The 2nd Chemical Battalion Distinctive Unit Insignia, or unit crest, was approved on 8 August 1940 while the unit was still designated (but inactivated) as the 1st Chemical Regiment (the 2nd Separate Chemical Battalion, with later merged with it, was active at this time). The formation was originally constituted as the 30th Engineer Regiment (Gas and Flame) in August 1917, and was converted and redesignated as the 1st Gas Regiment in July 1918.

After consolidation with (and assuming the designation of) the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion in 1951, the unit received its current designation as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 2nd Chemical Battalion in 1958. The battalion was inactivated from 1973 to 1981, when it was activated at its current home base of Fort Hood, Texas.

The imagery and message of the 2nd Chemical Battalion unit crest stresses the offensive capabilities of the unit, a controversial aspect of the technology when the Army began exploring ways to deal with this new “weapon of mass destruction.” First efforts focused on defensive measures, but in August 1917 the Army authorized offensive gas regiments and designated the 30th Regiment Engineers as one of the first.

“FLAMMIS VINCIMUS,” Latin for “With Fire We Conquer,” expresses an offensive stance, while a dragon wielding a lighting bolt is a representation of the Battalion’s offensive capabilities, with the lightning symbolizing gas, smoke, and fire. Mobility of the unit is reflected in the automobile wheel upon which the dragon is resting its foot (paw). Identical imagery is found on the Battalion’s coat of arms.

The unit’s nickname, “Hell Fire Boys,” is a reference to a Baltimore Evening Star newspaper report published in November 1917 that claimed it was the moniker given to the “Gas and Flame Battalion” of the 30th Engineer Regiment.

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