256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
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. The769th 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.
225th Engineer Brigade
A state that sees frequent natural and manmade disasters, Louisiana’s engineers are a vital component of its Guard forces. The 225th began as an engineer company in the 1950s, upgraded to battalion by the 1960s, and became a group by the mid part of that decade. Increasing in importance to both overseas and domestic missions of the LANG, the 225th was upgraded to a brigade in 2006. The LANG engineers have had some element overseas in the Global War on Terror since late 2002 while concurrently dealing with one of the busiest periods of state activation in Louisiana history. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita put the engineers to the ultimate test, followed in quick succession by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010, river flooding in 2011, and Hurricane Gustav in 2012.
The 205th Engineer Battalion was reorganized from the 105th Anti-Aircraft Battalion, based out of Bogalusa with companies on the “Northshore” of Lake Pontchartrain. The 105th saw action in North Africa, Italy, and in Germany during World War II. The Bogalusa and Franklinton units of the 205th have lineage connecting back to the old 108th Cavalry companies stationed there. The 2225th Bridge Company, in Marrero, is a relatively new but significant unit for the LANG.
The 527th Engineer Battalion is based out of Northwestern Louisiana. One of its important historical achievements involves its role in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. The unit opened the berm barriers between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, allowing coalition forces to enter hostile territory and crush Iraqi forces. Closing the berms afterward, it was also the last unit out in that Area of Operations.
The 528th Engineer Brigade was formed from several companies in Northeastern Louisiana. Monroe area units have history dating back to the Civil War. The 528th has been involved in every major state disaster response since its formation and has had several overseas deployments connected to the Global War on Terror.
State Aviation Command
The State Aviation Command is comprised of the 204th Theater Aviation Operations Group, which oversees the 244th Assault Battalion, the 244th Aviation Battalion, and Detachment 38 of the OSA.
The 1-244th Assault Battalion has had multiple overseas deployments and is vital to domestic emergency missions of the Guard. The unit’s search and rescue missions during the Hurricane Katrina response effort saved countless lives. The damage done to headquarter facilities in New Orleans shifted the unit to a new, upgraded facility in Hammond, Louisiana.
The 2-244th Aviation Battalion provides support and maintenance for aviation functions of the LANG. Company F, 135th MEDEVAC was formerly known as the 812th Medical Company. The 812th’s history in Louisiana goes back to the 1970s. It was deployed to Iraq in 1991, performed rescue missions during Hurricane Katrina, and returned to Asia for a GWOT mission in 2010.
Detachment 38, Operational Support Airlift provides fixed wing support for Army missions. It conducts routine transport in the Western hemisphere as well as support for combat missions in the Global War on Terror.
139th Regional Support Group
The 139th was recently organized as a major command in the LANG. It is headquartered at historic Jackson Barracks in New Orleans. Many of the units that report to it have a rich history.
The 773rd Military Police Battalion has lineage extending back to LANG’s 773rd Tank Destroyer battalion from World War II. It then became a Tank battalion during the Cold War, mobilizing for the Korean conflict. Now a military police unit, the companies of the 773rd have seen numerous overseas deployments and are an active component of domestic response operations. Louisiana’s MPs were an essential part of the post Katrina landscape.
165th Combat Sustainment and Support Battalion also has tradition going back to the 773rd Tank Battalion. LANG Maintenance units, particularly the transportation units, have been necessary to keep the organization going. President John F. Kennedy activated Louisiana transportation units in response to the Berlin Crisis of 1961. Units of the 165th have since provided support for overseas combat missions in Operation Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror. Domestically, the 165th is very important in the commodity distribution operations for hurricane and flood events within the state.
The 156th Infantry Band now falls under the 139th RSG. The band’s history goes back to the 1930s. It achieved some fame during World War II, including a performance for President Truman at the Potsdam Conference as the war was ending. The U.S. Army has given the band the honorary designation of “Louisiana’s Own.”
Other elements of the 139th RSG include the 415th Military Intelligence Battalion, the 756th Medical Company, and Company B, 136th Expeditionary Signal Company.
61st Troop Command
The 61st is critical to command and control of state activations. As a state with a disproportionate amount of emergency response needs, Louisiana’s civil authorities rely on the unit for defense support. The role of Homeland Security has been one of the most important functions of the guard since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The 62nd Civil Support Team specializes in preparing and responding to domestic threats, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives.
199th Regiment (RTI)
The 199th Regiment provides regionalized leadership, Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES), Officer Candidate School (OCS), and general studies training for the Army National Guard (ARNG), the United States Army Reserve (USAR), and the Active Component (AC). The 199th Regiment plans and programs leadership training within its region based on requirements identified by the Individual Training Branch (ARNG-TRI) and the Army program for Individual Training (ARPRINT) and works in conjunction with its Proponents or Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in their respective areas of training.
The 199th Regiment, formerly known as the Louisiana Military Academy, has conducted the Officer Candidate School program since July 1960. In July 1976, the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy was established, which at the time taught Primary Non Commissioned Officer Course (PNOC), Basic Non Commissioned Officer Course (BNCOC), Advance Non Commissioned Officer Course (ANCOC), and the 1SG Course. Over the years, the 199th Leadership Regiment has developed and refined the different schoolhouses that are taught under its command. Today, the regiment has the following school houses under its flag: Officer Candidate School, Basic Leadership Course, 31B Military Police School, 12N Horizontal Engineer School, 12W Vertical Engineer School, and 88M Transportation School.
Effective 1 October 2008, The 199th Leadership Regiment was re-organized once again to become the 199th Regiment – Louisiana Regional Training Institute.
159th Fighter Wing
The Louisiana Air National Guard was officially formed after World War II, with the organization of the U.S. Air Force. Its roots go further back, however, as an aviation unit in the Army National Guard. The 122nd Observation Squadron was organized and federally mobilized in 1940. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 122nd began anti-submarine missions over the Gulf of Mexico. The unit next went to North Africa and subsequently to Italy. It transitioned from an observation squadron to a fighter squadron and then to a bombardment squadron over the course of the war. After the war, the 122nd was reorganized as part of the Air National Guard and played an important role in civil defense of U.S. air space during the Cold War. Iot also saw a domestic mobilization during the Korean War, training airmen for nighttime raids in that conflict. In the late 1950s, the 122nd Fighter Squadron became a part of Louisiana’s 159th Fighter Interceptor Group, which eventually expanded to a Fighter Wing. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, it has maintained a similar role of readiness in the skies of the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. The 122nd Fighter Squadron’s assigned aircraft have included the A-26, the F-86, the F-102, the F-100, the F-4, and the F-15.
Maintenance, Support, and Medical units have continued to evolve in the Wing. The 236th Combat Communications Squadron, the 214th Engineer and Installation Squadron, the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron, and the 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron are unique, subordinate units to the 159th.