17th Fires Brigade
17th Field Artillery Brigade
The mission of the 17th Fires Brigade, "Thunderbolt," is to train and prepare for combat; on order deploy to any area of operations to plan, synchronize, and execute combined, and joint fires and effects; integrate attached ground and air maneuver forces; and be prepared to function as a maneuver headquarters in support of full spectrum operations.
The 17th Fires Brigade was first constituted on 31 July 1918 in the Regular Army as Headquarters, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, and assigned to the 17th "Thunderbolt" Division. It was organized on 19 August 1918 at Camp Bowie, Texas. The unit was demobilized after World War I, on 8 February 1919, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
The unit was reconstituted on 12 October 1936 in the Regular Army. It was concurrently consolidated with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Field Artillery Brigade (first constituted on 1 October 1933 in the Regular Army), and the consolidated unit was designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Field Artillery Brigade.
The Brigade was reactivated on 19 January 1943 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. It was reorganized and redesignated on 13 March 1944 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, VII Corps Artillery. During World War II the unit earned 5 battle streamers for its participation in the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe campaigns. Following World War II, the unit was inactivated on 15 November 1945 at Fort Ord, California.
The unit was reactivated on 22 January 1951 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, but subsequently moved to the Federal Republic of Germany. It served there until being inactivated on 21 June 1975. While inactive, the unit was redesignated on 21 March 1978 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Field Artillery Brigade and the Brigade was activated on 21 September 1978 in Germany.
On 15 January 1992, the Thunderbolt Brigade colors were transferred from Augsburg, Germany to Fort Sill, Oklahoma as an enhanced CONUS Contingency Capability Unit, and the unit was assigned to III Corps Artillery. By 2000, the 17th Field Artillery Brigade consisted of its Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, the 5th Battalion (MLRS), 3rd Field Artillery Regiment; 1st Battalion (MLRS), 12th Field Artillery Regiment; and the 3rd Battalion (Paladin), 18th Field Artillery Regiment.
The Thunderbolt Brigade began the year 2000 by deploying 5-3rd Field Artillery's 0&1 section to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin California and welcoming back B/5-3rd Field Artillery (Task Force Comanche Thunder) from Kuwait. The Brigade headquarters provided command and control on many exercises, including a brigade FTX, culminating with an EXEVAL for 3-18th Field Artillery in June 2000. In September 2000, key leaders deployed to Korea for a combined counterfire exercise with the 2nd Infantry Division Artillery and ROK Corps Artillery.
Elements of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade deployed to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a part of V Corps Artillery. During the summer of 2003, the Brigade was involved in the construction and repairing of Iraqi schools and other facilities, the movement of various types of ammunition throughout the Sunni-Triangle, and Relay Point Missions. Upon return from Iraq, the Brigade inactivated 3-18th Field Artillery in support of the Army modularity.
On 5 September 2005, elements of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07 as Task Force Thunderbolt. While deployed, Task Force Thunderbolt conducted Garrison Command Operations for the Victory Base Complex to include Base Operations and Base Defense. Simultaneously, 1-12th Field Artillery and 5-3rd Field Artillery deployed 3 truck companies with their base of operations in Kuwait. In this remarkable accomplishment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade elements collectively covered the entire Iraqi footprint.
From 23 August until 18 November 2005, every member of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade redeployed back to Fort Sill, Oklahoma in preparation to inactivate 1st Battalion, 12th Regiment and move the Brigade to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
As part of the modular transformation, the Brigade was reorganized and redesignated on 17 July 2007 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Fires Brigade. By 2010, the Brigade consisted of its Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5th Battalion (MLRS), 3rd Field Artillery Regiment; 1st Battalion (MLRS), 94th Field Artillery Regiment; 1st Battalion (Air Assault), 377th Field Artillery Regiment; the 308th Brigade Support Battalion, the 256th Signal Company, and F Battery (Target Acquisition), 26th Field Artillery Regiment.
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