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The 201st Field Artillery (West Virginia Army National Guard) is perhaps the oldest military unit in the United States. The claim is based on the continued organization of a military company in the Eastern Panhandle since Morgan Morgan was commissioned a captain of militia on February 17, 1735. Units from this region served in the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Mexican War. During the Civil War, local units entered both the Union and Confederate armies.

One of the first West Virginia Militia companies to reorganize after the Civil War was the Berkeley Light Infantry, commanded by Capt. Charles J. Faulkner Jr., which in the 1880s became part of the First Regiment, West Virginia National Guard. The First Regiment was activated for service in the Spanish-American War and World War I. In 1926, the First Regiment was designated as the 201st Infantry. The 201st was mobilized for World War II and when the war was over, returned to state service as the 201st Artillery Battalion. The 201st Artillery Battalion was again mobilized during the Korean War and sent to Germany. The 201st Artillery Battalion was engaged in combat during the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s and was deployed to the Iraq War in 2004.

The 201st has also assisted with disasters at home in West Virginia, including the Farmington Mine Disaster, Buffalo Creek Flood, and the 1977, 1985, and 2016 floods. In addition, it has supported the West Virginia National Guard Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy and state National Guard Drug Prevention Support program, and provided assistance as part of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s emergency crisis in correctional facilities.

This Article was written by Kenneth R. Bailey

Last Revised on August 24, 2023

Related Articles


Bailey, Kenneth R. Mountaineers are Free: A History of the West Virginia National Guard. St. Albans: Harless Printing, 1978.

Lineage & Honors, 201st Artillery (First West Virginia). U.S. Department of the Army.

Cite This Article

Bailey, Kenneth R. "201st Field Artillery." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 24 August 2023. Web. 23 April 2024.


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