History of the 1st Guided Missile Brigade

523rd Field Artillery Missile Battalion

“Dial for Destruction”
523rd FA Unit Insignia by Jenn Jett, Museum Specialist

This Battalion was constituted in the Regular Army on 1 October 1933 as the 2nd Field Artillery Observation Battalion. It was activated 1 June 1940 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The 2nd Field Artillery Observation Battalion served in Italy, France, and Germany during World War II. After being awarded the Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France (with arrowhead), Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe Campaign Streamers, the battalion returned to the states and was inactivated on 25 December 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. For its service in Italy, Battery “A” is entitled to a campaign silver band inscribed “World War II EAME [European-African-Middle Eastern Theater]” – ANZIO.

On 5 February 1945, the battalion was redesignated as the 523rd Field Artillery Observation Battalion and on 30 August 1955, it was redesignated the 523rd Field Artillery Missile Battalion and activated on 1 September 1955 at Fort Bliss, Texas. Since then, the battalion has been providing surface-to-surface guided missile support to the United States Army Artillery Board and equipment for the Annual Service Practice.

The motto of the 2nd Field Artillery Observation Battalion was “We Find Them” and its crest was an owl holding a lightning flash and string trace. Desiring a motto and crest applicable to guided missiles and signifying the mission of the battalion, a request was made to the Heraldic Branch to change the existing crest. The approved crest is now in use and signifies the timely, accurate, and destructive fire of this missile battalion- a sun dial and a Corporal missile. Our motto is “DIAL FOR DESTRUCTION.”

8 thoughts on “History of the 1st Guided Missile Brigade

  1. Wonderful article and I enjoyed learning about this unit. I have the same pin that belonged to one of my mothers brothers but it isn’t yellow it is red or burgundy colored. Would this be from another battalion? Any information would be appreciated.

  2. This is a wonderful one and ai enjoyed reading about this battalion. I have the same pin but it is t yellow. It is red or almost burgundy colored. It belonged to one of my mothers 3 brothers but I don’t know where they served or anything about their military careers. Any information or assistance about the pin would be appreciated.

  3. My father served in the 1st AAA Guided Missile Bn. Started out as a machinist and ended up as personnel sgt major before being discharged in ‘46. I’ve been wondering about the graphic with the red and yellow v-2 that appears on the title page of each chapter. Is it an official insignia of the unit?

    1. Good Morning, thank you for your comment! The logo depicted is not an official insignia recognized by the US Army Institute of Heraldry. However, it was used as the unit’s unofficial logo and appeared on several unit history documents from the late-1940s into the 1950s that we have in the museum archives.

      1. Thanks so much! I plan to be at the range for a NASA sounding rocket launch in August. I’d like to learn whatever I can about the early history when my father was there.

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