Colors cased
Col. John Fant, 428th Field Artillery Brigade commander, Lt. Col. Jeff Clifton and Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur Hawkins case the colors of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery April 9 at the Fort Sill Religious Support Center.

FORT SILL, Okla.--Fort Sill is saying goodbye, for now, to the 1st Battalion 22nd Field Artillery. Leaders gathered for the bittersweet ceremony April 9, to case the colors and celebrate what they had accomplished in a short amount of time while training future officers in the Basic Officer Leader Course, Phase II.

Col. John Fant, 428th Field Artillery Brigade commander, led the ceremony sharing his thoughts not only on the job they did but on the course being discontinued.

"The true value of BOLC II has yet to be realized in our Army. Regardless, it was through industry with honor that this command team achieved its mission in conflict." He also shared a remark from a field artillery commander at Fort Carson Colo., who recently said the lieutenants he's receiving now really understand troop leading procedures and how to lead small units--a testament to the training here. 1st-22nd was one of only two battalions in the Army that ran BOLC II, the other being at Fort Benning, Ga.

The unit commander, Lt. Col. Jeff Clifton is taking the change in stride.

"As we are well aware, the only constant in the Army is change. And the cancellation of BOLC II and the battalion deactivation is just part of that change. On the good side, nobody has to do a pass-and-review and I don't have anyone coming in behind me saying, Clifton messed this stuff all up."

This is not the first time the unit has deactivated. In fact, it has been through numerous changes since its conception. One included its 1941 redesignation as Battery A, 22nd FA Battalion where it was activated at Pine Camp, NY. During this time the battalion participated in the invasion of Normandy, the effort in Northern France, the campaign in Ardennes-Asacem, the Battle of the Bulge and the effort in Central Europe.

The battalion was then re-designated Sept. 15, 1996 as the 1st-22nd FA and assigned to the Field Artillery Training Center, later to become the 434th FA brigade at Fort Sill. On May 8, 2008 the 1st, 22nd FA was assigned to the 428th FA Brigade where it assumed the mission of training the BOLC II where it developed, trained and mentored the future junior officers of the Army.

In that short amount of time the unit trained more than 8,000 second lieutenants from all branches of the Army.

"In the end I honestly think we got it down pretty good. I thought we were well along the path. Not because of anything I did though, but because of the knowledge and experience of the squadron managers, platoon sergeants, platoon managers, first sergeants, company commanders--these fantastic officers and NCOs truly understood the importance of what they were doing and the impact they were leaving, not only on the platoon leaders of today, but the future battalion brigade commanders of this Army. As such, I remain amazed at the initiative, dedication and effort each and every one of them poured into making officers better prepared for combat," said Clifton.

The seven week course is being combined<t$> into the new Basic Officer Leader Course B. The officers will still learn base-line leadership and combat skills along with more specific Military Occupational Specialty training.

"It's unfortunate, you know, anytime you case the colors there's a lot of sweat that went into serving those colors but in the Army you change your mission all the time. You just learn to adapt to it and drive on because in the end the Army still has the capability it needs to fight and win the wars, said Clifton."

When asked what Clifton will miss the most from his time served in 1st-22nd FA, he said the people. "Every unit is made up of individuals. I think really that's what it comes down to. And hopefully the Army will see a time and place to uncase the colors again allowing 1st-22nd to serve with pride."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16