Field Artillery Branch (United States)
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Field Artillery branch insignia, featuring two crossed field guns
|Active||Created 17 November 1775|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Home station||Fort Sill, Oklahoma, United States|
|Nickname(s)||King of Battle|
God of War
|Branch colors||Scarlet and Brass|
The U.S. Army Field Artillery branch traces its origins to 17 November 1775 when the Continental Congress, unanimously elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery". The regiment formally entered service on 1 January 1776. During the 19th Century a total of seven Artillery regiments were formed which contained a mixture of "heavy" artillery companies and "light" artillery batteries. The light artillery batteries took the role of field artillery although they did not use that designation. The seven artillery regiments were designated as regiments of artillery and were not distinguished as being either "coast" or "field" artillery as was the practice in the 20th Century.
In the reorganization of the Army by the Act of February 2, 1901, the seven Artillery regiments were reorganized as the Artillery Corps. The Corps was split into 195 battery-sized units, called companies at the time, of Field Artillery and Coast Artillery. In 1907 the Artillery Corps was reorganized into the Field Artillery and the Coast Artillery Corps. Although presently Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery are separate branches, both inherit the traditions of the Artillery branch.
In 1907, the Field Artillery companies of the Artillery Corps were organized into six Field Artillery regiments. In 1916, as the United States was preparing for its eventual entry into World War I, these six regiments were supplemented by 15 more Field Artillery regiments. During World War I numerous other Field Artillery Regiments were organized in the National Guard and National Army, which were mobilized to supplement the Regular Army.
In 1924 the Army organized the Coast Artillery Corps into regiments. The first seven regiments retained the lineage of the seven Artillery regiments which existed in the 19th Century. The Coast Artillery Corps was disbanded in 1950 and its units were consolidated with the Field Artillery in the Artillery branch. In 1968 the Artillery branch divided into Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery branches with the newly formed 1st through 7th Air Defense Artillery regiments retaining the lineage of the seven 19th Century artillery regiments.
Although the oldest Artillery regiments in the Army are in the Air Defense Artillery branch, this is not necessarily the case individual units below the regimental level. For example, the 1st Battalion of the 5th Field Artillery traces its lineage to the Alexander Hamilton Battery , formed in 1776, which is the oldest Artillery unit in the active United States Army and is the only Regular Army unit which can trace its lineage to the American Revolution.
The oldest Field Artillery unit in the U.S. Army is 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery, which traces it origins to December 1636. Originally an Infantry unit, it was reorganized as an Artillery unit in 1916.
The mission of the Field Artillery is to destroy, defeat, or disrupt the enemy with integrated fires to enable maneuver commanders to dominate in unified land operations.
The Field Artillery is one of the Army's combat arms, traditionally one of the three major branches (with Infantry and Armor). It refers to those units that use artillery weapons systems to deliver surface-to-surface long range indirect fire. Indirect fire means that the projectile does not follow the line of sight to the target. Mortars are not field artillery weapons; they are organic to infantry units and are manned by infantry personnel (US Army MOS 11C or USMC 0341).
The term field artillery is to distinguish from the Air Defense Artillery, and historically, from the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps (or Coastal Defense Artillery), a branch which existed from 1901–1950. In 1950, the two branches were unified and called simply Artillery, until Air Defense Artillery was made into a separate branch in 1968. The insignia of the Field Artillery branch is a pair of crossed field guns (19th-century-style cannon) in gold, and dates back to 1834.
Field artillery is called the "King of Battle". Conflicts in the 20th century saw artillery become exponentially more effective as indirect fire methods were introduced immediately prior to World War I. During World War I and World War II, field artillery was the single highest casualty-producing weapons system on any battlefield.
Soldiers from artillery units have often been used as infantry during both the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. While field artillery units have often performed admirably as infantry and accomplishing infantry missions, such use has led to atrophy of essential field artillery specific skills and tasks.
Members of the Field Artillery are referred to as "redlegs" because during the Mexican American War, both Ringgold's Battery and Duncan's Battery were issued uniforms distinguished by scarlet stripes down the legs of their uniform pants, a practice continued through the Civil War and on dress uniforms even after WWI.
Scarlet was established as the Artillery Branch color along with crossed cannon branch insignia in the Regulations of 1833. Branch colors are found on the shoulder straps of officers wearing the blue dress uniform and on branch of service scarves authorized for wear with a variety of uniforms. 
Chief of Field Artillery
From 1920 to 1942, the Field Artillery corps was led by a branch chief who held the rank of major general. This was in keeping with the Army's other major branches, including infantry, cavalry, and coast artillery. Each chief was responsible for planning and overseeing execution of training, equipping, and manning within his branch. From 1903 to 1908, one Chief of Artillery oversaw both field artillery and coast artillery. After 1908, one general served as Chief of Coast Artillery. After 1920, the Chief of Coast Artillery was joined by the Chief of Field Artillery. The branch chief positions were eliminated in 1942, and their functions consolidated under the commander of the Army Ground Forces as a way to end inter-branch rivalries and enable synchronized and coordinated activities as part of World War II's combined arms doctrine.
The Chiefs of Artillery included:
- Brigadier General Wallace F. Randolph, 1903-1904
- Brigadier General John P. Story, 1904-1905
- Brigadier General Samuel M. Mills, 1905-1906
- Brigadier General Arthur Murray, 1906-1908 (became the first Chief of Coast Artillery)
The Chiefs of Field Artillery were:
- Major General William J. Snow, 1920-1927
- Major General Fred T. Austin, 1927-1930
- Major General Harry G. Bishop, 1930-1934
- Major General Upton Birnie Jr., 1934-1938
- Major General Robert M. Danford, 1938-1942
The professional journal of the Field Artillery is published at Fort Sill. Known as the Field Artillery Journal in 1911, it went through many name changes through Field Artillery in 1987. The journal merged with Air Defense Artillery in 2007 to become Fires.
Current weapon systems
The U.S. Army employs five types of field artillery weapon systems:
- M119A3 105mm light towed howitzer
- M777A2 155mm medium towed howitzer
- M109A7 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzer
- M142 High Mobility Rocket Artillery System (HIMARS), a wheeled launcher capable of firing 270mm rockets or Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles
- M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), a self-propelled launcher capable of firing 270mm rockets or Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles.
- project of an AFC Cross-functional team, a
- requirements definition process for new capabilities, such as targeting the new thousand-mile missiles, “streamlining the sensor-shooter link at every echelon”—Col (Promotable) John Rafferty, for a
- Strategic Long Range Cannon (SLRC), for a hypersonic projectile, a
- target capability for the Field Artillery (its howitzers) and Air Defense Artillery (a 500 km missile), and a
- test case for the acquisition process of the U.S. Army.
In 1789 after the Revolution there was only one battalion of four companies of artillery. In 1794 a "Corps of Artillerists and Engineers" was organized, which included the four companies of artillery then in service and had sixteen companies in four battalions. In 1802 there was a reduction of the army. The Artillery were separated from the Engineers and the former formed into one regiment of 20 companies. In 1808 a regiment of ten companies called the "Regiment of Light Artillery" was formed. In 1812 two more regiments were added.
In 1821 four regiments were created from existing units on the following lines.
- 1st Regiment of Artillery, 2 March 1821
- K- added 1832
- L- added 1847
- M- added 1847
- N- added 1899
- O- added 1899
- 2nd Regiment of Artillery, 2 March 1821
- 3rd Regiment of Artillery, 2 March 1821
- 4th Regiment of Artillery, 2 March 1821
- 5th Regiment of Artillery, 4 May 1861
- 6th Regiment of Artillery, 8 March 1898
- 7th Regiment of Artillery, 8 March 1898
- (98 Batteries)
In 1901 the regimental organization of the US Army artillery was abolished, more companies were added, and given numerical designations.
- 126 companies of heavy (coast) artillery
- 30 companies of light (field) artillery
- 1st Field Artillery Regiment
- With 2 battalions each with 3 batteries
- 2nd Field Artillery Regiment
- 3rd Field Artillery Regiment
- 4th Field Artillery Regiment
- 5th Field Artillery Regiment
- 6th Field Artillery Regiment
In 1916 Congress enacted the National Defense Act and 15 more regiments were authorized.
- 7th Field Artillery Regiment
- 8th Field Artillery Regiment
- 9th Field Artillery Regiment
- 10th Field Artillery Regiment
- 11th Field Artillery Regiment
- 12th Field Artillery Regiment
- 13th Field Artillery Regiment
- 14th Field Artillery Regiment
- 15th Field Artillery Regiment
- 16th Field Artillery Regiment
- 17th Field Artillery Regiment
- 18th Field Artillery Regiment
- 19th Field Artillery Regiment
- 20th Field Artillery Regiment
- 21st Field Artillery Regiment
In 1917, following the American entry into World War I, the numbers from 1 through 100 were reserved for the Regular Army, from 101 through 300 for the National Guard, and 301 and above for the National Army. Under this system the 1st through 21st and 76th through 83d were organized in the Regular Army; the 101st through 151st, in the National Guard; and, the 25th through 75th, 84th and 85th, and the 301st through 351st in the National Army. Field Artillery Brigades, numbered 1st through 24th, 51st through 67th, and 151st through 172d, were also organized, with each brigade typically commanding three regiments; each division had one of these artillery brigades.
The Coast Artillery Corps constantly reorganized the numbered companies until 1924, but during World War I created 61 artillery regiments from the numbered companies, for service (or potential service) with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF); the 30th through 45th Artillery Brigades were also created to command groups of these regiments. These regiments operated almost all US-manned heavy and railway artillery on the Western Front, and were designated, for example, 51st Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps (CAC)). Most of these were disbanded immediately after the war. The Coast Artillery also acquired the antiaircraft mission during the war, which was formalized a few years later. In 1924 the Coast Artillery Corps adopted a regimental system, and numbered companies were returned to letter designations. (In order to promote esprit-de-corps, the first 7 regiments were linked to the original 7 regiments of artillery). During 1943 most antiaircraft units lost their Coast Artillery designations, and the regiments were broken up into battalions. However, the antiaircraft branch remained nominally part of the Coast Artillery Corps. In late 1944 the Coast Artillery harbor defense regiments were inactivated or reorganized as battalions, which themselves were mostly disbanded in April 1945, with personnel transferred to the local Harbor Defense Commands. 977 Coast Artillery and antiaircraft battalions were created before the branch's demise in 1950.
In 1943 an Army-wide (except infantry) reorganization created numerous serially numbered battalions, and most regiments were broken up into battalions. Also during World War II new designations were applied to some units, the "Armored Field Artillery Battalion" for self-propelled units and the "Parachute (or Glider) Field Artillery Battalion" for airborne units. A number of "Field Artillery Groups" were also created during the war.
The Army Anti-Aircraft Command ARAACOM was created July 1950, and in 1957, ARAACOM was renamed to US Army Air Defense Command (USARADCOM). A new system, the U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System, or CARS, was adopted in 1957 to replace the old regimental system. CARS used the Army's traditional regiments as parent organizations for historical purposes, but the primary building blocks are divisions, and brigades became battalions. Each battalion carries an association with a parent regiment, even though the regimental organization no longer exists. In some brigades several numbered battalions carrying the same regimental association may still serve together, and tend to consider themselves part of the traditional regiment when in fact they are independent battalions serving a brigade, rather than a regimental, headquarters. From circa 1959 through 1971 antiaircraft units and field artillery units were combined with common parent regiments for lineage purposes, for example the "1st Artillery".
In 1968 the Air Defense Artillery Branch (United States Army) was split from the artillery, with the Regular Army air defense and field artillery regiments separating on 1 September 1971.
The CARS was replaced by the U.S. Army Regimental System (USARS) in 1981. US Artillery Structure 1989. On 1 October 2005, the word "regiment" was formally appended to the name of all active and inactive CARS and USARS regiments. So, for example, the 1st Cavalry officially became titled the 1st Cavalry Regiment.
Area Of Concentration (AOC) and Military Occupational Specialties (MOS)
The Field Artillery consists of several AOC/MOS, including: one commissioned officer AOC, and one warrant officer and six enlisted MOS, which all work together to form the Field Artillery team.
AOC 13A: Field Artillery Officer
MOS 131A: Field Artillery Warrant Officer
MOS 13B: Cannon Crew Member
Cannon Crewmember General Job Duties
- Wire and radio communications
- Operate towed and self-propelled howitzers, ammunition trucks and other vehicles
- Limited Infantry operations
Cannon Crewmember Major Duties by Skill Level
Skill Level I
- Integral member of a crew that operates high technology cannon artillery weapon systems.
- Loads and fires howitzers.
- Sets fuse and charge on a variety of munitions, including high explosive artillery rounds, laser guided projectiles, DPICM, and rocket assisted projectiles.
- Uses computer generated fire direction data to set elevation of cannon tube for loading and firing.
- Employs rifles, machine guns, and grenade and rocket launchers in offensive and defensive operations.
- Drives and operates heavy and light wheeled trucks and tracked vehicles.
- Transports and manages artillery ammunition.
- Participates in reconnaissance operations to include security operations and position preparation.
- Operates in reduced visibility environments with infrared and starlight enhancing night vision devices and other equipment.
- Coordinates movement into position.
- Camouflages position area.
- Communicates using voice and digital wire and radio equipment.
- Uses critical combat survival skills to operate in a hostile environment.
- Maintains operational readiness of vehicles and equipment.
Skill Level 2
- Supervises handling, transportation, accountability, and distribution of ammunition.
- Assists section chief in supervision of howitzer operations, maintenance, and training. Lays weapon for direction, conducts bore sighting, and basic periodic tests.
- Supervises the operation, loading, and maintenance of the Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle.
Skill Level 3
- Directs and supervises movement emplacement of the howitzer section.
- Supervises and directs the construction, camouflage, and defense of the section position. Trains, instructs, and supervises section personnel in cannon gunnery procedures and firing.
- Responsible for the verification of safe firing data.
- Supervises the handling, storage, accountability, and distribution of ammunition.
- Supervises the performance of operator, crew, and organizational maintenance on section vehicles.
Skill Level 4
- Assists platoon leader in the planning, preparation, and execution of collective training activities of the platoon.
- Conducts battery/platoon reconnaissance, selection, occupation, and defense of position areas.
- Supervises firing battery personnel engaged in firing battery operations, maintenance, and training.
- Lays the unit for direction of fire and verifies safe operations before and during firing. Supervises battalion ammunition trains operations.
- Reviews, consolidates, and prepares technical, personnel, and administrative reports covering firing battery element activities.
Qualifications for initial award of MOS 13B, Cannon Crewmember:
- PULHES: 222221
- Physical Demands Rating: very heavy
- Required ASVAB Score: FA: 93
- Enlistment Bonus: None
- Security Clearance: None
- U.S. Citizenship: Not Required
- AIT Length / Location: 5 weeks, 4 days at Ft Sill, Oklahoma
- (1) P5-Master Fitness Trainer.
- (2) U6-Field Artillery Weapons Maintenance.
- (3) 2S-Battle Staff Operations (skill level 3 and above).
- (4) 4A-Reclassification Training.
MOS 13F: Fire Support Specialist
The main responsibilities of a Fire Support Specialist or Fire Support Man is identifying the target location/description, and relaying that information to the Fire Direction Control Center or FDC for target processing. The Fire Support Specialist must be an expert in land navigation, concealment, radio operations, as well as foreign target identification. The Fire Support Man must be knowledgeable in employment and munitions used by all types of self-propelled artillery, mortar systems, as well as HIMARS or High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.
Additional Responsibilities include:
- Use of Naval Gunfire for Fire Support where applicable. (This is mainly used in the United States Marine Corps amphibious operations)
- Use of air assets that are available to include rotary and fixed wing aircraft. This knowledge would include ranges, capabilities and munitions carried by U.S. Forces.
MOS 13J: Fire Direction Control Specialist
The Fire Control Specialist employs automated computer-based systems used in all U.S. Army echelons across multiple weapon systems and formations in order to facilitate the delivery and integration of joint fires in support of combat operations. The Fire Control Specialist integrates and processes tactical battlefield information from multiple users and sensors through a network of Army and JOINT automated battle command systems. The Fire Control Specialist employs automated systems in order to process technical firing solutions, apply gunnery fundamentals critical to the 5 Requirements for Accurate Fires, process precision tactical fire missions, control tactical fires, conduct Joint sensor management, integrate fire support coordination measures, integrate maneuver control measures, manage and process meteorological data and troubleshoot technical firing solutions. The Fire Control Specialist performs operator and unit level maintenance on all automated tools and section equipment.
MOS 13M: Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember
MOS 13R: Field Artillery Radar Operator
MOS 13Z: Field Artillery Senior Sergeant
Regardless of previous MOS, all field artillery NCOs are merged in MOS 13Z, Field Artillery Senior Sergeant, upon promotion to Master Sergeant, paygrade E8. 13Z NCOs serve as field artillery battery first sergeants, primary staff (S2 and S3) NCOs in field artillery battalions, field artillery brigades, and division artilleries, and as fire support staff section NCOs at brigade combat teams and higher echelons.
- Matt Bevin, 62nd Governor of Kentucky
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