5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment cases colors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

By J.M. Simpson on August 22, 2014

The 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment cased it colors this mornings in a well done ceremony as it prepares for a nine month deployment to the Middle East.

The unit is part of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade, which is commanded by Col. Tim Kehoe.

The battalion is no stranger to deployments. 

Over the past seven years, the unit has served multiple tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

"This day has been a long time in coming," said Lt. Col. Ian Bennett, the battalion's commander to approximately 300 soldiers assembled in front of him.

"It is time, and we will add another chapter to ‘First Round's' history."

The 5-3 is steeped in tradition and history.

The origin can be traced back to the late 1700s when it was part of the 2nd Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers.  As to its unique motto of "First Round," that was earned at the start of the Civil War when Battery D - the forerunner of the battalion - fired the first shot at the Battle of Bull Run.

The battalion is also credited with beginning the tradition of playing Taps over the grave of a fallen comrade.

"You are well prepared for what lies ahead," commented Brig. Gen. Paul Bontrager, deputy commander, 7th Infantry Division.

"You will do the hard work of our nation, and your efforts do make a difference."