6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK)
A Brief History of the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery

6th Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery (nondivisional)

Assigned to


             USARV PATCH                                              Americal Division Patch     

USARV (U.S. Army, Vietnam)                                23d Infantry Division

September1965 – September 1968                           (AMERICAL DIVISION)

                                                                                    September 1968 – August 1969Patch Ft Bliss, TX 6th Missile Battalion, 56th Artillery                32d AADCOM FRG
Ft Bliss, TX 6th Missile Battalion, 56th Artillery        6th Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery (CV) Germany   
19 Apr 1962- 1965                                                         Sept 1972-Mar 1988 

                    56th Air Defense Artillery Coat of Arms           56th Air Defense Artillery Unit Crest
                              Coat of Arms                                     Distintive Unit Insignia

Unit’s motto “NIGHT HIDES NOT”

56th Air Defense Artillery (56th ADA)

Design approved: March 12, 1929

The searchlight beams and winged projectile denote the character of the parent organization, while the winged projectile on the black chief refers to the motto signifying that night does not hide the enemy from the artillery fire of the 506th Coast Artillery, from which this unit descended.

**U.S. Army Heraldic Crests- A complete Illustrated History of Authorized Distinctive Unit Insignia

By: Berry Jason Stein

Coat of Arms.


                Shield:   Gules, four searchlight beams radiant from middle base or; on a chief Sable a winged projectile of the second.     

                Crest:   On a wreath Or and Gules, on a mound Vert a hurst of five trees Proper, the holes interlaced with an arrow fess wise Or and issuant in base a trident of the first surmounting and interlacing a Torii Sable.  

               Motto:   NIGHT HIDES NOT. 


              Shield:   The shield is red for Artillery.  The searchlight beams and the winged projectile denote the character of the parent organization (506th Coast Artillery)(AA), while the winged projectile on the black chief alludes to the motto “Night Hides Not,” signifying that the night does not hide the enemy from the artillery fire of 506th Coast Artillery, from which this unit descended.  

               Crest:   The crest commemorates the award of the Distinguished Unit Citation given the organization in World War II for Hurtgen Forest by the hurst of trees and the arrow.  The trident and Torii allude to the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) awarded the organization for action in Inchon during the Korean War.  

         Background:   The coat of arms was originally approved for the 506th Coast Artillery (AA), Organized Reserves on 12 March 1929.  It was redesignated for the 56th Coast Artillery and amended to delete the crest of the Organized Reserves on 30 October 1941.  It was redesignated for the 56th Field Artillery Battalion on 29 December 1950.  The insignia was redesignated for the 56th Artillery Regiment on 19 December 1958.  It was amended to add the crest on 30 March 1966.  The coat of arms was redesignated effective 1 September 1971, for the 56th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.  



Lineage and Honors 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (nondivisional)


The 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery was constituted 29 July 1921 in the Organized Reserves as Battery F, 506th Artillery (Antiaircraft). In August 1922 the unit was organized in Wisconsin and redesignated 20 February 1924 as Battery F, 506th Coast Artillery. Inactivated 1 October 1933; concurrently withdrawn from the Organized Reserves and allotted to the Regular army. Redesigned 16 December 1940 as Battery F, 56th Coast Artillery. Activated 2 June 1941 at Fort Cronkhite, California.


Reorganized and redesigned 22 January 1944 as Battery B, 48th Coast Artillery Battalion. Inactivated 2 November 1945 in Hawaii. Consolidated 28 June 1950 with Battery B, 48th Field Artillery Battalion (active)., and consolidated unit designated as Battery B, 48th Field Artillery Battalion, an element of the 7th Infantry Division. Inactivated 1 July 1957 in Korea and relieved from assignment to the 7th Infantry Division.


Redesignated 30 March 1962 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th Missile Battalion, 56th Artillery (organic elements concurrently constituted). Actived 25 July 1962 at Fort Bliss, Texas. Redesignated 14 June 1965 as the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery. Battery C inactivated 5 June 1969 in Vietnam. Inactivated (less Battery C) 15 August 1969 at Fort Bliss, Texas. Redesignated 1 September 1971 as the 6th Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery. Actived 13 September 1972 in Germany.


The 6th Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery, UIC: WAV1AA was inactived in Germany, effective 16 March 1988.




Constituted 1 October 1933 in the Regular Army as Battery B, 48th Field Artillery. Redesignated 13 January 1941 as Battery B, 48th Field Artillery Battalion. Activated 1 June 1941 at Fort Ord, California, as an element of the 7th Division (later redesignated as the 7th Infantry Division).



Campaign Participation Credit


World War II

Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe, Air offensive, Japan,       *Aleutian Islands (with arrowhead)**, *Eastern Mandates, *Western Pacific, *Leyte, *Ryukyus (with arrowhead)**


Korean War

*UN Defensive, *UN Offensive, * CCF intervention, *First UN counteroffensive, *CCF spring offensive, *UN summer-fall offensive, *Korea summer-fall 1952, *Third Korean winter, *Korea, summer 1953


*Defense, *Counteroffensive, *Counteroffensive, Phase II,             *Counteroffensive, Phase III,

*Tet Counteroffensive, *Counteroffensive, Phase IV, *Counteroffensive, Phase V, *Counteroffensive, Phase VI, *Tet 69/Counteroffensive, *Summer-fall 1969


** The phase “with arrowhead” is used on Lineage and Honors Certificates to                                                indicate that a unit participated in an assault landing, either amphibious or airborne, during that campaign. This is represented on the campaign streamer by an embroidered arrowhead.

*** Added by John A. Mayfield, SFC, USA (Ret) to bring the Lineage current as of March 1988.           




Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Steamer embroidered HURTGEN FOREST,

*Presidential Unit Citation (NAVY), Streamer embroidered INCHON (32D Regimental Combat Team cited; DA GO 63, 1952)

* Meritorious Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1965-1966 (6th Battalion, 56th Artillery, cited DA GO 17, 1968)

* Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer, embroidered 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945 (48th FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION cited; DA GO 47,1950)

* Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered KOREA 1950-1953 (948th FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION cited; DA GO 22,1956)

*Republic of Korea Presidential unit Citation, Streamer embroidered KOREA 1945-1948, 1953-1957 (7th Infantry Division cited: DA GO 50, 1971)


Army Lineage Series, Air Defense Artillery, Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1985, Compiled by Janice E. McKenney


                                        Vietnam Unit Citations, Streamers embroidered 
                                                                     Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Silver Stars



The Air Defense Artillery Soldier - First to Fire - Always on Target

Two Hawk Battalions Served in Vietnam Selected Hawk Missile Battalions Available for Vietnam but Never Sent

Two Hawk battalions served in Vietnam. They were the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery, which arrived in September 1965, and was deactivated 5 June 1969; and the 6th Battalion, 71st Artillery, which arrived in September 1965 and left Vietnam in June 1971.


Selected Hawk Missile Battalions Available for Vietnam but Never Sent

Two other HAWK battalions were selected for available for Vietnam but never sent. They were:

                       Unit                                                      Station                         Activation      

8th Battalion, 7th Artillery (HAWK Missile)               Ft. Bliss, TX                          P

4th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK Missile)             Ft. Bliss, TX                   May 1967

  • A “P” signifies the unit was raised previous to 30 June 1965 and thus before the Vietnam build-up
  • Vietnam Order of Battle by Shelby L. Stanton, Captain, U.S. Army, Retired and  Foreword by General William C. Westmoreland
Copy of Headquarters Department of the Army, General Orders for Vietnam Campaign Participation Credit

Orders for Vietnam Campaign Participation Credit- Vietnam Advisory Campaign, Vietnam Defense Campaign, Vietnam Counteroffensive Campaign, and Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (56th Artillery, 6th Battalion, 79th Ordance Detachment, and 459th Signal Detachment)
General Orders No. 83 Vietnam Campaign Participation Credit

Orders for Vietnam Campaign Participation Credit- Tet Counteroffensive Campaign I. (56th Artillery, 6th Battalion, 79th Ordance Detachment, and 459th Signal Detachment)
General Orders No. 54 Vietnam Campaign Participation Credit 

The Weapon's of the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery

Be they coast artillery with there 155 MM Guns in World War II, there 105MM field artillery weapons with the 7th Infantry Division in Korea, there HAWK Missile in Vietnam assigned to US Army Vietnam or the 23d Infantry Division (Americal Division) or protecting the Air Bases and skys in Germany with there Vulcan Guns or Chaparral Missiles. The artillery men and women of the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery walked hand in hand with technological changes since their beginning. The 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery has reflected the latest and best scientific knowledge.
Coast Artillery (155 MM World War II)Field Artillery (105 MM Korea)

Air Defense Artillery (HAWK Missile Vietnam) Towed Vulcan Gun & FAAR radar, Photo by Jay Willis

Air Defense Artillery (Chaparral Missile Germany)
Unit Awards authorized for wear by members of the 6th Battalion, 56th artillery. Check your dates of assigment to the unit in Vietnam.
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit
Criteria: a. U.S. Military units were individually cited for award of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Gallantry Cross; however, the Vietnamese Government issued the award to all units subordinate to Military Assistance Command (MACV) during the period 8 February 1962 and 28 March 1973 and to U.S. Army Vietnam and its subordinate units for the period 20 July 1965 to 28 March 1973. This permits all personnel who served in Vietnam to wear the RVN Gallantry Cross unit citation.
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Criteria: The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during the period of military operations against an armed enemy occurring on or after 1 January 1944. Service in a combat zone is not required, but must be directly related to the combat effort. CONUS based units are excluded from this award as are other units outside the area of operation. The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion of Merit to an individual. Only in rare cases will a unit larger than a battalion qualify for award of this decoration. For services performed during World War II, awards will be made only to service units and only for services performed between 1 January 1944 and 15 September 1946. Effective 1 March 1961, the Meritorious Unit Commendation was authorized for units and/or detachments of the Armed Forces of the United States for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months in support of military operations. Such service is interpreted to relate to combat service support type activities and not to the type of activities performed by senior headquarters, combat, or combat support units.

Permits all personnel who serviced in Vietnam assigned to the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery during the period November 1965 to June 1966 to wear this unit award. (Headquarters Department of the Army, Washingtn, D.C., 23 April 1968, General Order No. 17).
Many Vietnam veterans did not receive their medals, awards or decorations after their tour in Vietnam. For members of the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery who serviced with the battalions in Vietnam the below listed pictures show how to wear their medals:

6th Battalion, 56th Artillery unit ribbons

The 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery unit ribbons earned by the battalion in Vietnam. These ribbons are worn over the right breast pocket.

Individuals ribbons earned by members of the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery in Vietnam

Ribbons earned by all members of the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery in Vietnam. Many individuals earned other personal awards and ribbons in Vietnam and during there military career. These ribbons are worn over the left breast pocket.

Wearing Medals, Awards, and Decorations

It is permissible for veterans and retirees to wear military awards on civilian clothes for gatherings of a military theme. On significant holidays like Veterans Day and Memorial Day, veterans and retirees are encouraged to wear their awards and medals. The choice of either full-size medal or miniature is an individual one.


Army Air Defense Units that Served in Vietnam


HAWKS missile

6th Battalion, 56th Artillery             6th Battalion, 71st Artillery

Dusters – Twin 44mm guns (M42A1)

1st Battalion, 44th Artillery              4th Battalion, 60th Artillery             5th Battalion, 2nd Artillery

Quad 50’s

Battery E, 41st Artillery                   Battery G, 55th Artillery                  Battery G, 65th Artillery

Battery D, 71st Artillery


Battery B, 29th Artillery                   Battery G, 29th Artillery                  Battery H, 29th Artillery

                                                                  Battery I, 29th Artillery


                                        Vulcan Combat Test Team ( October 1968 to April 1969)

On Highway 13 near Quan loi. A force of six armored cavalry assault vehicles and one Vulcan was clearning  the road for a convoy from Saigon when they were ambushed by about 200 NVA. Five of the six ACAV's were hit by rockets during the first 15 seconds. The two lead ACAVs were stopped in the road. The cavalry commander, CPT Harold Fritz, was hit and seriously wounded. His column, with the damaged ACAVs blocking the road, was pinned in the kill zone.

The Vulcan, third in line, pulled to the left around the second ACAV and then back onto the road. It traversed its guns to the rear and fired a 30-round burst. The track commander then switched to 10-round bursts to conserve ammunition. During the first critical minutes of the ambush, the Vulcan was the only weapon delivering effective fire against the ambush.

Despite his wounds, CPT Fritz, who won the Medal of Honor that morning, was able to move to the Vulcan and direct its fire into the enemy assult. The Vulcan delayed the attack long enough for CPT Fritz to regroup his unit, remove machine guns from destroyed ACAVs and establish a defensive position.

Initially, the Vulcan gunner could not see the assaulting force because of dust and smoke, so the Vulcan gunner starting firing into the most likely area of enemy concentration. The shock and sound caused the assault to waver. The Vulcan had passed its combat test.

Army Air Defense Weapons of Vietnam

 HAWK Missile  Duster 40 mm Gun  Quad 50  Searchlight

When the expected North Vietnam MIG and IL-28 bomber threat failed to materialise, the air defenders were used in  ground support roles.

Each air defense battalion won either a Presidential or Meritorious Unit Citation.

The men of Army Air Defense showed that they could adapt to any mission, any where, any time, any place.

Patches Worn by the Soldiers of the Battalion

 7th Infantry Division US Army Air Defense Center   US Army Vietnam Americal Division   

Description: On a red disk, a black "Hourglass" of two pyramids point to point, all within a green border.

 Symbolism: The outline of the hourglass alludes to the numerical designation of the division showing two "7's" one inverted, one upright.


Scarlet: The color of traditional artillery

Blue: Denoted the sky where the missiles are fired

Gold: Symbolized the electronic emanations used in electronic warfare and guided missiles

The US Army Air Defense School (AADS) was born on October 24, 1956

Worn from: 5 February 1966 - 15 May 1972.

Yellow and red are the colors of Vietnam. The blue center represents the United States. Together with the sword, it alludes to the United States Military in Vietnam. USARV was created
and arrived on 20 July 1965, setting up their headquarters in Long Binh and absorbing the functions of MACV. Upon departure from Vietnam on 15 May 1972, the United States Army could look back to over twenty years of involvement in the civil and military affairs of this country. They suffered some 58,000 casualties in the process. From 15 May 1972 until departure on 28 March 1973, the command was re-designated "Vietnam (USARV/MACV) Support Command" due to the downgrading of the United States military effort in Vietnam.

The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for the Americal Division on December 20, 1943. It was redesignated for the 23d Infantry Division on November 4, 1954. On December 14, 1967 the Distinctive Unit Insignia was approved.

The shoulder sleeve insignia's four white stars on a blue field are symbolic of the Southern Cross under which the organization has served. The blue color stands for infantry.

Each of the four stars stands for four World War II campaigns (Guadalcanal, Northern Solomons, Leyte and Southern Philippines) in which the Division participated


Symbolism:  Red and yellow are the colors used for Artillery.  The five arrowheads simulating missiles allude to the air defense mission of the brigade and their placement 3 and 2 refer to the organization’s numerical designation.  

Background:   The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for the 32d Artillery Brigade on 28 April 1966.  It was redesignated for the 32d Army Air Defense Command on 15 July 1966.  The insignia was redesignated effective 16 October 1998, for the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command.  (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-418)



Air Defense Military Symbols


HAWK Missile 

Chaparral  Vulcan 
 HAWK Missile Symbol  Chaparral Symbol  Vulcan Symbol
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