FORT SILL, Okla.-- The 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade changed designations to the 30th ADA in ceremonies at Fort Sill May 18. The reason for changing to the new unit designation came out of a surprising discovery made by Col. Bill Stacy, brigade commander.

"That's a funny story. My colors were getting worn and faded. So I contacted the Center for Military History to requisition a new set of colors, so that as we got in to parade season we'd have a nice set of colors. The Center for Military History official said there is no 6th ADA brigade colors," Stacy said. "I said that can't be right, because I'm the commander of the unit. Little did I know they were fabricated, way back when."

The center official educated Stacy by showing him letters from back in 1988 where they authorized the 6th brigade to take the numeric designation of six, but have no lineage or honors or linkages to any wartime units. Hence, no official colors were ever designed for the brigade. "So after that I said, if I need new colors, I have to be assigned to some lineage of some unit," Stacy said.

With that the decision was made to redesignate the 6th brigade to be the 30th ADA Brigade. The 30th had a rich military history going back to World War I. Originally organized July 24, 1917 in the regular Army at Fort Adams, R.I., as Headquarters, 1st Expeditionary Brigade, Coast Artillery Corps. it was redesignated as Headquarters, 1st Separate Brigade, Coast Artillery Corps Sept. 17, 1917. This unit was established to provide heavy artillery for troops fighting in France. It received its numerical designation as the 30th Artillery Brigade (Coast Artillery Corps - Railway) March 25, 1918 when the brigade took heavy railway guns to France where it earned campaign streamers for the Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensive. After the war the brigade returned to the states and was deactivated in 1921. Except for a short four-year period, the 30th Brigade would not be active again until 1960.

After reactivation in 1960 as the 30th Artillery Brigade (Air Defense) the brigade's history took some unusual turns as it became a missile defense unit, taking over the mission of the 97th Group, which had been manning the Nike-Hercules missiles in Japan. After adding several other battalions and with the acquisition of the Hawk air defense missiles, the 30th Brigade was brought up to four-battalion strength, protecting Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands from possible attack. The 30th Brigade continued to protect the interests of the United States and its allies until the air defense responsibilities were handed back to the Japanese government with the deactivation of the 30th ADA Brigade June 12, 1973.

So when it came time for the 6th ADA to be redesignated, the decision was easy - become the new 30th ADA. Stacy said he was very honored and humbled to be part of that history.

"I had an opportunity to meet with some alumni from the 30th who served back in the late '60s when they were manning the Nike-Herc(ules) weapons system in Japan, and it became very humbling to interact with them and realize the important mission that they had and what they did, and now we get to be a part of that in some small way. Now our motto is 'Always On Target!'" he said.

Stacy said the unit's new shoulder sleeve insignia shows three arrows that allude to missiles and the three main Ryukyu Islands in Japan. There is a band that circles the arrows like a quiver holding the arrows together. The arrows signify the number "3" and the circle signifies the "0" for the 30th ADA. The Unit Insignia is a vertical golden arrow that points up from a scroll that reads "Always On Target." A blue fleur-de-lis stands for service in France in World War I, while a red Torii Gate represents the island of Okinawa, where the brigade was active. The yellow and red colors also represent the Air Defense Artillery branch.

The 30th is primarily a training brigade with approximately 750 cadre and upward of 1,000 students. The brigade provides training for ADA Soldiers on all air defense artillery weapons systems, including the Patriot, Avenger and the Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar defense system, or C-RAM. The brigade will soon begin training Soldiers on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, THAAD. The primary purpose of the brigade is to provide functional training for AIT Soldiers, who then return to their units after going through the course, and for joint training with other branches and allied nations.

"This week has been a great week to rekindle old friendships and you couldn't ask for a better ending to the week than to remember the legacy we have, to unfurl the colors of the 30th Air Defense Artillery brigade and give the training brigade its warfighting lineage that is so well deserved," said Col. Daniel Karbler, ADA School commandant and chief of ADA.