The US Army Regimental System (USARS)
The Psychological Operations Regiment
On 13 April 2017, Department of the Army published AR 870-21 which updated, amended, and restated the US Army Regimental System (USARS).
This regulation accomplished the following objectives:
- Places the U.S. Army Regimental System in its proper historical context and returns it to its original purpose dating back to the Combat Arms Regimental System in the 1950s;
- Assigns general responsibilities for implementing the U.S. Army Regimental System;
- Establishes responsibilities and procedures for affiliating with a regiment, corps, or special branch;
- Explains regimental, corps, and special branch custodian responsibilities as well as the roles and policies for honorary and distinguished.
The USARS mission is to enhance Army esprit de corps and pride, as well as impart a keen understanding of its past, through a framework that provides the opportunity for affiliation, develops loyalty and commitment, fosters an extended sense of belonging, improves unit cohesion, and institutionalizes an Army ethos.
The Regimental System is intended to:
- Ensure that the lineage and history of designated units and commands accurately portrays Army history.
- Offer the opportunity for long-term identification with a numbered regiment, or a corps or special branch regiment.
- Provide the opportunity to further emphasize the history, customs, and traditions of the regiment, corps, or branch.
- Provide for corps and special branches to operate on a “whole-branch” concept, thus carrying on the activities and traditions of a regiment (chap 4).
- Offer regimental affiliation to provide Soldiers with the opportunity for continuous identification with a regiment, a corps, or special branch during and after their period of active service.
- Enable Soldiers to affiliate with their currently assigned regiment, or with any regiment in which they previously served honorably.
- Enable Soldiers not affiliated with a specific regiment to affiliate with a corps or special branch.
Under this Regulation, Regimental affiliation is intended for:
- Uniformed members of the Regular Army and Reserve Components of the Army;
- Soldiers, to include retirees and honorably discharged veterans, will be affiliated with a regiment, corps, or special branch;
- Combat arms Soldiers affiliate with the regiment they are currently assigned to or with any regiment in which they previously honorably served for a period of at least 6 months;
- Department of the Army Civilians with no uniformed service may be affiliated with a corps or special branch by direction of the Chief of the Corps.
Under the authority granted by this Army Regulation, the Psychological Operations Regiment was activated on 18 November 1998 at Ft. Bragg, NC. POVA was present at the Regiment’s activation, and has been a continuous supporter of the Regiment and our fellow PSYOP soldiers, veterans, Gold Stars and families. In addition, and consistent with the Mission of the Regiment, POVA supports and works to perpetuate…..
POVA believes this mission is vital to not only the Regiment, but to all Psywarriors, whether they be retirees and veterans, active or Reserve PSYOP soldiers, and our Gold Star families, and will continuously pursue achievement of this vision wherever members of the Regiment are found.
POVA: ADVOCATE OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS REGIMENT
In 2016, POVA amended its Constitution to include the specific objective of providing continuous and ongoing support to the Psychological Operations Regiment. This objective is written as follows:
Provide the PSYOP Regiment and its constituent active and reserve components, and any other organization within US military Special Operations, with speakers to instruct and present historical background to all PSYOP personnel. Upon request, and with advanced approval of the President, POVA members can make public presentations on their experiences in military psychological operations, but must avoid advocating any political or social positions.
POVA predates the activation of the PSYOP Regiment by ten years. POVA has been involved with the Regiment since its activation in November 1998, and continues that support and advocacy to this date. We strongly advocate for Regimental interests and membership among all PSYOP soldiers, both active and Reserve, and among PSYOP veterans, families, Gold Star members, and friends. This advocacy has grown stronger since 2015, when relations with Regimental leadership were strengthened to assure continued support by the Veteran community.
POVA seeks to present the Regiment to all USACAPOC Reserve units and soldiers, sharing the Regiment’s story and POVA’s role since the beginning in 1998. We work hard to assure that all Reserve soldiers realize and understand that they are valued members of the Regiment and family; we similarly advocate for the Regiment with our entire nationwide POVA membership base.
POVA will continue to seek opportunities to advocate for the Regiment and its interests in support of our fellow Psywarriors, past, present, and future.
POVA PARTICIPATES IN ACTIVATION OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS REGIMENT
On the 18th of November 1998 the United States Army activated the fourth Special Operations Regiment, the Psychological Operations Regiment. This historic event was marked by a ceremony held on Meadows Plaza adjacent to the United States Army Special Operations Command headquarters.
Major General Bowra presided at the ceremony in his capacity as the Regimental Home Base Commander for the Special Operations Regiments. The ceremony featured the formal uncasing of the Regimental Colors, designation of the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment and Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment, and a solemn wreath laying ceremony by Chad Spawr, President of the Psychological Operations Veterans Association (POVA) in commemoration of the Regiment’s fallen comrades.
"This has been over five years in the making, and it has finally happened, due to the efforts of a lot of folks." said Major General Kenneth R. Bowra at the ceremony.
"This marks a significant milestone, not only for the special operations community, but also for the U.S. Army, Bowra said. ‘‘It is also long overdue".
The regimental motto, ‘Persuade, Change and Influence, that you see on those colors is an absolutely fitting one, Bowra said. The regimental shield is silver gray, white and black representing the three types of psychological operations. White represents overt action. Black is for operations attributed to others. Gray is for activities that are conducted anonymously.
In the center of the shield is adapted from the psychological operations collar insignia. The Trojan Horse represents the ability to act in an unexpected manner and influence all types of warfare. The lightning bolt and sword denote speed and the ability to strike anywhere.
Active and reserve soldiers will wear the same regimental insignia, he said. That insignia should serve as a reminder of the unique affiliation, sense of loyalty, commitment and history that they share, Bowra said. Activation of the regiment will also reflect our Total Army, the integration of the active and Reserve components.
Retired Col. Alfred H. Paddock Jr. of Alexandria, Virginia, became the first honorary Colonel of the Regiment. He served three combat tours in Vietnam with Special Forces units and is former commander of the 6th Psychological Operations Battalion and 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg. Paddock also served as director of psychological operations in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Retired Sergeant Major Rudy Whittaker of Stockton, California, became the Regimental Sergeant Major. He is a veteran of psychological operations and military intelligence units.
"It is a special day", said Chad Spawr, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, President of the Psychological Operations Veterans Association. "It is special for all of you in the Special Operations community today, but its special for those in the PSYOP veteran community as well. This day is special because it confers something that we've always known, but you've known as well: That PSYOP makes a difference".