Unit Citation, two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations, and was credited with participation in all ten Korean War campaigns.
Post Korean War
On 28 March 1954, the 25th Division moved "off-line" and was relieved by the 7th Division. The 8th Field Artillery moved into the positions formerly occupied by the 48th Field Artillery in the Tokhyon-Dong Valley, off Route 1-X. The 8th?s new mission was in support of I Corps forward elements of the 1st Marine Division. The battalion occupied the most forward position of any unit in the 25th Division. The half-millionth round was fired by 6th howitzer section, Battery A on 22 November 1953 on Bullseye Artillery Range, during routine service practice. After receiving word that the 25th Division was to depart Korea, the 8th Field Artillery motored to Munsan-ni, boarded rail cars for Inchon Harbor and departed Korea on the USNS General Gordon on 6 October 1954. The battalion arrived in Honolulu on 17 October 1954 and returned to Schofield Barracks -- two wars and almost thirteen years later.
In 1957, the Army concluded that the infantry regiment was no longer a tactically viable organization in the era of nuclear warfare. Consequently the Army reorganized all infantry and airborne divisions under the Pentomic concept. Instead of three infantry regiments, there would be five infantry battle groups each commanded by a colonel. Each division would also have a cavalry reconnaissance squadron, an armor battalion and an aviation battalion. The division artillery also absorbed the air defense into the field artillery and was re-designated as the Artillery branch. To preserve the lineage of the historic regiments, the Army established the Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) whereby companies/batteries/troops of a historic regiment would be used to form battle groups/battalions bearing the regimental designation. On 22 May 1963, the 8th Artillery Regiment officially adopted the distinctive unit designation "AUTOMATIC EIGHTH." The 8th Field Artillery Battalion was reorganized with eight headquarters and headquarters batteries designated. On 1 October 1983, the 8th Field Artillery Regiment was withdrawn from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the U.S. Army Regimental System.
1st Battalion, 8th Field Artillery
25th Infantry Division
Battery A, 8th Field Artillery Battalion was reorganized and redesignated 1 February 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Howitzer Battalion, 8th Artillery, an element of the 25th Infantry Division (organic elements constituted 15 January 1957 and activated 1 February 1957). The 25th Infantry Division was reorganized and consisted of the 1st Battle Group 14th Infantry; 2nd Battle Group, 19th Infantry; 2nd Battle Group, 21st Infantry; 1st Battle Group, 27th Infantry; and 1st Battle Group, 35th Infantry. The 25th Division Artillery consisted of the 1st Battalion 8th Artillery, 2nd Battalion 9th Artillery, 7th Battalion 11th Artillery, and 3rd Battalion 13th Artillery. In 1963, the Army decided that the battle group was not the answer and again reorganized the infantry and airborne divisions replacing the battle groups with a quasi-regimental structure consisting of three brigades of three infantry battalions each. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigades of the 25th were activated in August 1963. The battle groups were reorganized into seven battalions and re-designated as the 1st Battalion 5th Infantry, 1st Battalion 14th Infantry, 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry, 1st Battalion 27th Infantry, 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry, 1st Battalion 35th Infantry, and 2nd Battalion 35th Infantry. The 1st Howitzer Battalion, 8th Artillery was redesignated 5 August 1963 as the 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery and designated the direct support artillery battalion for the 2nd Brigade. In October 1963, the battalion turned in the 155mm howitzers they had under the previous organizational structure and fielded the M101A1, 105mm howitzer (maximum range 11,160 meters).
As the 25th Division prepared to deploy to Vietnam in 1966, it was shy two infantry battalions. In January 1966, the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry and the 4th Battalion 23rd Infantry (Mechanized) were assigned from Alaska. The 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery sailed with the 2nd Brigade Task Force on 5 January 1966 as part of Operation GREEN LIGHT. The battalion arrived in Vietnam on 19 January 1966 at Vung Tau. On 23 January, C Battery fired the 8th Artillery?s first round from a position near Bien Hoa in support of Republic of Vietnam forces operating in War Zone D. The next day, the battalion along with the rest of the 2nd Brigade Task Force convoyed and occupied positions vicinity Cu Chi northwest of Saigon. The battalion arrived in Vietnam with 490 personnel assigned. By 1970, the unit personnel strength had risen to 641. During the first six months of combat in Vietnam, the 8th Artillery supported elements of the 2nd Brigade Task Force on 16 major operations. The 100,000th round was fired against the Viet Cong on 31 July 1966. From 1966 to 1970, the 25th Division fought the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong north and west of Saigon. During the 1968 Tet Offensive, the 25th stopped the Viet Cong attempts to seize Ton Son Nhut airfield and participated in the defense of Saigon. In December 1968, the battalion turned in the M101 howitzers and received the M102 howitzer. By 11 November 1969, the 8th Artillery had fired over 1,000,000 rounds in support of the 2nd Brigade and US/Vietnamese forces. To support maneuver operations, the batteries would support from the Cu Chi base camp or Dau Tieng base camp, or often deploy to fire support bases, such as "Pershing, Keene, Jackson, Ayres, Devin, Emory, and Wood." To further support 2nd Brigade operations in outlying areas, one or two guns would be deployed ("fire balls") by ground or air to jump patrol bases, such as "Diamond I, II and III." Before departing Vietnam, the 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery would fire more than 1,200,000 rounds and be credited with developing and validating a new battery defense technique called "Killer Junior." The name "Junior" reflects a high explosive projectile fired at a minimally set time fuze and the lowest necessary charge. The name "Killer" represents the 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery?s call-sign during the inception of the technique.
The 25th Infantry Division began its return to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii on 6 December 1970. The 2nd Brigade and 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery were the last units to leave on 30 April 1971. Upon return of the unit to Hawaii, the battalion was inactivated. On 1 September 1971, the unit was re-designated as the 1st Battalion, 8th Field Artillery. For its service in Vietnam, the battalion received one Valorous Unit Award, two Republic of Vietnam Crosses of Gallantry with Palm, the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal First Class, and was credited with participation in twelve campaigns.
On 5 June 1972, the battalion was again re-activated for service with the 25th Division, but this time as a M114, 155mm howitzer battalion. The unit was assigned to WESTCOM, which was later re-designated as USARPAC, and further attached to the 25th Infantry Division. The unit was assigned the mission of general support for the division. In June 1984, the battalion fielded the M198, 155mm howitzer. On 4 September 1997, the 1st Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was inactivated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery
7th Infantry Division
25th Infantry Division
Battery B, 8th Field Artillery Battalion was inactivated 1 February 1957 in Hawaii and relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division. Redesignated 1 July 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Howitzer Battalion, 8th Artillery, it was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division ("Bayonet"), and activated in Korea (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated). The unit was further redesignated 1 July 1963 as the 2nd Battalion, 8th Artillery. With the departure of the 7th Infantry Division from Korea on 27 March 1971, the unit moved to Fort Lewis, Washington where it was inactivated on 2 April 1971. The battalion was redesignated 1 September 1971 as the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery. Re-activated 21 April 1975 at Fort Ord, California, the unit was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division. The battalion served with distinction in direct support of the 1st Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (Light) which included battalions from the 17th ("Buffalos") and 31st ("Polar Bears") Infantry Regiments, and then later the 9th Infantry Regiment ("Manchus"). In December 1989, the battalion turned in their M102 howitzers and became the first unit in the US Army to field the M119 howitzer (maximum range 14,000 meters, 19,000 with RAP). That same month, fire support elements deployed to Panama during Operation JUST CAUSE with the 1st Brigade Task Force (DRB-2). The brigade served as part of Task Force ATLANTIC until it re-deployed in February 1991. In April 1993, the unit moved from Fort Ord, California to Fort Lewis, Washington. On 9 August 1993, the 7th Infantry Division (Light) was inactivated at Fort Ord, California. Subsequently, the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was relieved from assignment with the 7th Infantry Division and assigned to the 9th Regimental Combat Team. On 21 January 1995, the unit deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to support humanitarian operations conducted by Joint Task Group Bulkeley, JTF 160. Team Alpha, consisting of HHS and A Battery, operated Migrant Camp G. Team Bravo, consisting of B and C Batteries, operated Migrant Camp E. The battalion re-deployed to Fort Lewis on 7 June 1995. On 24 August 1995, the 9th RCT re-flagged as the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light) consisting of 1st Battalion 5th Infantry, 1st Battalion 24th Infantry, 5th Battalion 20th Infantry, 25th Forward Support Battalion and the 2nd Battalion 8th Field Artillery. Concurrently, the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was relieved from assignment with the 9th RCT and assigned to the 25th Infantry Division as the direct support artillery unit to the 1st Brigade. With the activation of the 1st Brigade ("Lancers") at Fort Lewis, this is the first time an element of the 25th Infantry Division has served in the Continental United States.
3rd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery
81st Infantry Division
18th Field Artillery Brigade
Battery C, 8th Field Artillery Battalion inactivated 1 February 1957 in Hawaii and relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division; concurrently, redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 8th Artillery. Redesignated 10 April 1959 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Rocket Howitzer Battalion, 8th Artillery; it was concurrently, withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and assigned to the 81st Infantry Division ("Wildcats") (organic elements concurrently constituted). The battalion was activated 1 May 1959 at Rome, Georgia and further redesignated 1 April 1963 as the 3rd Battalion, 8th Artillery. The unit was inactivated 31 December 1965, and relieved from assignment to the 81st Infantry Division. On 1 September 1971, the battalion was redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery. On 1 October 1983, the 3rd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was re-activated under the U.S. Army Regimental System and replaced the 1st Battalion, 73rd Field Artillery. The unit was assigned to the 18th Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as a M198, 155mm battalion. In 1990, the 3rd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery deployed to Saudi Arabia with the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD, later re-designated as Operation DESERT STORM. The battalion loaded its equipment on several ships in Wilmington, North Carolina on 29 August. On 26 September, the battalion closed on SANG Compound in Dammann. On 24 February 1991, the DESERT STORM ground campaign began (G-Day) (C+201) (D+38). Initially occupying assembly area HINESVILLE, the battalion as part of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade served as general support-reinforcing to the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized). After the cease-fire on 28 February, the battalion began re-deploying to Fort Bragg commencing on 2 April. The battalion continued to support the XVIII Airborne Corps until 1 June 1996 when the unit was inactivated and re-flagged as the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery. For its service in Southwest Asia, the battalion was credited with participation in two campaigns.
4th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery
First US Army
479th Field Artillery Group
157th Infantry Brigade (Separate)
The former Battery D, 8th Field Artillery, was reconstituted 1 February 1957 in the Regular Army and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 4th Howitzer Battalion, 8th Artillery; and was concurrently, inactivated in Hawaii and relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division. The battalion was then withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and assigned to the First United States Army. The 4th Howitzer Battalion, 8th Artillery activated 6 April 1959 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a 105mm howitzer battalion. In August 1959, the unit was attached to the 479th FA Group, which was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The battalion re-designated 31 July 1968 as the 4th Battalion, 8th Artillery. On 1 September 1971, the unit underwent another redesignation and became the 4th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery. The battalion headquarters moved from Pittsburgh to Clearfield, Pennsylvania on 15 September 1975. On 23 July 1976, the battalion was assigned to the 157th Infantry Brigade as its direct support artillery battalion. The 4th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was relieved from assignment with the 157th Infantry Brigade and inactivated on 13 September 1991.
5th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery
"Centaurs, All The Way"
103rd Infantry Division
18th Field Artillery Brigade
Former Battery E, 8th Field Artillery (absorbed 1 October 1941 by Battery B, 8th Field Artillery), reconstituted 1 February 1957 in the Regular Army and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5th Battalion, 8th Artillery. Redesignated 20 April 1959 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5th Howitzer Battalion, 8th Artillery; concurrently, withdrawn from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and assigned to the 103rd Infantry Division (organic elements concurrently constituted). The battalion was activated 18 May 1959 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was then later inactivated there on 9 January 1963, and subsequently relieved from assignment to the 103rd Infantry Division on 15 March 1963. The battalion was redesignated 1 September 1971 as the 5th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery.
On 1 October 1983, the 5th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was re-activated under the U.S. Army Regimental System and replaced the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery. The unit was assigned to the 18th Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as a M198, 155mm battalion. C Battery, 5th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was activated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1987 and served as the general support battery for the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM. Loading its equipment on 15 August 1990 from Wilmington, North Carolina on the USNS Pollux, the battalion (-) personnel departed Pope AFB on 29 August. The unit eventually closed on SANG Compound, Dammann, Saudi Arabia on 14 September. On 17 September, the battalion occupied assembly area HINESVILLE. On 16 January 1991, Battery C was relieved from assignment with the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery and assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) as its general support battery. On 27 February, 5-8 FA (-) was attached to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and occupied Forward Operating Base COBRA where it supported the Division?s operations. On 27 February, C Battery was further attached to 1-320th FA. After the cease-fire on 28 February, 5-8 FA (-) continued to support the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) until 20 March 1991 when it reverted back to XVIII Airborne Corps control. On 2 April, the battalion?s equipment was loaded on the Saudi Makkah and the unit re-deployed its personnel to Fort Bragg. The battalion continued to support the XVIII Airborne Corps and on 1 June 1994 was re-designated as 5th Battalion (Air Assault), 8th Field Artillery. On 16 June 1996, the battalion was inactivated at Fort Bragg and re-flagged as the 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery. For its service in Southwest Asia, the battalion was credited with participation in two campaigns.
6th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery
7th Infantry Division
Former Battery F, 8th Field Artillery (absorbed 1 October 1941 by Battery C, 8th Field Artillery), reconstituted 1 February 1957 in the Regular Army and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th Battalion, 8th Artillery. The unit was redesignated 9 June 1959 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th Missile Battalion, 8th Artillery and activated 30 June 1959 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The unit then deployed to Korea where it served until it was inactivated on 26 October 1963. Re-designated 10 January 1967 as the 6th Battalion, 8th Artillery, it was re-activated 1 March 1967 at Fort Carson, Colorado and later inactivated there on 31 December 1970. On 1 September 1971 the battalion was redesignated as the 6th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery.
On 1 October 1983, the 6th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was re-activated under the U.S. Army Regimental System and replaced the 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery. The unit was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California as a M102, 105mm battalion. The unit served with distinction in direct support of the 2nd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (Light) which comprised of battalions from the 32nd Infantry Regiments, and then 21st and 27th Infantry Regiments. In December 1989, the battalion deployed to Panama during Operation JUST CAUSE as part of the 2nd Brigade Task Force (DRB-1). The unit served under Task Force ATLANTIC until it re-deployed to Fort Ord in February 1990. The battalion then turned in their M102 howitzers and fielded the M119 howitzers. On 10 June 1993, as part of the 7th Division Artillery inactivation ceremony, the 6th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery inactivated and was relieved from assignment with the 7th Infantry Division (Light). The battalion was credited with participation in the Armed Forces Expedition to Panama.
7th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery
52nd Artillery Group, III Corps Artillery
Fourth U.S. Army
54th Field Artillery Group
23rd Field Artillery Group, II Field Force Vietnam Artillery
25th Infantry Division
Former Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, reconstituted 1 February 1957 in the Regular Army and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 7th Battalion, 8th Artillery. Redesignated 8 August 1962 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 7th Howitzer Battalion, 8th Artillery (organic elements concurrently constituted). The battalion was activated 23 August 1962 at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas as a M110, 8-inch battalion. Assigned to the Fourth U.S. Army, the unit was further attached to the 52nd Artillery Group, III Corps Artillery. The unit was redesignated on 20 March 1964 as the 7th Battalion, 8th Artillery. As a result of the closing of Fort Chaffee, the battalion was re-positioned to Fort Bliss, Texas on 25 August 1964. The unit was further relieved from assignment to III Corps Artillery and assigned to Fourth U.S. Army. In December 1965, the 7th Battalion, 8th Artillery moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma and conducted Basic Combat Training for 1,000 personnel from 19 February to 29 April 1966. This was accomplished on a one-time mission basis and was the first time Basic Training was conducted at Fort Sill in 8 years. The battalion deployed to Vietnam on 29 June 1967 with a personnel strength of 565. Originally just a M110, 8-inch self-propelled howitzer battalion, the unit was later reorganized to include 175mm guns in 1969. The battalion initially located at Bear Cat with 54th Artillery Group, but later moved to Bien Hoa on 14 October 1967, where it remained until departure from Vietnam. On 17 October 1969, the battalion was transferred to the control of II Field Force Vietnam Artillery on 17 October 1969 and served with the 23rd Artillery Group from May until re-deployment on 27 July 1971. The unit was inactivated 28 July 1971 at Fort Lewis, Washington and redesignated 1 September 1971 as the 7th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery. On 1 October 1983, the 7th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was re-activated under the U.S. Army Regimental System and replaced the 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery. The unit was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii as a M102, 105mm battalion. The 7th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery served as the direct support artillery unit for 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division until it was inactivated in July 1995. For its service in Vietnam, the battalion received two Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal First Class, and was credited with participation in eleven campaigns.
8th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery
2nd Infantry Division
Former Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, reconstituted 1 February 1957 in the Regular Army and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 8th Battalion, 8th Artillery. On 1 September 1971 the unit was redesignated as the 8th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery. On 1 October 1983, the 8th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery was activated under the U.S. Army Regimental System and replaced the 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery. The unit was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Stanley, Korea as a M109A3, 155mm battalion. In July 1996, the unit was re-flagged the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, inactivated and relieved from assignment with the 2nd Infantry Division.
The 8th Field Artillery Regiment Today
At one time, the eight battalions of the 8th Field Artillery Regiment formed the largest field artillery regiment in the U.S. Army. The spirit of the "AUTOMATIC EIGHTH" continues to live on in the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery ? the only 8th Field Artillery unit still on active service. The unit proudly serves as the flag bearer for the regiment and as part of our legacy, continues to provide timely and destructive artillery fires in support of the 25th Infantry Division (Light).
Posted by Russell Nunley
Apr 01 2003 06:50:45:000PM