By Spc. Gus Kriticos, 2nd BCT, 10th Mountain Division (LI)June 8, 2017
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 8, 2017) - Members of 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, commemorated the regiment's 100 years of service to the nation during a ceremony June 1 on Fort Drum's Division Hill.
The centennial celebration included a parade of Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Fox and Headquarters batteries. Soldiers fired M119A3 howitzers during the ceremony to salute the battalions of the 15th Field Artillery Regiment (FAR).
Distinguished guests in attendance included 10th Mountain Division (LI), 2nd Brigade Command Team and Division Artillery leaders.
Guest speaker for the ceremony was retired 1st Sgt. Dan Gillotti, who served with 7th Battalion, 15th FAR, during the Vietnam War.
In his remarks, Gillotti reflected on those difficult days that tested the unit.
"To me, this is a somber occasion, certainly an opportunity to remember all those who went before us and (especially those who gave) their lives to the 15th Field Artillery Regiment," he said.
The 15th FAR's legacy was not lost on the Soldiers participating in the event.
"It was an honor to represent the linage of the officers, noncommissioned officers and Soldiers that served in 15th FAR," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Kolbinski, who led the color guard during the ceremony.
The event concluded with a battalion barbecue and static displays of current equipment used in the field artillery. The displays included AN/TPQ-36 and AN/TPQ-50 radars, M119A3 howitzers, and M777A2 howitzers. Also included in the display were the Pocket-Sized Forward Entry Device (PFED) devices used by the forward observers to identify targets.
The history of the "Fighting Fifteenth" began June, 1, 1917, at the fairgrounds in Syracuse. The newly constituted regiment was formed from the cadre of the 4th Field Artillery Regiment to fight in World War I. The 15th FAR participated in six major campaigns, firing 285,000 rounds -- more than any other FAR during the war. This is where the 15th FAR earned its motto "Allons!" -- meaning "Let's Go!"
World War II brought the 15th FAR to Central Europe, where Soldiers fired more than 151,000 rounds while fighting Nazi Germany. The regiment was called to participate in the Korean War in July 1950, firing 84,381 rounds in the 10 major campaigns the regiment was involved in. During this time, 1st Lt. Lee R. Hartell received the Medal of Honor while serving as a forward observer with the regiment.
The 15th FAR was drastically re-organized in 1957 as eight separate battalions. Each battalion individually re-assigned to support different divisions. The 8th Battalion, 15th FAR, was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for its support during the Cuban Missile Crisis from October 1962 to June 1963.
The 6th Battalion was attached to the 1st Infantry Division and sent to Vietnam from 1967 to 1969, firing more than 100,000 rounds and participating in nine major campaigns. Second Lt. Harold B. Durham received the Medal of Honor while serving as a forward observer with the battalion during this time.
In 1967, the 7th Battalion was assigned to the 41st Artillery and deployed to Vietnam in support of 1st Cavalry Regiment, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the 4th Infantry Division. Soldiers fired more than 360,000 rounds while fighting the North Vietnamese army and insurgent forces.
The 2nd Battalion is the last battalion of the 15th FAR to remain active, with 1st Battalion being the most recently inactivated battalion in July 2015. The 4th Battalion, 6th Battalion and 8th Battalion were all inactivated in the 1960s and 1970s. The 1990s saw the inactivation of 3rd Battalion, 5th Battalion and 7th Battalion.
The 2nd Battalion was moved to Fort Drum in 1996, where it was assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI). Since then, Soldiers of 2nd Battalion have supported combat operations in Bosnia, Iraq and most recently in Afghanistan. Currently, 2nd Battalion is commanded by Lt. Col. Jonathan Harvey and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Carlan.
"It is pretty awesome to come to a unit that has so much tradition and history," said Pfc. Davis Coby, a Soldier with A Battery, 2-15 FAR. "I think we are the best artillery regiment in the world."
For its distinguished service to the nation, the 15th Field Artillery Regiment has been awarded 35 campaign streamers, seven foreign awards, two Presidential citations, and three Meritorious Unit Commendations.
The 2nd Battalion, 15th FAR, will continue to "Climb to Glory," and it remains ready to answer the nation's call.