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1-203 ADA Battalion

In 1995, the Alabama Army National Guard made history when the 1st Battalion, 203rd Air Defense Artillery was added to its structure. It marked the first Patriot or "Scud Buster" unit that had ever been allocated to the National Guard or Army Reserve. The battalion's mission is to provide high to medium altitude air defense. When the battalion was organized in Alabama, the batteries were placed in towns in North Alabama to take advantage of the expertise and facilities at Redstone Arsenal.

In mid-October 1999 the Patriot battalion of the Alabama Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Patriot Project Office, Program Executive Office for Air and Missile Defense, had three successful and essential live Patriot missile firings at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Three Patriot missiles were fired as part of this missile defense test. The first missile fired was a PAC-1 missile, which successfully intercepted the MQM-107 target. The second missile fired, an upgraded version of the PAC-1-the PAC-2-missile, successfully intercepted the MQM-107 drone. The last missile fired was another PAC-1. The objective of this last test was not to hit the MQM-107, but it provided the Army with valuable field surveillance data and allowed the Guard soldiers to gain valuable field experience training with a live missile. This was the Alabama Army National Guard's first opportunity to conduct a live fire exercise.

The deployment of Task Force Desert Lion to Southwest Asia in January 2001 marked the first time a National Guard air defense artillery unit has gone to the Persian Gulf with an ADA rotation. A Patriot battery from the Alabama National Guard deployed with Fort Bliss soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery, 35th ADA Brigade. Individual Guard air defenders had deployed to the Persian Gulf before and a number have gone as part of the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command, but never has an entire Guard unit deployed, officials said. They explained that Battery B (Patriot), 1st Battalion, 203rd ADA, Alabama Army National Guard, is the first to join a rotation to Southwest Asia.

In January 2001 at Eskan Village, the antiballistic missile defense mission in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait changed hands from one PATRIOT missile task force to another. Task Force 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment relieved Task Force 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, both home stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. Lt. Col. John Rossi, Commander of TF 2-1 ADA unfurled the unit colors marking the assumption of the mission. TF 1-1 ADA Commander Lt. Col. Kelvin Bright cased his unit's colors marking the beginning of his unit's trip home. TF 2-1 ADA became a subordinate unit to U.S. Army Forces Central Command - Saudi Arabia (ARCENT-SA). Incoming TF 2-1 ADA was the first PATRIOT missile unit to deploy with elements of its National Guard counterparts. Battery B (PATRIOT), 1st Battalion, 203rd ADA Regiment, Alabama Army National Guard, joined TF 2-1 ADA in this historic rotation. The Army asked the Alabama Army National Guard to provide the first full battery to Southern Watch in Southwest Asia, with the first unit scheduled to deploy in 2001. The unit -- currently the only deployable Patriot unit in the National Guard -- provided tactical ballistic missile defense to Central Command while in Southwest Asia.

The 74 members of an Alabama Army National Guard unit spent more than five months on a peacekeeping mission in Saudi Arabia. The soldiers of the B Battery of the 1st Battalion, 203rd Air Defense Artillery, were involved in Task Force Desert Lion, part of the peacekeeping efforts in place since the end of the Gulf War. B Battery is made up of soldiers from individual batteries of the battalion in Athens, Huntsville, Scottsboro, Bridgeport and Hartselle. They left home on 02 Janueary 2001 for training in Fort Bliss, Texas, before continuing their journey to Saudi Arabia. Their deployment marked the first time a National Guard unit had gone to the Persian Gulf area on an Air Defense Artillery rotation.

In September 2001 the House Appropriations Committee approved a military construction bill that incorporates a number of projects to be located at Redstone Arsenal, including a Unit Training Equipment Site for the Alabama Army National Guard. Three projects included in the bill would be constructed at Redstone Arsenal. The projects include $2.7 million for a three-bay ammunition surveillance facility, $7.2 million for a dining facility that would serve up to 800 personnel and $7.5 million for a Unit Training Equipment Site for 1st 203rd Air Defense Artillery (PATRIOT) Missile Battalion. The new facility, which would be located on the Alabama Army National Guard Training Site at Redstone Arsenal, would provide critical organizational and direct support maintenance for the 1st 203rd Air Defense Artillery (PATRIOT) Missile Battalion equipment and vehicles supported by this maintenance shop. Maintenance personnel had to make daily trips from the existing Unit Training Equipment Site Maintenance Shop to the Redstone Arsenal Training Site, which is 30 miles away, to repair and maintain equipment.

Alotted 29 April 1959 to the Alabama Army National Guard as the 203rd Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System, to consist of the 1st Howitzer Battalion, an element of the 31st Infantry Division; the 2nd Howitzer Battalion; and the 3rd and 4th Automatic Weapons Battalions.

Elements organized and Federally recognized 2 May 1959 by reorganization and redesignation of existing units as follows: 104th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (organized in 1953 with Headquarters at Montgomery) as the 1st Howitzer Battalion (separate lineage after 1963 reorganization- see 31st Aviation Battalion.) 1320th Engineer Battalion (organized in 1956 from existing units with Headquarters at Auburn) as the 2d Howitzer Battalion (separate lineage after 1968 reorganization). 258th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (organized in 1956 with Headquarters at Dothan) as the 3d Automatic Weapons Battalion. 464th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (organized in 1942 as a unit in the Army of the United States) as the 4th Automatic Weapons Battalion (separate lineage after 1963 reorganization)

Reorganized 15 April 1963 to consist of the 2d Howitzer Battalion and the 3d Automatic Weapons Battalion, non-divisional units. 2d Howitzer Battalion ordered into active Federal service 15 October 1961 at home stations; released 13 August 1962 from active Federal service and reverted to State control. 2d Howitzer Battalion and 3d Automatic Weapons Battalion ordered into active Federal service 11 June 1963 at home stations; released 16 June 1963 from active Federal service and reverted to State control; ordered into active Federal service 10 September 1963 at home stations; released 12 September 1963 from active Federal service and reverted to State control.

Reorganized 15 January 1968 to consist of the 3d Battalion, a non-divisional unit.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:17:52 ZULU