Originally established as an infantry unit called the Concord Volunteers in the New Hampshire Volunteer Militia at the start of the Civil War, the 197th Fires Brigade did not become an Artillery unit until 1922 when it was designated 197th Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps). Sixteen months after being inducted into Federal Service in September 1940, the unit was redesignated as an Antiaircraft Artillery Group while retaining its numerical designation; it subsequently earned a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation serving in this role.
It did not become a part of the Field Artillery branch until November 1971 when it was designated the 19th Field Artillery Group; in 1978 it was changed from a Group to a Brigade. In 2008, the Army converted it to a Fires Brigade as part of its plans for a system of modular units.
The 197th Fires Brigade patch, or Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, pays tribute to its home state and its longstanding service as an Artillery unit. Scarlet and yellow are colors traditionally associated with Artillery (including Air Defense Artillery), while the five arrows bundled together symbolize the Artillerist’s mission since, according to The Institute of Heraldry, “a bundle of arrows was one of the first missiles used in an artillery manner.”
The Institute also states that the bundled arrows was “adopted from the New Hampshire state crest” and “refers to the unit’s home location.” This is only partially true since New Hampshire does not have a “state crest,” but rather a state seal—but anyone looking to the current New Hampshire state seal to find five arrows will search in vain. That’s because this imagery is taken from the first New Hampshire state seal, which was created in 1776 when the state was made up of five counties.
“Live Free or Die,” the state motto of New Hampshire, is found on the 197th Fires Brigade unit crest (Distinctive Unit Insignia), while the brigade’s Combat Service ID Badge (CSIB) employs the same design as this unit patch.

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