Louisiana’s infantry tradition extends back to 1770 and the organization of the Louisiana militia under Spanish General Alexander O’Reilly. After the Louisiana Purchase, American commanders largely kept the same organization created by O’Reilly. Louisiana infantry units took part in the War of 1812, the Seminole Wars, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Spanish American War before the modernization of the National Guard.
Battalions-The Washington Artillery, now officially known as the 141st Field Artillery Regiment, was organized in 1838. The LANG’s oldest and most historic unit, based out of New Orleans, it took part in most American conflicts since its formation, with particularly notable activity in the Civil War and World War II. The 2nd and 3rd Battalion of the 156th Infantry have lineage extending back to Louisiana units formed during the Civil War. Among the many achievements of the 156th Infantry is the training of U.S. Soldiers for the D-Day Invasion in 1944. These units are primarily based in the Southwestern and Central parts of the state. The 769th Engineer Battalion also has Civil War lineage. The unit served as an anti-aircraft artillery battalion and signal battalion before transitioning to the role of combat engineers in the late 20th Century. The 769th is the unit most historically connected to the state capital, Baton Rouge. The Brigade Special Troops Battalion is comprised of other specialized companies. The 108th Cavalry, based out of Shreveport, has tradition going back to Louisiana cavalry in the early 20th century. The 199th Brigade Support Battalion provides a support company to each of the above units. It’s numeric designation is an echo of Louisiana’s 199th Infantry Regiment from the Cold War era.
The 256th Brigade headquarters is based in Lafayette, Louisiana, the epicenter of Acadian culture. The brigade has been on two active duty deployments to Iraq since the beginning of the Global War on Terror. The deployment put it into one of the heaviest combat zones in that theater. One of its more positive missions was providing security for the first democratic elections in Iraq since Saddam Hussein had taken power. The 256th returned home from that deployment just as the hurricanes of 2005 were ravaging South Louisiana. Many of these soldiers jumped straight from war duty to domestic response missions without a complaint.