1-21 FA Unit History

The 21st Field Artillery was constituted in the Regular Army on 1 July 1916 and organized at Camp Wilson, Texas on 1 June 1917. It was assigned to the 5th Division in 1917 and saw action in France during World War I, participating in the St. Mihiel and Lorraine (1918) Campaigns.

Following World War I, the 21st Field Artillery was retired until 6 October 1939 when it was reactivated as part of the 5th Division. The 21st Field Artillery fought in the World War II campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe.

The heroic tradition which started in World War II continued in Vietnam as the newly formed 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery began its association with the 1st Cavalry Division. During the Vietnam conflict, the 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery participated in 15 different campaigns including the Tet Counteroffensive and Counteroffensives I-VII, earning the Presidential Unit Citation for action in Pleiku Province, the Valorous Unit Award for the Fish Hook Campaign, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for operations in Vietnam (1967). Additionally, Alpha and Bravo Batteries were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for action in Binh Thaun Province.

The 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery was inactivated 2 July 1986, except for Alpha Battery, which continued to serve in the 1st Cavalry Division as Alpha Battery, 21st Field Artillery. In August 1990, the 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for deployment to Southwest Asia as part of the joint forces participating in Operation Desert Shield. 1st Cavalry Division MLRS fires from Alpha Battery, 21st Field Artillery illuminated the night skies and crippled Iraqi targets deep within enemy territory.

Upon activation on 16 September 1997, with the addition of Bravo (MLRS) and Charlie (Target Acquisition) Batteries, the 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery became the first Divisional MLRS Command and Attack Battalion in the U.S. Army. In September 1998, Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina to provide 24-hour radar support to Task Force Eagle.

On 28 July 2000, 68th Chemical Company, comprised of the Division’s smoke, reconnaissance, and decontamination forces, became part of the battalion. The 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery completed the Army’s first deployment of a Divisional Command and Attack battalion, Operation Desert Strike 01-07, an external evaluation at Fort Bliss, New Mexico, in April 2001. In support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, the 68th Chemical Company and the 1-227 FSE out of HHS/1-21, deployed from February 2003 through June 2003. The FSE planned and executed SEAD missions in support of APACHE DEEP ATTACKS. 68th Chemical Company’s Smoke Platoon, while attached to 3rd Infantry Division, led the way as they crossed the border into Iraq and were among the first U.S. Soldiers to enter Baghdad.

In March 2004, Task Force 1-21 deployed to Iraq for combat operations under the task organization of the 5th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Task Force Rocket was responsible for a portion of the Al-Rasheed district in southern Baghdad from March 2004 – March 2005. During that time the task force conducted daily patrols, ambushes, raids, convoy escorts, target acquisition, and counter-battery cannon fires. The battalion contributed greatly to the first ever free elections held in Iraq in January 2005. Following redeployment, Charlie Battery, 1-21 FA and 68th Chemical Company were inactivated in July 2005.

On 19 August 2005, the 1st Battalion 21st Field Artillery folded its flag under DIVARTY, 1st Cavalry Division and reflagged as part of the newly formed Fires Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. The 1st Battalion 21st Field Artillery made its transition as part of the Army’s new modular transformation concept. Falling under the newly formed Fires Brigade model, in 2006 the battalion fielded and manned the 575th Forward Support Company and Charlie (MLRS) Battery, 1-21 FA. On 16 April 2007, the Fires Brigade, formerly 4th Infantry Division’s DIVARTY, reflagged as the 41st Fires Brigade, where the 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery remains to date.

In April 2008, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery, deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 08-10. During their most recent deployment, the battalion conducted an In-Lieu of Mission, responsible for conducting Detainee Operations, and Security Operations at Camp Bucca, Iraq. Charlie Battery, 1-21 FA received a change of mission in July 2008, and conducted convoy security operations in support of International Police Advisors and Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Basra and Al Kut, Iraq. The 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas in July 2009.

The 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery’s current mission is to be ready to deploy anywhere in the world to provide rocket and missile fires in support of the maneuver Commander