BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 66 ARTILLERY REGIMENT
On 16 April 1966, the Medium Mortar Regiment was formed under the authority of the Ghana Armed Forces and was located at Medo Lines, Burma Camp. Approval for the establishment was given on 31 May 1966 with the Establishment Number as G/8. The Unit was relocated to the Volta Barracks in July the same year. This relocation was executed under the Command of the then Second Lieutenant NC Coleman, now Major General NC Coleman (RTD). A Troop of Saluting Guns together with its personnel manning the guns came to the new location to form the nucleus of the Ghana Artillery Unit.
THE GOLD COAST CAMPAIGNS
Dating back to the days of the Gold Coast Regiment and following the disbandment of the Royal West African Frontier Force, an independent Battery was created which formed part of the Gold Coast Regiment since its inception in 1865. This Battery saw many campaigns (series of wars) in several parts of the world.
Some of these campaigns are:
- a. The Togoland Campaigns.
- b. The Cameroon Campaigns.
- c. The Burma Campaigns.
- d. The East African Campaigns.
After the East African campaigns the Gold Coast Regiment went through several changes. In 1960, in an effort to increase the existing fire power of the Army, the 81mm Mortars were introduced. This however, did not produce the required fire power. Consequently, in 1965, one officer, Lieutenant Ekow Jones who later became the first Commanding Officer of this Unit and retired as Lieutenant Colonel and 3 Other Ranks - Sergeant Robert Namele, Sergeant Emmanuel Mensah and Warrant Officer Class I Thomas Quaye were selected for a six-month course at the Israeli School of Artillery in Israel. After the successful completion of the course on 120mm Tampella Heavy Mortar, they returned to the country and in November that same year, 17 Junior Leaders were recruited from the Armed Forces Training Centre at Kumasi and attached to Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS) where they trained under the selected personnel who had returned from Israel.
RE-DESIGNATION OF THE REGIMENT
In September/October 2001, all personnel of the Regiment underwent intensive conversion training at the Asutuare Training Camp on the newly acquired Artillery Pieces under the auspices of the Southern Command Headquarters. This acquisition and subsequent conversion of its troops necessitated the re-designation of the Regiment from the Medium Mortar Regiment to the 66 Artillery Regiment. This happened on 3 June 2002.
PRESENTATION OF COLOURS
The Regiment was presented with Regimental Colours by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces at a colourful parade at the Volta Barracks on the 18 February 2004
OPERATIONS AND MISSIONS
In actual Artillery role, the 66 Artillery Regiment has provided independent batteries in support of Ghanaian and foreign battalions on peacekeeping duties. Until March 1992, there had been an independent Mortar Battery operating in Lebanon. This battery was designated the ‘Ghana Mortar Company’ and served as the Force Fire Support unit for 13 years. An Independent Battery from the Regiment operated on a rotational basis in support of the regional peacekeeping forces, ECOMOG from 1990-1996. The Battery is very popular with the successful driving away of Charles Taylor’s forces from the port of Buchanan which led to its subsequent capture. Currently, a Mortar Troop and 107mm RL Detachment from the Regiment is operating on rotational basis as part of support elements for UN Peacekeeping Operation in Liberia and the Cote D’ Ivoire. The Regiment also formed the nucleus of the Ghana’s Peace Mission troops to the DRC from May – Nov 02 and in Sierra Leone from Mar – Sep 04 and in Lebanon from Oct 06 – may 07 and currently preparing a Troop to be inserted as a part of MINURCAT GH 1.
The Unit slogan is “Once a Gunner, Always a Gunner”. The Unit Colours of Red over Black depict the artillery jargon, which says that, there’s no smoke without fire. We have a sheep as the Unit Mascot called Bombardier Kweku Cannon. The current Commanding Officer is Lt Col EW Kotia