In December 2004 the 3rd Battalion 16th Field Artillery Regiment transitioned from the 4th Infantry Division's Division Artillery (DIVARTY) and became an exclusive part of the 2nd Brigade 4th Infantry Division. This transition was made as part of the Army's move towards self sustaining modular divisions.
As of January, 2006, OIF V-VII, the 3rd Battalion – 16th Field Artillery Regiment was deployed to Forward Operating Base Duke, located in Najaf, Iraq, as well as Forward Operating Base Kalsu and FOB Falcon in Southern Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Most of the unit, along with the rest of the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division was tasked with training Iraqi Security Forces so that they can conduct operations independently of coalition troops, with the exception of 2 Squads from B Battery, Guns (M109A6 PALDIN) B15 and B18 who conducted live counter-fire operations in support of 1-67 Armour and 2-8 Infantry (Mechanized), both of 2nd BCT, 4ID.
Constituted 1 July 1916, in the Regular Army as Battery C, 16th Field Artillery, the unit was organized 21 May 1917, at Camp Robinson, Wisconsin. On 19 November 1917, the 16th Field Artillery was assigned to the 4th Division. The unit was inactivated 21 September 1921, at Camp Lewis, Washington. The 16th Field Artillery was relieved 24 March 1923, from assignment to the 4th Division and assigned to the 8th Division.
On 13 January 1941, the battalion was reorganized and redesignated as Battery C, 16th Field Artillery Battalion. In June, 1942, the battalion was again reorganized and redesignated as Battery C, 16th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, an element of the 9th Armored Division. The 16th Armored Field Artillery Battalion was activated 10 November 1950, at Fort Hood, Texas.
On 1 July 1957, the battalion was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery.
The battalion was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division at Baumholder, Germany in the 1970s. Batteries at the time inclulded HQ, Service, A, B, and C.
On 15 December 1995 the battalion was activated as the 3d Battalion, 16th Field Artillery at Fort Hood, Texas and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division.
The 16th Field Artillery Regiment has a very distinguished history. To its credit the battalion participated in numerous campaigns during World War 1 to Include the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-argonne, and Champagne 1918.
During World War II the 16th Artillery continued to demonstrate its abilities at Rhineland, Ardennes-alsace and Central Europe. During the Vietnam War the 16th Field Artillery is credited with participation in the Counteroffensive, Phase I, Tet Counteroffensive, Tet 69 Couteroffensive and the Sanctuary Counteroffensive. The battalion's decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Republic of Vietnam Cross-of Gallantry with Palm. Additionally a battery was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for participation in the Quang Tin Province.
The Ivy Leaf on the battalion's insignia represented its long standing relationship with the 4th Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery continued this relationship as the command and control headquarters for "Task Force Thunder", an Element of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The battalion remained prepared to deploy anywhere in the world to synchronize and provide fires in support of sustained, decisive full spectrum operations to achieve assigned objectives.
Upon arriving at the port in Kuwait the soldiers of the Rolling Thunder battalion went in to action and downloaded all of its equipment in a record manner. Once downloaded the equipment was moved to the staging area for forward movement to Camp Udairi, 22 km south of the Iraqi border. While at Udairi the Thunder battalion prepared for its follow-on mission. The battalion conducted live fire weapons calibration and verified all small arms and crew serve weapons systems.
The first element of the Rolling Thunder battalion to cross the Kuwait – Iraq border was B battery on 27 April 2003. The remaining elements of the Rolling Thunder battalion crossed the border of Kuwait and Iraq on 4 May 2003 at approximately 0520 hours. The battalion's wheel convoy was provided MP escort for added security. The battalion was en-route to AA Horse just south of Baghdad to marry up with its tracked vehicles. Once the battalion linked up with its equipment the call forward order was received and the battalion continued its march to its base position at the Baqubah airfield in northern Iraq. Here the battalion was to join the lead elements of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Warhorse Brigade. Upon arrival the soldiers immediately begin to establish its base camp – Thunder Land.
B battery was tasked to the DIVARTY headquarters as part of Task Force Gunner. Their mission was to assist in securing the Taji Airfield. A and C batteries were further task organized to Task Force 2–8 Infantry (Talon) and Task Force 3–67 Armor (Hounds of Hell) respectively. A battery was given the mission to secure a weapons and munitions site north of the Tigris River Dam. Apache comes under hostile fire nightly. The soldiers of Cyclone were given the mission to provide direct artillery support to 3–67 Armor as it sought to secure the main MEK compound 75 km north of Baqubah. Additionally Cyclone manned a checkpoint north of the compound in an effort to disarm freedom fighters and secure the area around the MEK compound. Headquarters Service battery remained at Thunder Land at the Baqubah airfield to provide logistical and administrative support to the batteries.
The locations of the batteries spread the Thunder battalion over a 100 km radius.
On 25 May 2003 C battery was released from its direct support role with Task Force 3–67 and became the primary element of Task Force Thunder. The mission of the task force was to secure and disarm the town of Balad 60 km northwest of Baqubah. Immediately the soldiers of Task Force Thunder established and manned checkpoints to confiscate weapons. On 31 May checkpoint 4 of C battery came under hostile enemy fire from small arms and RPGs. Injuries were minor and the soldiers fought off the attackers. On 2 June 2003, at approximately 1147 hours the soldiers of checkpoint #1 came under attack from hostile forces and the soldiers again fought valiantly and fought off their attackers. This time the injuries were much more severe and resulted in the first casualty for the Warhorse Brigade and Rolling Thunder. SGT Anatancio Haro of 3rd Howitzer section was fatally wounded and died while engaging the attackers. The battalion mourned the loss of this fine NCO and conducted a memorial service in his honor on 4 June 2003.
On 15 June 2003 C Battery and TF Thunder received a change of mission and were relieved by 3–7 Cav 3ID. C Battery and TF Thunder were ordered to reorganize and received a new mission with duty in the cities Al Husseinia, Ar Rashidiyah and Khan Bani Sad, north of Baghdad just east of the Tigris River. It was during this time that TF Thunder succeeded in creating security and stability for over 750,000 Iraqis and conducted the first CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) sanctioned democratic elections in the Baghdad Province in December 2003. In addition to numerous civil affairs projects to help the Iraqis in the region, TF Thunder was known for being willing to use force, but being judicious in its application. This gained tremendous respect among the local Iraqis and set the conditions for no further Soldiers killed in action during this deployment. The achievements and techniques of TF Thunder in during these months were universally ignored by the 4th Infantry Division, 2BCT and the 4th Divarty. A subsequent book by Bob Babcock (OIF 1: A Year in the Sunni Triangle, St. John's Press, 2005) almost totally ignored 3–16 FA's achievements in this vein, including the first trained platoons of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) which was the precursor to the Iraqi National Guard.
On 1 August 2004, the 4th Infantry Division (Mech) was ordered to restructure and reorganize under the U.S. Army’s concept of modularity. This would set the division to become the Army’s first fully digitized modular division. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team would lead the conversion and become the Army’s first modular Brigade Combat Team – “Unit of Action”. Under the restructure the Thunder Battalion reorganized and became the first modular “Fires Battalion”. This meant the battalion would no longer be assigned to the Division Artillery but would fall under the total control of the 2 Brigade. On 1 January 2005 the Thunder Battalion completed its conversion with the activation of its support company, G Company, 204th Support Battalion. The unit's mission was to maintain warfighting readiness and on order, deploy by land, sea, or air to conduct combat operations by coordinating fire support that provides safe, timely, and lethal fires in support of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
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