1st Battalion, 163rd Field Artillery
The 1st Battalion 163d Field Artillery was originally organized in the Indiana Army National Guard in Southwest Indiana as the 2nd Battalion 139th Field Artillery. The 2nd battalion was an element of the 38th Infantry Division and was federally recognized 12 April 1924. It was initially headquartered in Princeton Indiana. We were inducted into federal service on 17 January 1941 at home stations in anticipation of participating in World War II. While in active federal service, the battalion was reorganized and redesignated on 1 March 1942 at the 163d Field Artillery, an element of the 38th Infantry Division. After being sent to the pacific theatre, the unit found itself engaged in combat in the Philippines where it served honorably and won the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. It was on the Philippines where the 163d Field Artillery helped the 38th Infantry Division earn its nicknames, the" Avengers of Battaan" and the Cyclone Division. It is said that the Division went through the Philippines so thoroughly, that it looked as if a cyclone had devastated the Island. Re-establishing the "Cyclone" name of the 38th Infantry Division and the 163d Field Artillery had a very large part in earning that distinction.
At the conclusion of the war, the unit was inactivated on 1 November 1945 at Camp Anza, California. The deactivation, however was not the end of the 163d Field Artillery. Once again the unit was reorganized and on 12 May 1947 the unit headquarters was moved to Evansville, Indiana. The unit trained hard to be ready if their men were once again needed to defend the nation. On 1 February 1959 the battalion was once again reorganized and redesignated. This time it became the 1st Howitzer Battalion, 139th Artillery, an element of the 38th Infantry Division.
Change is constant in the military and so it was the 163d. On 1 March 1963, it was once again reorganized and redesignated. This time it became the 1st Battalion 139th Artillery. A temporary end came to the 163d on 1 December 1967. It was at this time that the battalion was broken up and its elements reorganized and redesignated as various element of the Indiana Army National Guard. On 1 March 1977, the 163d Field Artillery was resurrected. It was at this time the former elements were reorganized and redesignated as the 163d Field Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System, to consist of the 1st Battalion, an element of the 38th Infantry Division. The reorganization was unique in that when the battalion was formed, it became the only battalion in the state of Indiana to be totally housed in one Armory. It was headquartered in Evansville, Indiana and in recognition of the close proximity to the Ohio River was nicknamed the "River Rats".
On 1 September 1994 the 163d underwent the most recent and most challenging reorganization in its history. It was at that time, the battalion became the artillery for the 76th (Separate) Infantry Brigade. The nickname "river rats" although fondly remembered gave way to the "Nighthawks" of the 76th and because of the artillery distinction, was further known at the "Redhawks" of the "Nighthawk" brigade.
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