1st Battalion - 103rd Armor Regiment
Major General Edward Martin, Commanding General, 28th Infantry Division, issued orders whereby personnel of the 53rd Field Artillery Brigade, HQ's 107th Field Artillery Regiment, 109th Field Artillery Regiment, 110th, 111th, and 112th Infantry Regiment, 103rd Engineer Regiment and the 103rd Medical Regiment were transferred for this purpose. On July 10th, 1941 the 28th Division Anti-Tank Battalion (provisional) was formed. On December 15th of that same year, orders were issued to reorganize the provisional 28th Division Anti-Tank Battalion into a permanent organization officially designed as the 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
During 1942 and 1943 the battalion received intensified combat training and departed for England on January 29, 1944 aboard the HMS Aquitania. The 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, on July 30, 1944 and was assigned to the 5th Armored Division, 15th Corps, 3rd Army, and was given the code name "Victory."
From August 1944 until the unconditional surrender of Germany on May 9, 1945, there were very few days when some member of the organization was not on a combat status in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, and Germany. The battalion participated in four main campaigns during World War II, being awarded numerous Unit Citations and Streamers.
Following World War II, the 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion was chosen to be one of the many military units which were deactivated, and it was not until May 2, 1949 that a tank battalion was to become organized as an organic component of the 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard. This newly organized tank battalion was to be organized in Johnstown and designated as the 628th Tank Battalion. Although Tank Destroyer Battalions were no longer an integral part of the military structure, the new unit was authorized to carry the colors of its predecessor, the former 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion. An Armory was constructed at the 500 block of Wood Street in Johnstown.
On September 5, 1950 the 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion was mustered into action for federal Service and moved to Camp Atterbury, Indiana. In July and August of 1951 the battalion participated in "Exercise Southern Pines" which was conducted in the vicinity of Fort Bragg, NC. During the month of October 1951, the battalion trained at Camp Irwin. California. On November 27, 1951 the battalion departed for Germany for services during the Korean War. The battalion was moved several times in Germany but completed most of its tour in Leipheim, Germany.
After the war, several more reorganizations would occur which would result in the formation of Headquarters Company and A, B, C, and D companies. Two more additional companies were to be added in 1959, which added the former Company C, 110th Infantry of Somerset and Battery C, 708th Missile Battalion of Everett. The unit was then reorganized into the 103rd Armor of the 2nd Medium Tank Battalion.
On August 20, 1961 the new James Franklin Hogg Armory was dedicated on Walters Avenue in Richland Township. This new armory would house Companies A, B, and D along with Headquarters Company. Additionally Company C was housed in Somerset and E in Everett.
After the events of September 11, 2001 the 1-103rd was once again called into Federal Service. During the summer of 2002, members of the 1-103rd Armor were activated as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and were deployed to parts of Germany and Italy as part of a force protection mission.
HHC 1st BN 103rd AR was once again alerted for duty in March 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. Designated Task Force Dragoon, HHC 1st BN 103 AR mobilized as the Headquarters for a Combined Arms Task Force made up of units from across the commonwealth and reported to FT Bliss, Texas in June 2004. The unit spent 3.5 months training individual and collective war fighting skills. Upon Completion of post mobilization training, the unit reported to Ft. Polk, LA for a Mobilization Readiness Exercise. In Nov 2004 HHC 1st BN 103rd AR moved to Kuwait for new equipment familiarization and final preparations for operations in Iraq. The unit spent approximately 3 weeks in Kuwait before crossing the BERM into Iraq. While in Iraq TF Dragoon conducted Full Spectrum Operations including counter insurgency operations, stability operations, and security operations consisting of cordon and searches, raids, critical infrastructure security, and convoy security operations. HHC 1st BN 103rd AR returned to the United States in November 2005 after approximately a year in Combat. HHC 1-103 Armor along with all elements of Task Force Dragoon were nominated for the Meritorious Unit Citation for their exemplary service in Iraq.
As of June 2006, the 1st Battalion of the 1-103rd Armor consisted of Headquarters and Headquarters Company located at 565 Walters Avenue in Richland Township. Its line Companies consisted of A Company in Ligonier, B Company in Connellsville and C Company in Friedens.
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