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SGT. RALPH B. LAWSON HORSE AND MULE ARTILLERY, WW2
SGT Ralph B. Lawson in, one of the few surviving horse-drawn artillery soldiers. (R.B. Lawson Collection)
SGT Lawson served with the following units:
18th Field Artillery Fort Sill, Oklahoma
74th Field Artillery Fort Ord, California
183rd Field Artillery Fort Warren, Wyoming
98th Mule Pack Artillery Fort Lewis, Washington
Port Moresby, New Guinea
5307th Composite Unit India
1850th Service Command Unit Camp Chaffee, Arkansas
74TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION, HORSE-DRAWN, FORT ORD, CA
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74th Field Artillery Battalion, Horse-drawn, Ft. Ord, Ca.
98TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION, WW2 (MULE PACK ARTILLERY)
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98th Field Artillery Battalion (mule pack artillery)
SGT Ralph B. Lawson with a French 75mm gun like the ones he used in the 18th Field Artillery Regiment (HD) and 74th Field Artillery Battalion (HD) and the 98th Mule Pack Artillery. Picture was taken at Fort Sill in December 2004. SGT Ralph B. Lawson is one of the few surviving horse-drawn artillery soldiers. On 18 September 2004, Mr. Ralph B. Lawson was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame (R.B. Lawson Collection)
Ralph received the following medals and awards:
American Service Ribbon
American Defense Ribbon
Combat Infantry Badge
Good Conduct Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
China Victory Medal Taiwan, Republic of China
My father used to fondly talk of his time with the 74th Field Artillery Battalion horse-drawn unit at Fort Ord and of maneuvers at the Hunter-Liggett Ranch in King City, CA. I think I remember him talking about going on maneuvers with the 74th at Fort Lewis also
I found a transcript of a recording one of Dad's friends made when he nominated dad for the Oklahoma Military Hall Of Fame. It talks of dad's time at Fort Ord. I also have around somewhere a scan of the Battery C photo. Dad would talk of his battery commander, Captain Hoska as being a dollar a year man. He was well to do and only accepted a dollar a year from the government. While at Fort Ord he lived at Carmel, CA. Dad said that he helped him move into his house.
As for the Battery “C” 74th Field Artillery Battalion picture roster, it was scanned from dad's original by me and sent to Charles Martin after the 18th FA christening so that it could be placed on the 18th FA alumni website.
From Ralph’s son Jerry
Private Ralph Lawson enlisted in the United States Army on 6 July 1938, and was assigned to the l8th Field Artillery Regiment, a 75mm gun, horse-drawn unit at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. (R.B. Lawson Collection)
BETWEEN RANKS OF THE HONOR GUARD, OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE 12TH FIELD ARTILLERY, THEIR OLD COMRADES MARCH AWAY. (R.B. Lawson Collection)
TWELFTH FIELD ARTILLERY LOSES HORSES
(The Field Artillery Journal (January-February 1939 issue, pages 26, 27, and 28)
The occasion of the motorization of the Twelfth Field Artillery at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in December, was one attended by mingled feelings: Interest and anticipation in employment of the trucks and rubber-tired guns—sorrow at the departure of so many old equine friends, that had, through many years, kept the caissons rolling in that historic regiment. The occasion was marked by solemn farewell ceremonies to the horses. The 18th Field Artillery, from Fort Sill, 450 miles distant, sent a detachment to march 247 of the animals back to that station.
The officers and men of the regiment lined the route of march to pay their last respects. In a letter to Major General Danford, Chief of Field Artillery, the regimental commander, Col. Benjamin Mort Bailey, describes the events in a letter, extracts from which follow:
"It is needless to say that many officers and men in line swallowed lumps in their throats as the detachment marched by. Bands of the Ninth and Twenty-third Infantry Regiments played the Caisson Song. As the last element cleared the Post the bands played Auld Lang Syne and one of the new motor drawn batteries fired a salute of four salvos.
As a horseman you will appreciate how our old men, including myself, felt. . . . A total of 495 horses will be transferred to the three stations as follows: Sill, 247; Bragg, 106, and Warren, 142. About 50 were destroyed. None of our officers or men were willing to witness the destruction of these old friends. . . . "No less than 135 drivers and riders had pictures taken of themselves with their mounts. The men have presented me with a large framed picture of heads of all the old horses, for my office. In future, at social gatherings, the Regimental toast will be, 'Stand to Heel, Men!' Thus we will hand to posterity a command to indicate our origin."
Private Lawson is located in the above picture and is the first mounted trooper in the lower right-hand corner. Ralph was seventeen at the time. In December 1938, when the 12th Field Artillery based at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas became mechanized, Ralph was one of the soldiers that rode the horses and equipment the 400 plus miles from San Antonio back to Fort Sill. The trip took about 5 weeks. The soldiers would stop for the night at farms, ranches and county fairgrounds.
I would like to thank Jerry for sending a copy of “The Field Artillery Journal (January-February 1939 issue” that has the above article and picture in the issue.
SGT Ralph B. Lawson with Wire Cart at Fort Sill, December 2004. Used for laying out communication wire. (R.B. Lawson Collection)
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 18TH FIELD ARTILLERY AND THE 74TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION
The Seventy Fourth Field Artillery Battalion when activated was the Second Battalion of the Eighteenth Field Artillery Regiment 75mm Gun horse-drawn. Its parent unit was the Fifth Field Artillery Regiment. Place of activation of this battalion was Fort Bliss, Texas. Date of activation June 1, 1917 and it was first commanded by Colonel A.J. Bowley.
Shortly after activation it was ordered to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where it served as school troops for the Field Artillery School until July 1, 1940.
As you well remember, 1940 found the world in a very unsettled condition. Italy was on the march, Germany had occupied, by force, the greater part of Europe and Japan was frantically preparing for a war with our country. Uncle Sam decided it was high time to make a few preparations of his own. In looking around for a well-trained unit, one which could be depended upon to carry out any mission, compatible with its strength and armament, he could not overlook this battalion. He also found the Seventy Sixth Field Artillery Regiment in California, which was “short” one battalion.
The decision was made to combine the two units, making a full regiment of good fighting battalions. So on June 22, 1940, he wrote a letter to the Command Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, directing him to issue the necessary orders to carry out the movement. On July 9, 1940, paragraph 9, special orders number 129, Headquarters F.A.S., Fort Sill, Oklahoma, re-designated this battalion the Third Battalion, Seventy Sixth Field Artillery Regiment under command of Major Norman J. McMahon, Jr., with permanent station at Camp Clayton, (now Fort Ord) California.
Thus after 23 years’ service as school troops, the 18th Field Artillery Regiment was to be split for the first time.
18TH ARTILLERY GROUP ASSOCIATION
I would like to thank Charles E. Martin, President & Historian of the 18th Artillery Group Association for all his help and his help in making contact with SGT Ralph B. Lawson’s son Jerry who is helping preserve the history of the 74th Field Artillery Battalion (HD) when his father was at Fort Ord, California. Ralph originally was with the 18th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Sill when they were moved out to Camp Clayton, soon to be called Fort Ord where they became part of the 76th Field Artillery Regiment bringing it up to full strength before it was broken down to the 74th, 75th, and 76th Field Artillery Battalions in 1941. Sergeant Lawson has had a long history of serving with U.S. Army horse and mule units. Ralph B. Lawson is currently living in Hollister, MO.
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18th Artillery Group Association Homepage
Click on the below link: SGT Ralph B. Lawson
SGT Ralph B. Lawson
Click on the below link: SGT Ralph B. Lawson Military History
SGT Ralph B. Lawson History
Note: On the above page you will find the "C" Battery Picture Roster of the 74th Field Artillery Battalion where you can see close-ups of the pictures of the men.
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U.S. ARMY VETERINARY CORPS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION GROUP
Motto: “Illic est Vires in Numerus” There is Strength in Numbers
“Working Hard to Preserve Our Country’s History wherever it is being lost”
U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group is a group of individuals that are concerned about the preservation of the History of the Veterinary Corps, Remount Service and Cavalry or wherever our country’s history is being lost in conjunction with our beloved “Horse and Mule”. There is no cost to join and membership is for life. We believe by uniting together in numbers we will be a more powerful force to be heard. Our membership list is private and only used to contact our members. Email us and become a member.
FACEBOOK: U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group
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