Oldest continuously serving Army National Guard unit celebrates 282nd anniversary
By SARAH GOODRICH | Times West Virginian | Published: February 18, 2017
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (Tribune News Service) — On Friday, the 201st Field Artillery, also known as the “First West Virginia,” celebrated its 282nd anniversary as the oldest continuously serving National Guard unit in the U.S. Army.
The 201st Field Artillery was commissioned by Capt. Morgan Morgan on Feb. 17, 1735. The 201st is the only surviving unit of the original seven companies that formed the U.S. Army in 1775, before the United States signed the Declaration of Independence officially becoming a sovereign nation.
The unit has served in numerous parts of history including the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Mexican War. The 201st was also engaged in the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and II, Korean War, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to the third edition of the History of the 201st Regiment.
In November 2003, “The 1st Battalion, 201st Field Artillery was mobilized as a part of the U.S. contribution to the 27 Nation Coalition forces of Operation Iraqi Freedom II ... replacing the soldiers involved in the Operation Iraqi Freedom I. The West Virginia Army National Guard combat arms unit was ordered to be a part of this historic event,” reads the 201st Regiment booklet.
The 201st has also supported the state during several disasters, including the Farmington Mine Disaster of 1968, the 1972 Buffalo Creek Disaster and the 1977 devastating floods in southern West Virginia.
“The purpose of the 201st Infantry/Field Artillery Association is to preserve the history, maintain a memorial and promote camaraderie of present and former members of the 201st,” stated a pamphlet on the 201st Infantry and Field Artillery Association.
Recently retired member of the 201st Foundation, Bob Branham, said, “It’s been a great experience and a great family to have, and that’s my family, the 201st.”
The 201st Foundation is made up of members and retired members of the 201st.
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