The Cold War Years
Throughout the Cold War years that followed, the Regiment was reorganized, reconstituted, changed primary weapons and relocated numerous times. The five World War II battalions at various times became the 521st FA Battalion, 550th FA Battalion, 30th FA Battalion, 550th Rocket Battalion, 2nd Missile Battalion, 30th Artillery, etc. Weapons ranged from the tractor-drawn 155mm and self-propelled 8" howitzers to Sergeant and Honest John missiles. Posts included Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Fort Lewis, Washington, and Fort Benning, Georgia, among numerous others in the Continental United States plus various locales from Augsburg and Erlangen in Germany to the missile sites in Italy.
When the Vietnam conflict heated up, the 1st Battalion 30th Artillery, was called upon to face the toughest series of challenges in the Regiment's history. Deploying as a 155mm towed howitzer unit of the 1st Field Force in the I and II Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ) area in 1965, the "1st Bn, 30th Artillery" supported the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions, 101st Airborne Division, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), and numerous Allied units. After being attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, the 1st Battalion became an organic unit of the 1st Cav in 1968 shortly before moving south with it into the Tay Ninh region of War Zone C.
In 1966 the Battalion was the first ever to move 155mm howitzers into combat by helicopter, melding the 1st Cavalry Division's air mobility concept with the unit's heavy firepower. It was one of the first to employ the FADAC computer in combat. In over five years of combat the 1st Battalion 30th Artillery, expended over 1,260,000 rounds of timely, accurate, and deadly firepower in support of its infantry brothers and in direct fire defending its remote firebase positions against ground assaults and sapper, rocket, and mortar attacks.
These courageous actions cost the lives of 40 known Battalion members and resulted in hundreds of wounded in action. Departing Vietnam in 1971, the Battalion and its batteries had earned two Presidential Unit Citations (1 Army, 1 Navy), four Valorous Unit Awards, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, five Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry with Palm, and innumerable individual medals for valor. It had become the second most decorated of over 70 Army and Marine artillery battalions in the Vietnam war. The 1st Battalion was the highest decorated medium artillery Battalion to serve in the Vietnam war. Its other Vietnam legacy was the adoption of the "Hard Charger" radio call sign as the Battalion's (and later the Regiment's) nickname.
A Brief History of the Regiment