Military


3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment
"Rolling Thunder"

The mission of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, "Rolling Thunder," is to, on order, deploy anywhere in the world, synchronize and provide fires in support of sustained, decisive full spectrum operations to achieve assigned objectives. 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery was to maintain warfighting readiness and on order, deploy by land, sea, or air to conduct combat operations by coordinating fire support that provides safe, timely, and lethal fires in support of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

The 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment was first constituted on 1 July, 1916, in the Regular Army as Battery C, 16th Field Artillery. The unit was organized on 21 May 1917 at Camp Robinson, Wisconsin. On 19 November 1917, the 16th Field Artillery as a whole was assigned to the 4th Division. The unit participated in numerous campaigns during World War 1, including Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-argonne, and Champagne 1918.

The unit was inactivated on 21 September 1921 at Camp Lewis, Washington. The 16th Field Artillery was relieved on 24 March, 1923 from assignment to the 4th Division and assigned to the 8th Division (later redesignated as the 8th Infantry Division).

On 13 January, 1941, the unit was reorganized and redesignated as Battery C, 16th Field Artillery Battalion. In June 1942, the Battalion was again reorganized and redesignated as Battery C, 16th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, an element of the 9th Armored Division. During World War II, the 16th Field Artillery Battalion demonstrated its abilities at Rhineland, Ardennes-alsace and Central Europe. The 16th Armored Field Artillery Battalion was inactivated on 10 November, 1950, at Fort Hood, Texas.

On 1 July, 1957, the Battalion was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery, with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated. Going on to served in Vietnam, 3-16th Field Artillery was credited with participation in the Counteroffensive Phase I, Tet Counteroffensive, Tet 69 Couteroffensive, and the Sanctuary Counteroffensive. The Battalion's decorations included the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Republic of Vietnam Cross-of Gallantry with Palm. Additionally, one of its batteries was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for participation in the Quang Tin Province.

On 15 December 1995 the battalion was activated as the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery at Fort Hood, Texas and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division.

The Ivy Leaf in the Battalion's insignia represented its long standing relationship with the 4th Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery continued this relationship as the command and control headquarters for Task Force Thunder, an element of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular brigade combat team) deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Battalion remained prepared to deploy anywhere in the world to synchronize and provide fires in support of sustained, decisive full spectrum operations to achieve assigned objectives.

Upon arriving at the port in Kuwait, the soldiers of the Rolling Thunder Battalion went in to action and downloaded all of its equipment in a record manner. Once downloaded, the equipment was moved to the staging area for forward movement to Camp Udairi, 22 kilometers south of the Iraqi border. While at Udairi, the Battalion prepared for its follow-on mission. The Battalion conducted live fire weapons calibration and verified all small arms and crew-served weapons systems.

The first element of the Rolling Thunder Battalion to cross the Kuwait-Iraq border was B Battery on 27 April 2003. The remaining elements of the Battalion crossed the border of Kuwait and Iraq on 4 May 2003 at approximately 0520 hours. The Battalion's wheel convoy was provided military police escort for added security. The Battalion was en-route to Assembly Area (AA) Horse just south of Baghdad to link up with its tracked vehicles. Once the Battalion linked up with it's equipment the call forward order was received and the Battalion continued its march to its base position at the Baqubah airfield in northern Iraq. Here the Battalion was to join the lead elements of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Upon arrival, the soldiers immediately began to establish the base camp, nicknamed "Thunder Land."

B Battery was tasked to the 4th Infantry Division Artillery (DIVARTY) Headquarters as part of Task Force Gunner. Their mission was to assist in securing the Taji Airfield. A and C batteries were further task organized to Task Force 2-8th Infantry (also known as Task Force Talon) and Task Force 3-67th Armor (also known as Task Force Hounds of Hell) respectively. A Battery was given the mission to secure a weapons and munitions site north of the Tigris River Dam. A Battery came under hostile fire nightly. The soldiers of C Battery were given the mission to provide direct artillery support to 3-67th Armor as it sought to secure the main Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) compound 75 kilometers north of Baqubah. Additionally Battery C manned a checkpoint north of the compound in an effort to disarm freedom fighters and secure the area around the MEK compound. Headquarters and Service Battery remained at Thunder Land at the Baqubah airfield to provide logistical and administrative support to the batteries. The locations of the batteries spread the Battalion over a 100 kilometer radius.

On 25 May 2003, C Battery was released from its direct support role with Task Force 3-67th Armor and became the primary element of Task Force Thunder. The mission of the task force was to secure and disarm the town of Balad 60 km northwest of Baqubah. Immediately the soldiers of Task Force Thunder established and manned checkpoints to confiscate weapons.

On 31 May 2003 checkpoint 4, manned by C Battery, came under hostile enemy fire from small arms and RPGs. Injuries were minor and the soldiers fought off the attackers. On 2 June 2003, at approximately 1147 hours, the soldiers of checkpoint 1 came under attack from hostile forces and the soldiers again fought valiantly and fought off their attackers. This time the injuries were much more severe and resulted in the first casualty for the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and 3-16th Field Artillery. Sergeant Anatancio Haro of 3rd Howitzer Section, C Battery was fatally wounded and died while engaging the attackers. The Battalion mourned the loss of this fine NCO and conducted a memorial service in his honor on 4 June 2003.

On 15 June 2003, C Battery and Task Force Thunder received a change of mission and were relieved by 3-7th Cavalry, an element of the 3rd Infantry Division. C Battery and Task Force Thunder were ordered to reorganize and received a new mission with duty in the cities Ar Rashidiyah, Bani Sad, and Abd Al Rahman An Nurachi.

On 1 August 2004, the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was ordered to restructure and reorganize under the US Army's modular force structure. This would set the division to become the Army's first fully digitized modular division. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team would lead the conversion and became the Army's first modular Brigade Combat Team, then referred to as a "Unit of Action." Under the restructure the Thunder Battalion reorganized and became the first modular "Fires Battalion." As part of the modular transformation, assets previously held at division level, but habitually assigned a division's brigades during operations were made organic to those brigades. This meant the Battalion would no longer be assigned to the Division Artillery, but would fall under the total control of the reorganized and redesignated 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. On 1 January 2005, the Thunder Battalion completed its conversion with the activation of an attached support company, G Company, 204th Support Battalion.

As of 1 January 2006, the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, an element of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was deployed to Forward Operating Base Duke, located in Najaf, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit, along with the rest of the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, was tasked with training Iraqi Security Forces so that they could conduct operations independantly of coalition troops.

Following its return from Iraq in late 2006, the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery moved from Fort Hood, Texas to Fort Carson, Colorado along with the rest of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. This was as part of larger realignment of US Army units.




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