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
Battery A (Ll3 ) Caswell Battery
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
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,
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,
World War I
Streamer without inscription
World War II
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