By Sgt. Joe Dees, 214th Fires BrigadeOctober 2, 2014
FORT SILL, Okla. (Oct. 2, 2014) -- Second Battalion, 5th Field Artillery closed another chapter in its long and storied history with an inactivation ceremony Sept. 25 here.
Distinguished guests from the 214th Fires Brigade, Fort Sill and the Army joined the Soldiers, families, friends and battalion alumni for an emotional and heartfelt casing of the famous and much decorated battalion colors.
The "Rock Hard" Battalion can trace parts of its origins to Capt. Alexander Hamilton's New York Company of Artillery which formed in 1776, making the 5th FA the only surviving regular Army unit that fought in the Revolutionary War. However, 2nd Battalion in its current form was constituted in 1907 and served with distinction in World War I, on two continents in World War II, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom among others.
"This ceremony marked the last official act of the battalion," said Lt. Col. Travis Gray, 2-5th FA commander. "It was a respectful and professional inactivation ceremony and closes another chapter in our unit's history."
Two-5th FA has always reflected the Army's growth, change, development and hardship in its orders and missions. From multiple deployments to Europe for world wars, serving in occupied Germany and the Middle East, to upgrading and evolving with field artillery technology, the battalion has always done what the nation and Army has called on them to do. Even in inactivation, the Rock Hard Battalion reflects the changes in Army doctrine by being on the vanguard of the 214th Fires Brigade's shift to division artillery for the 4th Infantry Division and only a precursor to the entire brigade's reorganization and move to Fort Carson, Colo.
The orders for inactivation came as the battalion worked furiously to remain one of the Army's most proficient FA units and was paired with orders for a battery to train in infantry style tactics to deploy to Southwest Asia as a security taskforce.
Over the past several months the Soldiers and leaders of the battalion worked with diligence and dedication to accomplish the mission of supporting Task Force Charlie, their forward deployed comrades. They also strove to perform the tedious and sometimes difficult task of returning over 6,000 pieces of equipment and obtaining assignments for hundreds of Soldiers. Yet as the day of inactivation quickly approached, each and every mission and deadline was met and exceeded.
"The battalion has accomplished all assigned missions in a manner more complete and professional than my wildest expectations," said Col. Andrew Preston, 214th Fires Brigade commander.
It can be noted that the battalion does not completely inactivate for another few weeks as it awaits the return of Task Force Charlie and will need to execute the necessary redeployment debriefings, classes and reintegration training. But these promising weeks did not reflect in the glum faces looking upon the proud Soldiers in formation. Nor, were sad eyes watching the innumerable battle and campaign streamers that bare the unit's honors with names like Antietam, Gettysburg, Meuse-Argonne, Normandy and Anbar province as they slid gently into their case.
"Like those campaigns, our nation and Army has called upon us again," said Gray. "However, this mission was different, but still the battalion and Soldiers performed consistent with our history, for no matter the challenge, the battalion has always risen to the occasion."