The 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment has a history unlike any other. With more battle streamers than any other air defense artillery battalion in the Army, 3rd Bn. 4th ADAR emphasizes teaching its Soldiers about its rich heritage.
Training begins upon reception into the unit, when leaders explain to new Soldiers the relationship between the fish hook and bundled wheat on the 4th Regimentís crest; and the unique shape of the Unionís line at Gettysburg, Pa. and the courageous fight to survive and win on the deadly wheat fields of Gettysburg.
Recently, 21 leaders of the Skystriker Battalion had a unique opportunity to fully grasp the rich history of the 4th Artillery Regiment at Gettysburg. On the way back from a leader professional development event on the reset and recap operations of Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa., the battalion coordinated for a local expert to test the leaders knowledge during a complete tour of Gettysburg. The Skystrikersí knowledge of this battle greatly contributed to the professional discussion of mission command, leadership and munitions capabilities during the two-hour tour.
The Skystrikers discussed the important concept of commanderís intent and how not providing a clear and concise end state in terms of the enemy, terrain and civil considerations can lead to failure during battle. They saw firsthand how elements of the Union and Confederate Armies struggled to achieve their mission because their leaders had no common end state to work toward when lines of communication were broken.
The 4th Artillery Regiment had elements supporting maneuver forces throughout the Unionís line during the battle. This historical precedence of providing fire support is indicative of the current relationship that Skystrikers have with maneuver forces today. Members of Echo Battery, 3rd Bn. 4th ADAR, the Armyís only airborne air defense battery, provide support to the Global Response Force of the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division. These airborne air defense paratroopers can provide air defense coverage as far forward as the 82nd Airborne Division needs them to, and serve as a game changing combat multiplier to the supported maneuver forces.
While the 4th Artillery Regiment did have several units dispersed across the battlefield, the regiment also maintained a battery-sized element in proximity to Gen. Ulysses S. Grantís headquarters. Charlie Battery, 4th Artillery Regiment provided defensive fires in support of the defense of Grantís headquarters. This defensive capability correlates with 3rd Bn. 4th ADARís current ability to provide air defense coverage with its Patriot units.
Equipped with a Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, four Patriot firing batteries, and a service battery, 3rd Bn. 4th ADAR can provide unmatched, self-sustaining, air defense coverage to critical assets in any environment.
The Skystrikersí study of the battle at Gettysburg culminated near the Pennsylvania state monument. A nearby plaque marked the contributions of Charlie Battery, 4th Artillery Regiment. The Skystriker leaders planted battalion colors near the very point where their artillery predecessors gave their last full measure. The event cemented the principles Lt. Col. Richard Harrison, commander of 3rd Bn. 4th ADAR, and Command Sgt. Maj. Paris Williams, Command Sergeant Major of 3rd Bn. 4th ADAR, seek to instill in every Skystriker ó pride in unit, foundational knowledge of the unitís rich heritage and the courage and audacity to carry the unit to new victories and success.
ďThis is why I stress the importance of continuing the legacy of what it means to be a Skystriker,Ē Harrison said during the groupís stop on top of Little Round Top.
ďThese brave warriors didnít fight and die for political reasons, they fought for each other and so that they could go home to their Families. Their motivations were very similar to the ones we fight for today, which is why understanding their sacrifices is so important,Ē Harrison added.
The regimentís contributions to our nation, including its heroics at Gettysburg, are memorialized in the 3rd Bn. 4 th ADAR battalion conference room and throughout the battalion headquarters. The conference room, appropriately named Gettysburg Hall, is filled with all 55 battle streamers, pictures from the unitís multiple deployments and the current regimental chain of command.
ďThis is why we chose to capture our unitís history in our headquarters, in order to train our new Soldiers on what it means to be a part of this unit. Skystrikers have fought in just about every battle this nation has been in, and itís important that our Soldiers understand the role they play in carrying our predecessorsí sacrifices forward,Ē Williams said during the after action review of the groupís trip.
The lessons learned at Gettysburg are part of the tenets of inspiration that Skystriker leaders use to motivate their Soldiers to continue to uphold the highest standards and achieve superior results. Whether it be on the hallowed ground as part of the Unionís line at Gettysburg or somewhere in the Middle East, 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment Soldiers know what it means to be a part of the most decorated air defense artillery unit in the Army and will continue to add streamers to the battalionís colors whenever the nation calls on it to fight.