The 197th Fires Brigade unit crest, more formally referred to as its Distinctive Unit Insignia, was originally approved while the unit was designated the 197th Artillery Group back in August 1971; it was left unchanged when it was redesignated for the 197th Field Artillery Group the following May. Changes were made regarding the symbolism of the imagery when the 197th was redesignated as a Brigade in 1979, and no changes were made to the design or regarding the symbolism when it was redesignated for the 197th Fires Brigade on 1 September 2008.

A great deal of symbolic imagery makes up the 197th Fires Brigade Distinctive Unit Insignia. Near the bottom of the crest, a semi-saltire (a diagonal cross) invokes the image of an early artillery aiming device called a quadrant. It is surrounded by nine stars, which both The Institute of Heraldry and the book Field Artillery from the U.S. Center of Military History says represent the Brigade’s participation in nine Civil War campaigns—but both Field Artillery and Center of Military History state the Brigade received official credit for ten Civil War campaigns. The stars are also representative of the nine stars on the state flag of New Hampshire, the Brigade’s home state.

Fleur-de-lis reflect the unit’s service in the European Theater during both World Wars, while the demi-sun stands for the service in the Luzon campaign (the colors white, blue, and red indicate the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation the unit earned). The seven-pointed star is a symbol of the New Guinea campaign; it is taken from the flag of Australia, which controlled part of that island following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles until 1975. The motto “Live Free or Die” is the same as the New Hampshire state motto adopted in 1945.

Customers interested in this product might also wish to view our pages devoted to the 197th Fires Brigade Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, or unit patch, and the 197th Fires Brigade CSIB.

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