News: Division Artillery returns to the Army
Story by Master Sgt. Christopher Peavy
FORT BLISS, Texas - The 1st Armored Division Artillery was the very last "DIVARTY" to stand down in order to make room for a Fires Brigade in May of 2007, but now they are the first to stand up as the Army brings back Division Artillery to the ranks and capabilities of its 10 divisions.
For more than seven years the 1st Armored Division DIVARTY colors remained cased in the National Archives in Washington, while the 212th Fires Brigade carried the mission of providing long-range, deep-fight capabilities. That ended on July 23 with a ceremony that bid farewell to the 212th and welcomed back the unit known as the “Iron Steel Brigade” at Fort Bliss.
Many artillery Soldiers held a sentiment that was expressed by then DIVARTY Commander Col. Darryl Williams during the 2007 ceremony that closed the doors on the Army’s last DIVARTY.
"It's bittersweet in the sense that DIVARTY goes away, but (that) the artillery will still maintain its place in our division," said Williams at the casing ceremony.
Flash forward seven years, Col. Heyward Hutson, the commander of the former 212th Fires Brigade and now the 1st Armored Division, Division Artillery recognized the amount of work it took to return DIVARTY to the ranks and the effects it brings.
“(There’s) excitement in bringing back the 1st Armored Division Field Artillery,” Hutson said. “There’s a pride in the hard work of the Soldiers, both in the DIVARTY and across the Division who have assisted us in getting this far. We are the first in Army. We are literally blazing a path for the other artillery units across the Army.”
The change in colors to 1st Armored Division, DIVARTY will allow the former 212th Fires Brigade to engage in operational-level fires and well-trained fire by, with and through the brigade combat team and the modular force. Additionally, the DIVARTY’s will provide effective mission command for the training and readiness of the attached units.
Soldiers of 212th will now participate in high-intensity conflict operations by integrating and synchronizing field artillery capabilities for maneuver units. The DIVARTY’s experienced field artillery senior leaders will further improve the core competencies and leader development throughout the division.
Maj. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the 1st Armored Division commanding general, noted the true significance of field artillery in our nation’s previous wars and how the return of this element will impact the fighting force in the future.
“Throughout our nation’s history, the reliability of the United States Army’s artillery has enabled our maneuver troops to gain battlefield dominance,” MacFarland said. “With its (DIVARTY) return to our formation, we are ensuring the ‘King of Battle’ reigns supreme in the American Army for years to come.”
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Armored Division Artillery was originally constituted as the Artillery Section, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, and activated at Fort Knox, Ky., July 15, 1940. The Division Artillery Command participated during the Second World War in North Africa and Italy; a service period so commendable, the unit received six campaign streamers before being deactivated following World War II.
Over five years later, March 7, 1951, the unit was reactivated at Fort Hood, Texas. Since then, elements of the unit participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Task Force Eagle, in support of Operations Joint Endeavor; Operation Joint Guard and Operation Joint Forge; and peacekeeping missions with Operation Allied Force in Albania and Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo.
The 1st Armored Division, Division Artillery was last deactivated on May 1, 2007, as the Army transformed its formations for counterinsurgency operations, yet now returns as the Army prepares to face new challenges on the battlefields.