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B Battery, 3rd Missile Battalion, 61st Artillery Regiment
Limestone, Maine

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21 March 1960

The 3d Missile Battalion, 61st Artillery, is a child of dual parentage, one natural and one adopted. The battalion was first constituted in the Army of the United States on 19 December 1942 as the 548th Coast Artillery Battalion (Antiaircraft) and as such was activated at Camp Haan, California, on 10 January 1943. On 27 May 1943 it was redesignated the 548th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. This, the natural parent of our present battalion, served with distinction in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, receiving streamers for the campaigns of Rhineland and Central Europe. Following the conclusion of hostilities in Europe the unit returned to the states and was inactivated at Camp Mile Standish, Massachusetts, on 18 December 1945.
On 17 November 1953 the battalion was redesignated the 548th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion and allotted to the Regular Army. Soon after, on 15 December 1953, it was activated at Fort Bliss, Texas, under TOE 44-35 with primary armament of 75mm Skysweeper guns. Following organization and a training period the unit departed Fort Bliss in September 1954 for permanent station at Loring Air Force Base, Maine. Upon arrival Battalion and all Battery Headquarters were co-located and estsblished on the air base and the guns were deployed to the 15 gun sites on and around the base, where they were enplaced. Problems incident to cold weather, heavy snows, temporary sites and a poor road and communicaticn net were overcome and the battalion assumed it's Air Defense Mission successfully.

Meanwhile, contracts were let for construction of 4 NIKE sites outside the base and contractural work on then was completed in early 1957. Concurrently, package 57 was being trained at Fort Bliss and tentatively assigned to the battalion. The NIKE control and launcher sites were occupied beneficially by battalion personnel in February 1957, pending the arrival of the package and formal occupancy. The official change of the unit from guns to missiles was effective 8 March 1957 when General Order 21, First U S Army, redesign:o.ted it as the 548th Anitaircraft Airtillery Missile Battalion (NIKE) under TOE 44-445C.

The package, under command of Lieutenant Colonel William F Kuhn, who also assumed command of the battalion upon arrival, arrived in battery increments during late March and early April and occupied the NIKE sites in accordance with Movenent Order 12, First U S Army, dated 4 Apri1 1957. Equipment and missiles arrived during the spring, and following an intensive period of training and preparation all four batteries became operational as missile units during the period 25 June to 1 July 1957., This accomplished, the 75mn guns were marchordered, brought in to battalion, processed, and turned over to Ordnance Support units for turn in. The Skyweeper sites were completely evacuated and returned to control of the appropriate Real Property Section of the Army and Air Force. The 548th was now a missile battalion in fact as well as in name.

General Order 59, First Region ARADCOM, dated 31 July 1 1957, designated the sites as Battery Sites named for the local communities. Appropriate ceremonies were held at each site with local civic leaders and officials present, at which the designations were made a matter of record. These designations were:

Battery A (Ll3 ) Caswell Battery Site

Battery B (L31) Limestone Battery Site

Battery C (L58) Caribou Battery Site

Battery D (L85) Van Buren Battery Site

The battalion was reorganized again on 20 March 1958 by General Order 23, First U S Army, as the 548th Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalion (NIKE-AJAX) under TOE 44-445D with a Headquarters and Headquarters Battery and Batteries A, B, C, and D. The Medical Detachment, which previously had been a component of the battalion, was inactivated and a medical section was included in Headquarters Battery to provide organic medical support. Total strength authorized for the battalion at this time was 34 officers, 21 Warrant officers and 478 enlisted men.

Letter AGAO-O(M)322(lAug58) DCSPER, Department of the Army, 12 Aug 58, incorporeted the 5!8th Battalion into the Combat Arms Regimental System as one battalion of the 61st Artillery Regiment and designated it the 3d Missile Battalion (NIKE-AJAX), 6lst , Artillery. Sister battalions of the regiment at this time were the 1st Missile Battalion at Travis Air Force Base, California, the 4th Missile Battalion at San Francisco, and the 2d Battalion, a Skysweeper unit since converted to missiles, at Okinawa.

The battalion had now acquired it's adopted parent, unit with a history equally as illustrious as that of the old 548th, and with lineage going back even further. The 61st came into being as the 61st Artillery Regiment, Coast Artillery Corps, on 9 March 1918 when it was constituted and organized at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, with batteries in the coastal defenses of Charleston, Savannah and Pensacola. On 28 February 1919 the regiment was demobilized at Camp Upton, New York, but it was reconstituted and reorganized in June 1921 at Fort Monroe, Virginia, as the 1st Antiaircraft Battalion which, on 1 June the following year, was redesignated as the 6lst Artillery Battalion (Antiaircraft). On 1 July 1924 it was again redesignated, this time as the 61st Artillery Regiment with three (3) battalions. The 1st and 2d Battalions were activated in November 1939 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and the 3d on 8 January 1943 at Reykjavik, Iceland.

On 10 August 1943 the regiment was inactivated at Honiton, England, and personnel of the regimental units were concurrently transferred to the 92d Antiaircraft Artilllery Group; the l84th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion; the 634th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion; and the 635th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. With the conclusion of the war in Europe these units were inactivated and on 28 June 1950 consolidated with elements of the 61st Coast Artillery Regiment which was concurrently reconstituted to form the 6lst Antiaircraft Artillery Group with the following composition:

92nd Group plus Hq 2nd Hq Btry, 6lst Regiment, became Hq and Hq Btry, 6lst Group

184th Battalion plus Hq and Hq Btry, 61st Regiment, became the 6lst Battalion

634th Battalion plus 1st Bn, 6lst Regiment, and the 39th Battalion became the 39th Battalion.

635th Battalion plus 3d Bn, 61st Regiment,became the 52d Battalion

Group Headquarters was established at Fort (then Camp) Stewart, Georgia. The 61st Battalion was redesignated as the 6lst Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion on 21 August 1950 and assigned to the 6th Armored Division, Fort Leonard Hood, Missouri , where it was inactivated 16 March 1956. The 39th Battalion retained it's desibnation as an Automatic Weapons Battalion until 16 May 1957 when it was inactivated at Southhampton, Germany. The 52d Battalion was redesignated 20 October 1950 as an Automatic Weapons Battalion and served in the Korean Conflict, being inactivated at Inchon 10 November 1951, reactivated at Camp Roberts, California, on 26 November 1952, and finally inactivated at Castle Air Force Base, California, on 15 June 1957.

These units were all reorganized and redesignated the 6lst Artillery Regiment in 19958, being at that time consolidated with the 436th Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalion (NIKE), the 548th Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalion (NIKE), and the 74Oth Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalion (NIKE) to form the present elements of the regiment. In additicn, the 58th Antiaircraft Artillery Battery (EW) at Fort Bliss was reorganized and designated as Battery C (Electronic Warfare), 61st Artillery and assigned to Fourth U S Army.

The parent unit of the 39th Battalion was the 788th Antiaircraft Automatic Weapons Battalion vhich was activated 20 April 1943 at Camp Helen Texas, and which served in the European Theater during World War II.

As a result of these various reorganizations and consolidations the present units acquire the honors bestowed on all forebears. These include, in addition to the Rhineland and Central Europe streamers already mentioned, the following:


World War I
Streamer without inscription

World War II
Iceland, 1942
England, 1944
Northern France


CCF Intervention
First UN Counteroffensive
CCF Spring Offensive
UN Summer-Fall Offensive


Distinguished Unit Streamer embroidered ST VITH
Streamer, Republic of Korea Presenditial Unit Citation, embroidered KOREA

Belgian Fourragere (1940) (awarded for Defense of Antwerp)

The 3d Battalion, 61st Artillery was reorganized on 20 Septenmber 1958 under General Order 98, First US Army, 1958, under TOE 44-445d. In November of the same year Batteries B, C, and D participated in their first Annual Service Practice as missile units at Red Canyon Range, where they became the first USARADCOM units to achieve a record of 9 kills for 9 missiles fired. For this achievement they received Outstanding Service Practice Awards. Battery A was undergoing conversion to HERCULES missiles at the time and did not participate in the service practice.

On 2 February 1959 General Order 13, First U S Army, 1959, again reorganized the battalion, this time as the 3rd Missile Battalion (NIKE-HERCULES), 61st Artillery, under TOE 44-545t with a total authorized strength of 38 officers, 21 warrant officers, and 491 enlisted men. As a result of this reorganization Headquarters and Headquarters Battery operated under TOE 44-447D. The next reorganization was in June, 1959, under General Order 62, First U S Army, which incorporated Change 1 to TOE 44-546T. This reorganization reduced authorized officer strength to 34 but did not change the authorization for warrant officers or enlisted men.

The most recent reorganization occurred on 15 March 1960, when General Order 46, First U S Army, 1960, was published. There was no change in the battalion designation or mission, but it did reflect a change in strength. By augmentation the strength of the battalion was increased to 34 officers, 21 warrant officers, and 501 enlisted men.

Ever since the battalion has been stationed at Loring Air Force Base they have constituted a one-battalion defense and have been authorized an augmentation from TOE 44-70 in order to operate a Defense AADCP. Tactically, although operating an AADCP, the battalion receives control and firing data from the Bangor Sector Sage installation at Topsham, Maine. A small detachment of 4 officers and 4 enlisted men from the battalion are on permanent duty station at SAGE.

The authorized insignia for the battalion is that of the 61st Artillery, which was originally designed and approved for the 1st Antiaircraft Battalion CAC, on 25 October 1921. On that insignia the bolt of lightning and the golden sun encircled and winged represent the winged chariot of Helios brought to earth by a bolt of lightning thrown by Zeus, and are symbolic of the mission of air defense guns and missiles. The sawtooth line dividing the shield is from Lord Delaware's Coat of Arms, which was the basis of the insignia of the Chesapeake Bay Coast Defense, of which the 1st Battalion was a component at the time the insignia was officially approved. The black and white represent night and day, signifying that air defense units are alert and capable of successful engagement at any time of day or night. The motto, NON EST AD ASTRA MOLLIS E. TERRIS VIA has been officially translated as "The Way to the Stars Is Not Easy".

Since it's assignment to the Loring Defense the battalion has had the following commanding officers:
Lt Col Otho A Moomaw
Lt Col John B Parrott
Major George C McBride
Lt Col William F Kuhn
Lt Col William J Gildart
Major Robert B McDaniel
Lt Col Clarence N Kennedy


*The above unit history is a true OCR reproduction of a typed history of the battalion dated 21 March 1960 and in my possession.

1May 2007

Pete Tustison