By Spc. Tarell J. Bilbo,
241st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also known as the Washington Artillery, held its annual memorial wreath-laying ceremony at Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery, Jan. 11, 2014, and its 175th annual Pass-in-Review ceremony at Jackson Barracks, Jan. 12, 2014.
These two traditional events reflect the long and decorated history of the 1-141st.
The wreath-laying ceremony, held Saturday, began in 1965 by the Washington Artillery Veterans Association (WAVA) to honor both the unit’s heritage and its fallen Soldiers.
Lt. Col. Kenneth T. Baillie, commander of the 1-141st, stood in front of his battalion and expressed the significance of their presence at the memorial statue.
“There are 249 names there. They were us; they are us. And one day, we’ll be in the same place they are,” he said. “Remember always what it means to be Washington Artillerymen. Remember where we came from, remember what we are.”
The following day, Guardsmen of the 1-141st participated in the battalion’s 175th Pass-In-Review ceremony. The pass-in-review dates from the earliest time in military history and demonstrates the glory and strength of the assembled Troops who march in formation before their military leaders.
The LANG’s 156th Army Band began the ceremony by playing the traditional military march, “Semper Fidelis,” as each battery, led by its commander, marched onto the field in unison.
Once the Soldiers came to a halt and were standing at attention, Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG; Col. Damian K. Waddell, commander of the 256th IBCT and Baillie gave due recognition to the formations standing before them.
“We’re here to honor and celebrate the 175-year history of the Washington Artillery,” said Curtis as he addressed the battalion and guests in attendance. “This battalion’s proud history will continue because I know that the Soldiers and leaders are highly professional and are the best that the Guard has to offer.”
During the ceremony, various Soldier and unit-level awards were given to the top performers from the Battalion.
Pfc. Paris Andrews of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery received the “Outstanding Enlisted Soldier of the Year” award and Sgt. Matthew Broughton of B Battery received the “Noncommissioned Officer of the Year” award.
Following the individual awards, the best performing units were awarded streamers to attach to their colors.
A Battery was awarded the “Continuous Fire” streamer for being the best firing battery of the year, while HHB received the “Try Us” streamer for superior overall unit performance.
Baillie took the time to express his gratitude to the families of his Soldiers and the members of WAVA for their continued support.
“I want to sincerely thank you all for your service and sacrifice,” he remarked. “I remain humbled to be a part of this organization and to be able to call myself a Washington Artilleryman.”
Baillie also congratulated the battalion for their outstanding performance during the last year.
“You’ve answered every call, you’ve come every time you get asked. No matter the mission, you serve with great honor and great success,” he said. “My prayer is that our great battalion will hold another ceremony on another beautiful day, just like this one, here at Jackson Barracks 175 years from today.”
As the ceremony drew to a close, the 156th began playing the tune “The Girl I Left Behind” as the battalion marched in front of the reviewing party for the pass-in-review.
The 1-141st is the oldest unit in the LANG and the oldest field artillery battalion outside of the original 13 colonies. It has a storied history in the state from its involvement in emergency operations, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to its involvement in the Civil War and recent deployments to Iraq in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.