US soldiers lay groundwork for ‘transformation’ of artillery units in Europe

Published: 7 February 2024

By Phillip Walter Wellman
via the Stars and Stripes website

Battery C, 6th Field Artillery Regiment

Battery C, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, shortly after firing "The First Shot," at 06:05:10 on 23OCT1917

Charlie Battery traces its lineage to WWI as the first American military unit ever to fire a round in Europe

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Army Capt. Phuong Quach started 2024 with a mission to stand up an artillery battery from scratch.

One of her easiest tasks so far has been choosing its motto: “first shot.”

Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment — which was reactivated here in Bavaria in January — traces its lineage to the first American military unit ever to fire a round in Europe.

“It just brings back the gravity of the situation,” Quach said of carrying on the legacy of the soldiers who fought during World War I.

The battery’s reemergence marks the start of a transformation of the only U.S. field artillery brigade on the Continent, one that will grow by some 250 troops and receive over 50 state-of-the-art rocket systems in the months ahead.

Capt. Phuong Quach, commander of Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, at the Army’s Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany on Feb. 1, 2024. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

The changes come amid ongoing concerns from NATO allies, particularly the former Soviet states in the Baltics, that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s territorial ambitions won’t end in Ukraine.

Moscow would be emboldened further if Congress ends funding for Ukraine’s defense, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters Tuesday.

“Putin is not going to stop in his quest for power and control beyond Ukraine’s borders toward NATO,” Singh said. “If Putin attacks a NATO ally, we will find ourselves in direct conflict, as we are committed to defending every inch of NATO.”

U.S. military leaders say their growing artillery arsenal is aimed at deterring Russia. But deterrence means training as if war were imminent.

Quach’s battery falls under the 41st Field Artillery Brigade, which was reactivated in 2018.

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