Cannoneers remember lineage during upcoming anniversary
July 20, 2016 (CAMP RIPLEY, Minnesota) — Artillery crewmen and support personnel of the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery are conducting gunnery skills training, July 17-30, 2016, at Camp Ripley.
This is part of the annual training requirements that each National Guard unit must complete in order to meet readiness standards in support of possible federal missions.
During the summer of 1917, this battalion answered such a call following the congressional approval of President Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of war against Germany.
Minnesota joined 26 states which provided organizations for a plan to combine National Guard units from around the country into one large division. Commanded by Col. George E. Leach, the 151st Field Artillery became part of the 42nd “Rainbow” Division, and served in France from Oct. 18, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918.
“There is a lot of rich history with our battalion,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Henningson of C Battery. “I’ve been with this unit for 20 years including several deployments, it feels like home.”
Today, Soldiers of the Montevideo-based 1-151st Field Artillery work to fulfill three requirements: the federal mission of defending the people and property of the United States of America, the state mission of always being ready to act on the governor’s direction to assist the citizens and civil authorities of Minnesota, as well as the community mission to maintain a positive social and environmental relationship with their neighbors.
“I’ve always been interested with the role artillery plays on the battlefield,” said Capt. Brandon Fredrickson, battery commander for C Battery. “It’s one of the decisive elements in any action.”
The 151st Field Artillery saw combat in the Lorraine, Champagne, Chateau-Thierry, and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. On Nov. 11, 1918 (Armistice Day), the 151st was part of the defensive line near Sedan.
To many Minnesotans, the 151st Field Artillery, along with their fellow comrades, embodied the fight for freedom and democracy. The state welcomed them back as heroes in the spring of 1919 with a ceremony on the steps of the state capitol building in St. Paul.
The Minnesota Military Museum on Camp Ripley, will open a major exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of U. S. and Minnesota involvement in World War l on July 22.
The exhibit titled “In the Fight: Minnesota and the First World War” captures the experiences of Minnesota men and women who served and contributed to the “Great War” effort from 1916 to 1918.
by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs