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147th Field Artillery Brigade

South Dakota's major contribution to World War I was the 147th Field Artillery Regiment. The 147th was created out of half of the 4th South Dakota Infantry and two batteries of Oregon National Guard Artillery. With the Sioux representing a sizeable proportion of the Dakota population in 1917, there were some largely Lakota units, such as Battery B of the 130th Field Artillery, Battery C of the 147th Field Artillery and companies of the 351st and 355th Infantry Regiments. The 147th saw heavy action as it provided artillery support for ten different American and French divisions. The 147th Field Artillery of the 41st Division was attached to the 57th Field Artillery Brigade of the 32d Division and served with it throughout its activities. The regiment received numerous decorations and citations from both France and the United States. After the war's end, the 147th was retained as part of the South Dakota National Guard.

Air National Guard Brigadier General Joseph Jacob Foss -- winner of the Medal of Honor, World War II Marine flying ace and former governor of South Dakota -- joined the Army National Guard in 1937, with the 147th Field Artillery.

In November 1940, the 147th Field Artillery Regiment of the South Dakota National Guard was called into Federal service. The regiment was assigned to Fort Ord, California. The 147th Field Artillery performed well at Fort Ord, prompting troops of the regular army 7th Infantry Division to talk about having the 147th assigned as the divisional artillery. In November 1941, the 147th was ordered to overseas duty in the Philippines. The regiment was in Hawaii at the end of November. Members of the 147th enjoyed shore leave at Pearl Harbor just days before the Japanese assault. The regiment's convoy was a week west of Hawaii when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The attack on Pearl Harbor caused the 147th's convoy to be rerouted to Australia. For a time during the end of 1941 and the early months of 1942, the 147th was the only major Allied unit stationed in the Darwin area.

By December 1941 the 2d Battalion joined the full 147th Field Artillery, a National Guard unit from South Dakota, and the two battalions of the 148th Field Artillery, a National Guard unit from Idaho. This filled out the six-battalion artillery brigade initially scheduled to reinforce General MacArthur's troops in the Philippines. Following the diversion to Australia in late 1941, the 147th Field Artillery had remained at Darwin to reinforce the northern defenses of Australia, while the 2d Battalion, 131st Field Artillery, boarded transports for Java, arriving at Surabaja on 11 January 1942.

The 147th was reorganized in 1943 into the 147th and 260th Field Artillery Battalions. The 147th was the last field artillery regiment to be reorganized by the Army. The 147th Battalion built a solid record of combat service in New Guinea and the Philippines as part of the 158th Regimental Combat Team. The 260th Battalion spent the rest of the war driving trucks. These two battalions were the only units of the South Dakota National Guard to maintain a specific South Dakota identity during the war.

The shoulder sleeve insignia was approved on 22 February 1979. Scarlet and yellow are the colors associated with Field Artillery. The curvature of the top and bottom of the shield reflects the trajectory of an artillery shell. The Field Artillery mission is indicated by the shell at center and the stalks of grain are symbolic of South Dakota's agriculture and her natural topography.

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 147th Artillery Group on 8 July 1971. It was redesignated for the 147th Field Artillery Group on 15 May 1972. The insignia was redesignated with the symbolism revised for the 147th Field Artillery Brigade on 16 February 1979. Scarlet and yellow (gold) are the colors used for Artillery. The scarlet scroll and the green olive and laurel branches refer to the two decorations awarded the unit for service in World War II: Meritorious Unit Commendation, Europe and French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Belvedere. They suggest the streamer colors, and the laurel, a symbol of achievement, connotes the French Palm. The olive branch and triangle allude to Monte Belvedere, Italy, where the organization was cited for its courageous action in support of operations of the 3d Algerian Division. The historic Quartermaster campaign service is indicated by the central buff disc. The three black discs (heraldic gunstones) signify participation in the Philippine Insurrection, World War I and World War II, and the seventeen rays of the sun are for the like number of campaigns. The gold sun alludes to the central motif of the State Flag of South Dakota, "The Sunshine State," and refers to the unit's allocation to the South Dakota Army National Guard.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:21:02 ZULU