70 Years Ago today: King of Battle!

A pair of 155mm Gun Motor Carriage, M40 (T83) “Long Toms” of Baker Battery, 937th Field Artillery Battalion, providing fire support to U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division, Munema, Korea, 26 November 1951.

Tracing its lineage to the 1st Regiment, Arkansas State Guards, in 1897– which was reformed as the 2nd Arkansas Volunteer Infantry during the SpanAm War (but never made it further south than Alabama) then simply as the 2nd Arkansas Infantry to guard the Southern border against Pancho Villa in 1916– they traded their blue hat cords for red when they were redesignated the 142nd Field Artillery Regiment to go fight the Kaiser. Assigned to the 39th Infantry (Delta) Division, they left for France in the summer of 1918 with their tractor-drawn 155 mm GPF howitzers, but were certified too late to “see the elephant.”

Demobilized and sent back to Arkansas, the 142nd was recalled to active federal service on 6 January 1941. Reformed as the 142nd Field Artillery Group with two additional battalions– the 936th and 937th– which landed in Italy in November 1943, participating in the drive across the Rapido River and the liberation of Rom, then the 937th was sent to land in France during the Dragoon operation, fighting its way to the Rhineland. In all, the 937th fired over 200,000 155mm shells during WWII.

Returning home after the VE Day, the 937th had its HQ based at Fort Smith while its three gun batteries and support elements were at Mena, Paris, and Ozark.

In response to the Korean War, both the 936th and 937th were mobilized 2 August 1950 and the latter was sent to Fort Hood for training, arriving in Korea in time to fire its first combat mission 3 April 1951.

As noted by Arkansas Army and Air National Guard, a History and Record of Events, 1820–1962

The battalion went into line with the I Corps on 30 April near Uijongbu, Korea. During the Chinese Spring Drive, the battalion fell back to Seoul and was moved to IX Corps. Battery A continued with X Corps and was attached to the 1st Marine Division. On 17 May 1952 the battalion was attached to 2nd Infantry Division, IX Corps. For the action with 2nd Division, Battery C and Headquarters Battery received the Distinguished Unit Citation. The battalion continued in general support to IX Corps from 28 July 1953 until 9 October 1954.

Cyd Charisse in Korea. Charlie Battery gun, 937th. Other guns in C Battery in Korea included Cactus Country, Charming Cynthia, Constance Cummings, and Courageous Confederate. See the theme?

Charming Cynthia, Charlie Battery gun, 937th, Arkansas NG (25th ID)

Able battery gun.

M40 155mm Long Toms Charlie Battery 937th FA bn Korea May June 1951

The battalion was awarded battle streamers for the following campaigns: First U.N. Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea, Summer-Fall 1952; Third Korean Winter and Korea, Summer 1953. The 937th fired 223,400 combat rounds in Korea and suffered thirteen killed in action and 156 wounded in action. The battalion was inactivated on 26 November 1954.

Following the conflict, the 936th and 937th were simplified as the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 142nd Field Artillery, using towed 155s, before upgrading to 8-inchers in the 1970s.

2nd Bn/142nd FA, formerly the 937th of WWII and Korean War fame, deployed overseas during Desert Storm as one of the last units with the big 8-inch M110A2 howitzer, in notable Arkansas fashion.

Howitzer Section Number 1, Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Field Artillery, Arkansas Army National Guard, Operation Desert Storm, Crew Members SSG Robert Sampley, Jackie Hickey, Stanley Henson, JR Rankin, Earl Duty

Today, “The most combat-ready unit in Arkansas” is still around, having switched to M109s in 1994.

An M109A6 Paladin howitzer of Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Field Artillery Brigade, fires a round during a fire mission at the Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center near Barling, Arkansas, May 14. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Stephen M. Wright) 05.12.2019

There is at least one “Long Tom” still in the 142nd inventory.

This M40 155mm howitzer served Alpha battery 937th FA in Korea in 1951 during the Korean War. This gun A-7 is out front of the Nations National Guard Armory in Mena, Arkansas.

One comment

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I happen to know the actual person that the Charming Cynthia was named after. Do you know where I might find more information on the Charming Cynthia?

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