|Country United States|
Type Field artillery
|Branch Regular Army|
Role Direct support
|Active 1918–19 1933–46 1959–70 1996–2014|
The 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment (United States) nicknamed the Straight Arrows— was a field artillery battalion in the United States Army. The Regimental motto is Festina Lente ("Make Haste, Slowly").
Last unit assignments
Based at Fort Hood, TX from 1996 to 2009, and then at Fort Carson, Colorado, until 2014, the 4–42 FA was under the command of U.S. 1st Brigade 4th Infantry Division. Each of the three gun batteries (A, B, C - later only A and B), supported a different battalion in the brigade. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB) provided the necessary support components for the running of the battalion and was also home to Fire Support Specialists or "Fisters." The battalion was the first in the Army to transition to the new Conservative Heavy Division (CHD) design, and also the first Artillery Battalion to test, field, and train with the digital system (FBCB2) Future Battle Command Brigade and Below.
The battalion was equipped with the M109A6 Paladin Self Propelled Howitzer, which fires a 155mm family of munitions, and is the most technologically advanced cannon in the Army inventory. While originally designated as a field artillery battalion, they also deployed and conducted operations similar to that of an infantry battalion in order to support the ever-changing needs of the United States Army during wartime.
The battalion deactivated on March 17, 2014 at Fort Carson, CO.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Alerted on 19 January 2003, 4-42 FA (and the 4th Infantry Division) was scheduled to take part in the Iraq War in the spring of 2003 by spearheading an advance from Turkey into northern Iraq. The Turkish Parliament refused to grant permission for the operation and the battalion's equipment remained offshore on ships during the initial buildup for the invasion - meaning that 4ID and 4-42 would have to reroute operations through Kuwait instead of Turkey. The battalion deployed to Iraq through Kuwait in late April 2003. Combat operations were conducted initially in the area of Taji Airfield, just outside Baghdad. The battalion moved north to the Tikrit area, leaving Battery B at Taji in support of Task Force Gunner until approximately October 2003. The battalion (less B Btry until fall) was stationed at FOB Arrow near the village of Ad-Dawr, slightly to the southeast of Tikrit along the Tigris River. During their time at FOB Arrow the battalion conducted infantry operations in their sector. These operations included dismounted OP/LP operations around their area (specifically Ad-Dawr), mounted and dismounted combat patrols, raids against high-value targets or suspected insurgents, and general patrolling and stability operations in and around Ad-Dawr. In addition to these non-traditional roles, the battalion still provided fire support to the 1st Brigade and other units in the area. 4–42 continued to conduct combat operations until their redeployment in March 2004. During this first deployment to Iraq, the battalion was responsible for capturing several former regime members that were wanted by the coalition, captured scores of weapons and explosives, and engaged in direct combat with insurgents and terrorists in their area.
The battalion also participated in Operation Red Dawn in December 2003, and had unit members on the objective during the capture of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
The battalion helped to rebuild schools and adopted the Nasiba Primary School for Girls, completing its refurbishment in November 2003. Much focus was given to providing security to the local population, insuring safe and secure access to public services such as power and water, food distribution and fuel/petroleum sales.
The battalion was deployed again in December 2005 to Camp Taji, 14 kilometers north of Baghdad. The Straight Arrow battalion was given the task of providing security for Camp Taji and maintaining a presence on Highway 1. They returned to Fort Hood in December 2006.
The 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery, Straight Arrows, deployed to Iraq for its third tour in March 2008 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09. This tour saw the battalion separated from its parent brigade and attached to 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Headquartered inside the International Zone of Baghdad, the Straight Arrows were charged with the task of supporting the Iraqi Army and monitoring the Karkh and Mansour districts of Baghdad. During this deployment the battalion supported two joint-security stations and conducted more than 3,500 total patrols in the district. The Straight Arrows then redeployed in March 2009 to Fort Hood, Texas for the last time.
Return and restationing at Fort Carson
Once they redeployed and uncased their colors, they changed battalion commanders in June 2009 and immediately moved to Fort Carson, Colo. July and August 2009 were spent standing up the battalion at Fort Carson, establishing systems, conducting reset operations and building combat power.
The fall of 2009 gave the battalion opportunities to conduct multiple squad and platoon-level training events. The Straight Arrows finalized the fielding of their howitzers from PMHBCT during the week of Thanksgiving and then immediately conducted Table VIII certification. The training provided soldiers an excellent environment with temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees and several inches of snow. In January 2010, 4–42 FA deployed in similar weather conditions to provide indirect fires in support of Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger training on Fort Carson ranges. The battalion’s deployment mission was finalized and the Straight Arrows transitioned the entire formation to a motorized infantry battalion.
The battalion participated in Raider Blitz, a brigade field training exercise, as a motorized infantry battalion. Then the Straight Arrow battalion, as a member of the 1st (Raider) Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, deployed to the Joint Readiness Training Center for counterinsurgency training, in April 2010, with the battalion conducting maneuver operations as a battlespace operator. The battalion also completed deployment preparations, conducted final training for theater requirements and executed torch and advance party operations to Afghanistan.
Operation Enduring Freedom
The battalion completed its rotation to Afghanistan as part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division's deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The battalion initiated relief in place/transfer of authority with 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, part of 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne in late July 2010. The unit conducted security force assistance operations with the Afghanistan National Army (ANA), the Afghanistan Provincial Police Forces and by supporting the national defense security. The battalion remained focused on security operations in support of Afghanistan as well as increasing the Afghan National Security Forces capabilities. 4-42 Field Artillery was able to make great progress in the Farah Province through constantly engaging the Taliban, by taking the Dukin/Charpoc Charmas area along with improving the security and quality of life for the Masaw District. 4-42 FA was relieved in place in July 2011 by the 2d Brigade Combat Team Special Troops Battalion, 2d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and redeployed to Fort Carson.
The battalion was de-activated by the Army along with the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry regiment on March 17, 2014 at Fort Carson, Colorado. The colors of the unit were cased and sent to the Army Center of Military History.
OIF I operations
1st Tour 2003 to 2004
Second tour 2005-06
Third Tour 2008-09
First Tour 2010 to 2011
War on Terror
2013 through 2014